“Advice from a Waterfall”
Go with the flow. Roar with excitement. Let your cares fall away. Create your own magic. Immerse yourself in nature. Stay active. Make a splash! – Ilan Shamir
After a delightful Costa Rican dinner made by husband and wife team Eric and Francesca at the Naguala Eco-Aldea, it was time to put our headlamps on and walk back to our cabins in the jungle. It was pitch black outside with not a single light except for the radiating glow of our headlamps. Despite the darkness, the jungle was alive as ever with all the nocturnal species. I confess that I was constantly watching my footing fearful I would finally see one of Costa Rica’s many snakes. But I didn’t thank goodness.
I slept well inside my little jungle cabin, listening to the ebb and flow of the cicadas and whatever else was out in the jungle stirring in the night. I arose wonderfully rested and ready for my final day in the jungle before heading back to civilization. I was half excited half disappointed thinking it would be nice to have wi-fi again yet how sad it would be to leave such a tranquil place where I felt so attuned to nature. If only there was a way to incorporate this relaxed state of being into my daily life!
It was another gorgeous day in paradise. A fresh pot of rich, dark Costa Rican coffee was waiting as was our breakfast of gallo pintos and fresh smoothies. I enjoyed all the birds greeting the rising sun and singing their melodic songs. The roar of the nearby waterfall reminded me of our upcoming adventure. After breakfast, we would hike a half an hour following the river to another even larger waterfall. After seeing the Cascada Naguala yesterday, I couldn’t imagine there being anything more spectacular. I was in for a special treat.
By nine o’clock, the sun was pouring down with intensity. It was already hot and humid. I put on my bathing suit, layered on the sunscreen and set off up into the unknown.
About fifteen minutes into our walk we ran into a pair of Costa Rican park rangers who were on a walk themselves. We couldn’t believe our luck! They didn’t have any tourists with them and decided to join us, stopping frequently along the way to point out the small, tiny things I would have never even noticed. Without their presence I would have easily walked by many of the fascinating insects, flowers and reptile eggs we saw along the way. That is the beauty of Costa Rica as it has so much diversity and variety in its flora and fauna, and the Osa Peninsula alone accounts for 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity —-quite an amazing treasure.
We hiked another quarter of an hour through the meandering river and I was thankful for wearing my Tevas, which proved to be the perfect shoe to wear for this sort of adventure. I got some rocks inside at times however overall I was so relieved I wasn’t wearing my sneakers as they never would have fully dried out in such high humidity.
I was so excited by my “river hike” that I had to capture a short video of it. It was another new experience for me in Costa Rica!
Finally we heard the roar of the water crashing down and knew we were close. The late morning sunlight was pouring down through the jungle giving it an even more surreal, heavenly appearance. I could hardly to get into the inviting water.
When we arrived, my mouth dropped in awe at the spectacular beauty of the waterfall. The sunlight was hitting it just perfectly and I realized that my photos would never do it justice so I took a video. Here is what I saw (it looks best on a full screen).
Our magical surprise!
Then it was time to go for a swim…and do a mud facial…and just embrace the magic of being here in such a beautiful place. I thought of my family and wondered what they would think. If only they could have been here with me.
I even got a few shots of my new friends…
On the way back, the guides pointed out a few things that I would have never seen with my virgin eyes. Here are some of the interesting things they found along the river bed.
They also showed us brilliant blue shrimp, lots of spiders and insects and of course the blue morpho butterflies which I could never capture on film. Their iridescent blue wings fluttered away too fast for me but I loved them so much. It was so hard to leave such a magical place. I felt like I’d been on a movie set for some kind of fantasy film. It was so surreal.
The rest of the walk back, I stayed a little behind the group so I could take it all in and try to bottle up the incredible feeling I had with being so intricately connected with nature. We were heading to Drake Bay where we would be back in civilization once again. After almost a week of being completely off the grid, it was going to be bittersweet. Thankfully I had two more full days of adventure ahead. A sunset horseback ride along a deserted beach and a day of snorkeling in a private reserve off the coast of the peninsula.
If only I could bottle up this pure feeling of being alive, of “pura vida” and bring it back home with me to Minnesota.