Jamie and I have always been nature and wildlife enthusiasts, which probably explains why we would pay $200 for a night on top of a tree house in the middle of a primary rainforest! What I am about to describe is likely to be the decription of hell for most of you but we enjoyed every minute.
Jan, our lovely Czech guide picked us up at Manzanillo and drove us to his house where we could drop off our backpacks and commence an hour’s hike into a 200 million year old rainforest. Jan moved to Costa Rica 7 years ago with his girlfriend speaking absolutely no Spanish but rigour and determination in his heart. Hailing from Prague, one of my favourite cities in the world, he is a builder and architect by profession who loves wildlife (mostly reptiles) and wanted to hone a profession that was a natural cocktail of the two. What does he end up doing? Moving to a rainforest to build free standing tree houses and jungle huts! As you do. It was evident that he had found the perfect job by the glimmer in his eyes when he showed us around a sloth rescue centre. This included an introduction to a rescued 7 month old sloth Pepito. Needless to say, we refused to leave after this because this little bugger was an abosulte cutie!
After pratically having to drag me away from the sloth, and an hours hike into the jungle, completely drenched from humidity, we arrived at our humble abode for the night, snugly sitting approximately 8 stories above the ground. I won’t lie, I was scared shitless about the next 30 minutes (felt like 3 hours btw) as I had just been informed that we had to hoist ourselves up 25 metres to get to the entrance and that the tree house itself was a free standing structure, i.e it was not wedged into the tree with nails. Just hung from branches….Great! Nerves aside, I got belted up and hoped for the best. Initial adrelanine and enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration as each time I pulled myself up I hoped I’d be closer to the top, but I had only moved half an inch. #epicfail. Slowly, very slowly, but surely I made it to the top shaking like a leaf at the thought of looking down. Jamie on the other hand honed the inner monkey in him and was up in less than 5 minutes and was the ever so supportive husband as always. He made fun of me for the next hour..
As far as eco-friendly construction genius is concerned, this place ticks all the boxes! No use of plastic or nails. A composte genarating toilet (not as disgusting as it sounds) and recycled rainwater for a shower and washing. Despite its basic nature, the owners had managed to fit in every bit of comfort in this 200 sq ft paradise. Two hammocks, a comfy couch and a snug bed enclosed in a pretty heavy duty mosquito net.
After Jan and his lovely side kick Misa (who we got to practice our Spanish on as he spoke absolutely no English) left us, we spent the rest of the afternoon with no electronics or social media, just watching the rainforest in all its glory. Mr Sealey decided to embrace the jungle and proceeded to spend his afternoon nude. Like every rainforest we experienced heavy downpour for pretty much the entire evening and night, which luckily for us meant, Jamie putting his clothes back on and a family of howler monkeys taking shelter next to our tree house. The next morning we were abruptly woken up around 4:30am by the same family, and rightly so, as the heavens had cleared and all of the jungle’s wildlife was out to play. This included a large flight of parrots, toucans, and spider monkeys. At about 9, Jan showed up with a breakfast feast fit for a king and the rest of the morning was spent taking in the last of this tropical paradise and fretting about having to get back downthe 8 stories on a tiny rope! Touching the ground with my feet has never felt so good!
All in all, spending 24 hours on the top of a canopy in the middle of a jungle makes you realise that nature is phenominal and given the time to be in the animals’ environment makes you appreciate the basic things in life and that we spend far too much time on or phones or in front of a television. It gives you time for self reflection and a general appreciation of life itself. But, mostly how amazingly adept monkeys are at travelling at high speed through the tree tops and how much flying insects love a torch at night and how quickly there can be a million of them creeping you out! (Video view of tree house below)