San Jose, the Capital City was a hub of art and the most welcoming people. Our first full day in the city was spent at a Gay Pride parade, an incredible show of openness from the country’s progressive new government, who also devote so much to making the country one of the world’s leaders in green energy. In a city of 300,000 people, the 200,000 strong parade was such an inclusive and huge event, that was so safe and left no mark on the city after it was done.
Travelling to a remote part of the country to our research base at Reserva Playa Tortuga, using public transport was a challenge given the language barrier, but my limited Spanish proved sufficient, an ode to the importance of at least making an effort in a foreign tongue.
The incredible people of Costa Rica helped us out in some difficult situations, with my utmost gratitude to the late Frank Tortoriello for all his help. The Go Abroad Staff and Insurance covered us perfectly in an issue involving stolen money, so again, a huge thank you to them.
Every day was a new and unbelievable experience, and everyday saw tens of species you just wouldn’t see elsewhere. Within an hour of arriving on base we were on a beach surrounded by vultures trying to find sharks, whilst avoiding huge crocodiles and adorable sand crabs. Then scarlet macaws flew overhead, making far too much noise. Walking through the jungle trying to find monkeys, bats, butterflies, pacas, tapirs, birds and every other animal under the sun. Walking at night in waist deep water trying to snare crocodiles and Caimans, tree Boas and always keeping an eye out for nocturnal birds like the Shoe billed Heron and huge Kingfishers. All in the aid of conserving these amazing creatures and their beautiful habitats.
A snorkelling trip to Cano Island allowed us to swim with turtles and sharks in crystal clear waters. To see the turtles in the wild was such a perfect end to all the hard work we had done for their conservation, building the hatchery, and then rescuing nests, collecting over 400 eggs and seeing 6 adults. Climate change has caused a sea level rise that covers the whole beach at high tide, washing away any nests. So 24hr patrols of the beach allowed us to save as many eggs as possible. Walking on the beach for 4hrs at 3am would be hard work if not for the breath-taking scenery, perfect night sky and the incredible reward of rescuing the eggs and seeing the adults. I cannot keep myself from going back, and I could not be more grateful to Go Abroad Fund for making the best experience of my life possible.