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  • AutorenbildJannis Hagels

Costa Rica Part I

Aktualisiert: 24. Apr. 2019


Land of the greatest variety of animals concentrated on such a small area. The tiny country between Nicaragua and Panama is home to 4% of the world’s animal species. For comparison: Costa Rica is seven times smaller than Germany. When my dear girlfriend decided to do an internship in the land of the Ticos, it became clear that we have to spend some time there together before. We booked our flights almost on the same day we had the idea of going there.

I have never been more excited about getting on a plane than this time. Jungles, Carribean beaches, wild animals, tropical thunderstorms, volcanoes, cloud forests and an extremely hospitable culture. Never before Have I experienced such nice and warm hearted people than the Costa Rican Ticos. Right after we picked up our car from the Sixt station in Costa Rica, we headed to our room in San Jose where we always lived after every trip. Our host Leticia was the kindest one I ever got to know. We cooked together, laughed together and enjoyed telling stories of our lifes.


It was time to head out for our first adventure on this trip. Our dear host family helped us to mark must-sees on our tiny map of Costa Rica. So this was our plan: we just go. Our first destination was the famous crocodile bridge near Tarcoles on our way to the Pacific Coast. For me, it was the first time to even see a croc within its natural environment – an incredible sight. And these guys weren’t small. Back in Germany I read about these specific crocodiles being extremely aggressive as they come too close to humans. This is obviously not their fault, since they are fed by locals to stay around for tourists and at the same time their natural environment is disturbed by exactly this tourism.


We didn’t spend that much time watching these huge and majestic animals since we had many kilometers to go. In fact, that didn’t stop us from taking a road besides our planned route. What we found after driving a heavily damaged “road” up a mountain, was a sign saying “Catarata” – the Spanish word for waterfall. We continued the steep and rough road up the mountain until we finally arrived at a small parking lot. In the meantime, the sun had come out and the temperature had risen to more than 30° celsius and the humidity felt like 100%. We were the only people at that time willing to hike down to the waterfall under the afternoon sun. We paid our parking fee to a very nice guy who was sitting just inside a cabin with two walls and a thin roof. The only companion he had, was this over one meter long Iguana.


Our new friend told us that the hike would be about 45 minutes one way. That’s not too tough is it? Well, if you’re a German fart coming from cold, flat lands, 100 % humidity and over 30° celsius transform the 45 minutes to almost 1 1/2 hours. We weren’t prepared for this at all – I carried a small bottle of Coke and my girflriend a small bottle of water. We finished these life-savers already before we even reached the waterfall. Observe your surroundings carefully. Hold your breath and listen. The waterfall called “Catarata Manantial de Agua Viva” is said to be the highest of Costa Rica. Standing in front of a 200 meters drop waterfall getting soaking wet is an incredible feeling. Actually, for me the scenery was not perfect to take the picture I wanted. Since we were extremely exhausted, we stayed for about 30 minutes at the sight and then decided to turn back. Without any water left, we had to hike back all the way up. On our way to the parking lot, which forced me to take a break after every five minutes, we had several encounters with one of the poisonous small animals of Costa Rica: The Green and Black poison dart frog. In the past, this frog was used for poisoning darts to kill enemies.


Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s countless national parks located at the west coast of the country. We only got here because we needed accomodation on our long way to Peninsula de Osa which was our destination national park further south. Even if Costa Rica is such a small country, you need to plan with a lot of time. 300 kilometers are not done within 3 hours – more likely in 6 hours. Without any clue, we arrived at the pretty touristic but extremely calm and still abandoned seeming site. We drove down the dead end road leading to the park entrance – still, we had no idea where to sleep and even didn’t want to go into the park. Finally the dead end route came to an actual end. Directly located at the beach, which reminded me of a Jurassic Park scenery, we found a hotel which offered us a very affordable room with an incredible balcony looking right upon the pacific coast.


Before “going to bed”, which actually resulted in me sitting on the balcony half of the night, watching an incredible lightning show going on directly at the beach and on the ocean, I took this picture of two friends being the last brave guys before the thunderstorm roled in.

The power of the thunder smashing across the ocean kept me frozen to my chair on the balcony. Lightning strikes were flashing through the palm trees and one could even feel the shockwave of its impact rushing to the coast as if it was rolling in with the waves.


Before the sun had risen I went out to the beach to experience the morning scenery. During these hours, the atmosphere is just calm, animals are changing shifts since the ones that are active during the night slowly go to sleep and the ones that are active during the day slowly are waking up. While I was waiting for the sun to rise, I met two young fishermen who were benefiting from the early morning silence. At dawn, the light was mystical. This picture is just simple but somehow it lets me re-experience this numbing atmosphere.

When the first sun rays made it through the jungle and the national park right behind me, the light on the ocean suddenly changed the atmosphere from mystical to wonderful. Smooth waves, the gust of the ocean glimmering in a soft, golden light and the first brids crossing the scenery. Before continuing our journey to the famous Peninsula de Osa in the south of Costa Rica, we went down to the beach one more time to fully inhale the morning glory.

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