In November of 2014 Mum and I packed our bags and headed to Costa Rica. Neither of us had ever been to any central american country before and we had no idea about what we might see. It was going to be an adventure! The only thing we both knew heading in was that we needed to go to the rainforest.
I’ve been enamored with the rainforest since the third grade when there was a lesson on different earth ecosystems and environmentalism. I made a diorama out of cardboard and clay of a rainforest, complete with a tiny clay sloth. When I told mum that this was my only necessary outing in Costa Rica, she jumped in one with added request: to see a monkey.
On our second day in the country, we hopped into the rental car (for more on that see It Rains Rocks in Costa Rica) and drove to Parque Nacional Carara. We payed the modest entry fee and started to make our own way down the trail, no other people in sight. The giant trees were magnificent, with great green liana vines snaking from the canopy to the floor. Not five minutes later the skies opened up. It was pouring! We continued walking, hiding under the small umbrellas in our packs and covered the camera the best we could. After about twenty minutes, we gave up and left, soaked to the bone and without seeing any wildlife.
Two days later, we tried again, this time at Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. At this much more popular park, we paid for a local guide who lead us through the entrance to the beach area, pointing out the different plants and showing us animals through his telescope. Almost immediately we saw a giant two-toed sloth asleep in the tree. She was so much more beautiful than I had imagined years ago. I was in heaven. We also saw a small local deer, ants, hermit crabs, and wild raccoons who had claimed the area as their own. We spent another hour at the beach where mum swam in the warm water and I soaked up the trees. After another short hike around the tip of the park, we decided it was time to head out. Just as mum was expressing her disappointment in not seeing a monkey, there they were! An entire tribe of white-faced capuchin monkeys were crossing the path in front of us. We froze and whispered excitedly as mothers hurried past us with their babies on their backs. After they disappeared into the trees we hugged each other. “I’m so happy to be here with you,” I told her.