I have been living near the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica for about three weeks now and have about three to go. Life in the jungle is a challenging one at times - not going to lie. But, here a few quick tips for any future jungle-dweller.
1. Living in a rainforest isn’t all tree frogs and monkeys. The mornings are usually rainy with either an eerie silence or a roaring wind. Clouds linger above the mountains to the West in the region so perfectly named the “Cloud Forest.” Not puffy white clouds that could be depicted as bunnies or other cloud-watching like characters – no, picture just a sheet of grey that slowly meets a slightly blue sky on the Eastern horizon. On the bright side, you never have to worry about sunglasses.
2. Rain boots are a must. It isn’t so much the rain getting your converse wet that is a pain; it’s the mud that gets caked into the soles of your shoes when you accidentally walk through a puddle – which is very likely to happen. (It’s not exactly a “concrete jungle” out here.)
3. A flashlight is a good idea too considering the sun goes down around 6:30pm and while walking to your cabin in the dark might not be too dangerous, the thoughts of snakes waking up and going for a slither on the trail is terrifying enough to make you jump at the sight of a suspicious looking stick. Better be safe than sorry – maybe your instincts are trying to tell you something.
4. Remember to keep trash off the ground and leave your human footprint to only the mud puddle by your cabin. Small mammals like coatis aren’t exactly familiar with the concept of a garbage can or the idea that what is put in it should stay in it. Help out the little guys by keeping your trash up and belongings from the sneaky coati in the first place.
5. A good book or notebook is always helpful too. Grab a cup of cinnamon tea and look over the jungle to your left or right and ponder life for a moment. Then slap the mosquito away from your apparently delicious looking leg and put on some repellent. Another must in the jungle life.
After a long day of bird watching, puddle jumping, and snake watch out, chill out in your bed and listen to the sounds of the howling winds as the nightly storm rolls in. In a way, it is satisfying to know that this storm won’t be pooling in your gum boots or blowing your hair in all directions. It can actually be quite relaxing.