Entries in #CentralAmerica (9)

Thursday
Aug172017

My Stay At Camp  Osita

Back in January my friend Emma and I started on our Oceania and Latin America tour. Costa Rica was already a key country on our travel list due to the care and emphasis the country puts on its natural environment and animals. So, big cats, primates and turtle conservation in Costa Rica seemed perfect.

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Wednesday
May312017

Trail Volunteers Join Camp  Osita

After 6 weeks of high intensity travel through Central America, I arrived at Camposita. The turtles, primates and big cats conservation project in Costa Rica practically wired me to expect the unexpected - or at least feel a constant uncertainty and excitement.

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Thursday
Mar022017

The Trail Volunteers Join  Camp

We are now a packed out camp with the Central American Eco-Trail group having joined us. Spread across two tables at meal times, those on cooking duty are testing their portion size estimates and the surveys are in full swing having two groups going out each morning.

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Tuesday
Aug302016

The Last Week On Camp 

"Nothing feels greater than diving between waves and munching on fresh papaya and bananas under the hot sun. We felt incredibly lucky that on our journey in the sea, we saw a beautiful whale with her baby, sliding in and out of the blue waters..."

Media & Journalism Intern Cecilia reflects on the last week on the Costa Rican camp

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Monday
Jul182016

The Importance of Wellies on the Trail

If you're off to our Costa Rican camp here's why you need wellies!

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Monday
Jun272016

Not Taking Things For Granted 

During my first few weeks in the Osa peninsula, Costa Rica, everything amazes: lush jungle, being woken up by howler monkeys, the overwhelming diversity of flora and fauna. You always have to pinch yourself to make sure you are not dreaming and there is no need for someone to remind you how unique this place is.

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Monday
Jun132016

Blog De Joe

What could be better on a lazy Sunday two days after a 5 hour, 15km hike up Luna Ridge I hear you ask? Why a 25km hike into Corcovado National Park of course!

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Wednesday
Jun012016

My Time With Frontier 

Chloe Lofthouse tells us about her experiences with Frontier and what she learnt and experienced from being in the jungle.

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Friday
Apr012016

Trail Maintenance - Always A Day To Remember

Every now and then something special happens on the board that provides us with our weekly schedule, and rather than seeing your initials scrawled underneath ‘Shady Lane - bird survey’, or ‘Luna Ridge – primate survey’, you’ll see them written under something wonderfully rare, and for those of those who know the deal, your heart may even flutter with excitement. Before I came to Costa Rica I didn’t realise that two seemingly ordinary words could combine to create an extraordinary rush of exhilaration. I naively thought that this kind of thrill is reserved only for Formula One drivers, or those who hold a special love for adrenaline. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Behold – trail maintenance.

Sure, on the face of it trail maintenance seems like nothing special, in fact if anything it might seem like hard work, a laborious day spent sweating as the Central American sun beats down on your sweaty back. This, however, only tells half the story, and while it would be unwise to suggest that trail maintenance is easy work, it would be equally unwise for you to assume that a day spent shovelling dirt and shifting rocks is any less fun than hunting Howler Monkeys or tracking turtles.

And so it was that our motley crew of eight set out towards Rio Carate to meet our temporary boss for the day, Adrian, owner of La Leona eco-lodge, unsure of what ‘trail maintenance’ would entail this time (for it is different almost every time). When he did arrive he hopped off his quadbike, turned his eyes to the sky, swivelled back to face us, and with the wisdom of a man who has lived in this part of Costa Rica for many, many years, said to us ‘we have around an hour till the sun gets too hot, so let’s move some rocks’. And so we did, without not a single one of us doubting that the rocks we were shifting would serve a great purpose (it turns out we were helping to build stone steps to make the trail more accessible), and to do so we created a human conveyer belt, passing the rocks along until a huge and glorious pile had built up. And then we continued.

The second part of trail maintenance saw us split into two groups – the shovellers and the rakers. Adrian had decided that the trail path needed to be cleared of the fallen leaves and rotting mangoes, and that also some steps needed to be built into what had become a rather steep path. We set about our work with bags of enthusiasm, glad to have escaped from the sun and into the shady trail before the sun had become too unbearable, just as Adrian had prophesised. It was hard work, but after a few hours the trail was as clean as a whistle, and twice as easy to navigate as it had been previously. This is one of two moments which make trail maintenance so special, as it is these trails which we use for surveys, and that others use to travel around the peninsula, so to look back on it and appreciate that your hard work makes life easier for others is rewarding in the most simple of ways.

However it is the third and final part of trail maintenance which really makes it stand out so splendidly when you see it on the board. Tired and sweaty, we take our shovels and rakes and trudge towards Adrian’s kingdom – La Leona eco-lodge. Here we are met with clean towels, and ushered towards the showers. Once fresh, we then move over towards the dining area, our minds whirring in anticipation, thinking feverishly about what is soon to follow. To begin with, we are treated with a seemingly endless supply of iced tea and coffee, which is much needed after the days work. Then what we are all waiting for happens. A pair of waiters appear, and deliver to us the finest lunch that Carate can offer, courtesy of Adrian and eco-lodge. A salad of vegetables, egg and olives, chunky slices of warm, crisp bread, and a huge, steaming portion of pasta in the sweetest, most delicious tomato sauce. Oh Adrian, you’ve done it again you sly dog.

There is no kick-out time, so we spend our day lounging in La Leona’s hammocks, listening to the sound of the sea which is not even 20 meters from us, and day-dreaming of the glorious lunch we’ve just devoured. A round of desserts come out for us, more coffee is drunk, and eventually we decide it’s time to leave this life behind and head back to camp, where we are hounded for the details of the food we were treated to this time.

In this day and age a true hero is hard to come by, but for us, Adrian will always be a knight in shining armour.

By Alistair Ross - Field Communications Officer

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