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Friday, 22 January 2010

Wings, Wheels and Waves: An Exploration of Costa Rica's South - Page 5

Written by Stephanie Hartka
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The flaps go down, the wheels descend out of the body of the aircraft and suddenly the tiny plane shudders to a halt. The light is golden and I am surrounded by palm trees as far as the eye can see.

“Welcome to Quepos Manuel Antonio!” exclaims the handsome young pilot over his shoulder. It’s the first leg of my five-day excursion into Costa Rica’s southern and less-explored villages and jungles; a vagabond’s dream come true. I arrive in Quepos Manuel Antonio not as a tourist, but as a chronic itinerant. I’ve come to look at this place as bit of an obsession; it is as if some vortex constantly pulls me back.



Wings, Wheels and Waves: An Exploration of Costa Rica’s South, Quepos Manuel Antonio, the Costanera, Dominical, Costa Rica’s surfing meccas, Palmar Sur, Sierpe launching dock, the Osa peninsula, Sierpe Mangroves, travel Central America, Drake Bay, La Paloma Lodge, Corcovado National Park, Puerto Jimenez, Golfito, Bosque del Cabo, backpacking Costa Rica, travel Costa Rica, Stephanie HartkaAfter a bumpy twenty-minute ride from the thriving port town of Puerto Jimenez, I check into Bosque del Cabo, a rainforest lodge perched on an ocean side cliff at the very tip of the peninsula. Aside from the breezy rooms, spectacular food, stunning views and outdoor showers, the best part about Bosque del Cabo, is the protected 600 acre forest – the ultimate Costa Rican wildlife experience. While hiking to a deserted beach in search of a waterfall, I came across fuzzy agouties, stealthy wild hens, emerald poison dart frogs, and a pack of wild peccaries, all sure signs of a healthy ecosystem.


My last hours in the deep south I found myself on a deserted beach feeling infatuated with this country and all it has shown me. Utterly alone I relax, hypnotized by the waves and the section of existence between the water and the land. I think about the many explorers and developers who have come upon little Costa Rica, each finding something unique and worth returning for. Despite its size, Costa Rica holds secrets for everyone, many of which, like the luscious southern region, wait undiscovered for those who do not judge by the quantity of land mass and coast line, rather the undeniable quality.


A few days later I am back in a New York airport, standing in front of an official in his homeland security booth. He’s flipping through the extra pages I recently had added to my stamp-filled passport. “An addiction to Costa Rica I see,” he says.


“I prefer the word infatuation,” I say with a smile. He gives me a funny look as if to say, “I’ve seen your kind” and thuds a brand new stamp onto a blank page.


“Welcome home” he says, and I walk off beaming, believing infatuation could be much worse, and knowing there are many more secrets to be discovered.

© Stephanie Hartka

(Page 5 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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