Costa Rica Rainforest is a combination of words that sounds heavenly. It depicts nature, green, moisture, weird bird calls and fun creatures up on the trees. For many people visiting a jungle is a long term dream that can come true in a Costa Rican vacation
Now, when you arrive to the actual Costa Rica rainforest, the life system can be a bit overwhelming from the distance and even a bit disappointing when it comes to be close and personal. Especially if it is a primary rainforest (A primary rainforest is a forest that has never been cut).
Because, on the contrary of all that we might have imagined, the rainforest is not a green haven full of flowers and monkeys waving. It is actually a dark place (Only 12% of the light of the forest gets to the ground at certain times in the day) with hundreds (Actually millions) of plants in a chaotic and messy realm, competing against each other, shrubs, young and almost leafless trees trying to get to the top and a huge carpet of dead leaves covering the floor and hiding, also, tons of living crawling creatures.
If you look up, maybe you will see a couple of bright colored flowers on the tops. However, if you follow some of these tips, this chaotic realm, the Costa Rica rainforest, can become fascinating in a blink.
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Go early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Ideal times to visit the Costa Rica rainforest are right after dawn or around 3-4 p.m. in the afternoon (Remember that in Costa Rica sunsets happen usually around 6:00 p.m. every single day of the year). However, sunset happens really fast, so don’t get in after 5 p.m.
If you are visiting a rainforest in the lowlands, the temperature will be easier to take, the humidity won’t feel as bad, and, most likely birds and some mammals will be out looking for some food.
The light is so much better and it simply looks beautiful.
Wear repellent, at all times. Always.
When you are in urban areas of Costa Rica, hotels, restaurants and even on the road, you will notice that people is seriously watching after places where mosquitoes can breed. However, this is the rainforest. Mosquitos live here. It is their homeland. And as soon as they feel a human aroma, it means food.
Wearing repellent does not mean to spray your uncovered parts. No. It means to come out of the shower in the morning (If you are going for a rainforest walk) put repellent all throughout your naked body (Cream repellent is excellent for this), then you put your clothes on and spray it over your clothes, hair and hat.
Eating vitamin B12 and garlic also helps.
Probably this one will make you smile: Are the insects in the rainforest as bad as I imagine?
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
What to wear in the Costa Rica rainforest depends, of course, on your personal preferences. However, as a guideline, the best is to wear cotton, loose-fitting clothes, long sleeves and long pants. Not only will it make you feel very comfortable but will also make it harder for the mosquitos to get you.
You can also choose the quick-dry materials that are extremely comfortable in areas where a sudden shower can happen any time, even in the sunny season. Windbreakers, ponchos and even warm jackets are recommended to have in hand. (Weather in Costa Rica varies a lot depending on where you are, so it is always a good idea to ask your travel consultant about the different climates in your itinerary).
About the shoes: Yes, you can wear sandals, or tennis shoes. But no, it is not a good idea.
The best is to go for high waterproof hiking boots with flexible soles and a good track sole. Even in the sunny season it might be muddy.
There are many choices in the market now, what you have to look for is simple: Waterproof, high, good track sole.
And for sure, if you are thinking about a good tour you will also enjoy: Why is it important to have a naturalist guide with you in a rainforest
4. Walk as slow as you can, be silent, careful, and keep your senses open, permanently.
The rainforest is a great realm to see, but if you really want to enjoy it, you have to really put attention to all your senses. Aromas, sounds, colors, leaf and spider web designs. Everything has a purpose, but a lot of the ways to reach the purpose are amazingly beautiful, or at least really curious.
On the other hand, there are the “other” things: vipers and scorpions to name a couple. They are blended in the colors of the forest and you have to really look out. If you are not with a guide, don’t touch anything. And especially don’t pull vines or look up with your mouth open.
Go with a naturalist tour guide
It is truly incredible the amount of secrets that are hidden in the Costa Rica rainforest. Plants within plants, fungi, butterfly cocoons, spider webs with amazing designs, gorgeous bugs and millions, yes, millions of relations. Parasitic (One living being gets the food from the other, the other gets nothing from the first), epiphyte (One living being uses the other, but does not take anything from it) and symbiotic relations (Both living beings get benefits from the relation).
Usually naturalist tour guides are in love with the Costa Rica rainforests. They are very intense and have studied to the last detail the forest where they guide. They know where to find the birds, the nests and how the different monkeys sound like. They turn any hike into a learning, truly captivating adventure