Imagine waking up in the morning to the gradual echoing sounds of howler monkeys high above you in the trees. Their deep throaty calls are greeting the first glimpse of the sunrise over the horizon, but it’s still dark under the canopy in the forest. The air feels cool and damp on your skin, and dew dripping from leaves creates a light pitter patter on the tin roof of your bungalow. But the excitement of all there is to see keeps you from snuggling deep under the covers. Instead, you swing your legs over the edge of the bed, place your feet onto the smooth hardwood floors and meander outside to a stone pathway where you’re greeted by red dart frogs and bright blue butterflies the size of your hand. Toucans fly above your head and you have to giggle because they look like flying bananas.
You walk to the end of the pathway and there before you is the edge of the world. High on a mountain, you can see the sunrise over the Caribbean. The nutty scent of coffee fills your nose and you expect to wake up from this dream. But the caffeine just confirms that your environment is indeed real. Thankfully, there is no action packed morning-to-night travel itinerary at the end of this cup of joe. With cell signals, email and the internet far out of reach, you have just inherited a rare commodity … time. Time to do as much, or as little, as you wish. A freedom for play that you haven’t felt since you were a child. A feeling that anything is possible. This is travel more.
And the possibilities for play here are endless. You could hike and explore the sounds that woke you this morning, climbing up mossy rocks, over fallen tree limbs and up to cascading waterfalls and pools carved inside the mountain. There are beaches close by that are still untouched by concrete and ice cream stands, where the only thing between the forest and the ocean is you and the soft grainy sand between your toes. This is probably why Costa Rica is a perfect destination for first time travellers. But my favorite spot is swinging peacefully in a hammock on the bungalow porch with a book in hand, drifting back and forth between sleep and a story.
Welcome to Samasati in Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Waking up in the rainforest with a cup of fresh local coffee in hand and the excitement of having an entire day ahead of me … that is my inspirational place. If you can manage to tear yourself away from this little slide of paradise, don’t miss our other top five things to do in Costa Rica.