Tucked away in the lush rain forest of Costa Rica and accessible only by air or water, my accommodations for the next few days were both rustic and luxurious. Paths led in various directions, colorful flora lined the walkways, and the route to my room was delicately shaded by the rain forest canopy hanging high overhead. My room was a standalone cabin and had a screened-in, open air construction with a vaulted ceiling, inviting the fullness of the tropical breeze to flutter through.
After a hot day of traveling from the capital of San Jose to Tortuguero National Park along rural roads lined by pineapple plantations and jungle canals, I guzzled down a freshly squeezed “welcome” drink of papaya juice upon my arrival at Evergreen Lodge and soaked in my new environs.
“Well, here I am in the rain forest… did I just see a monkey swing by, or was it a really big snake? What kind of crazy plant is that? It must be 100 degrees and 100 percent humidity right now. Am I really going to need that rain jacket they told us to pack?” Of course, this being the rain forest, I didn’t need to ponder that last thought for too long.
Just as I collapsed contentedly on my bed, I heard a startling sound. It started as a small rumble, something akin to…a dog fight?!? The sound starts mingling with the plops of raindrops. The dog sounds morphed into howling. And it dawned on me—this was the sound of howler monkeys! It was a first for me—I had never seen or heard monkeys in the wild before, even after spending four days in the Amazon rain forest several years earlier.
Then the downpour began.
My cabin was quickly transformed into a lush tropical studio of nature sounds. This was no longer just a room: it was pure relaxation and complete immersion in nature.
There were many amazing moments on my Costa Rica adventure: staying at the base of a massive volcano, sampling fresh guanavana fruit, and seeing mists climb their way over mountain ridges and tumble down into the valleys below.
But I can still hear that distinct moment when the rain came and the howler monkeys echoed through the fabled cloud forests of Costa Rica.