Day 2: El Copal

Costa Rica travel diary

We had a really nice minibus with a quite interesting driver to our disposal for the duration. I think he did not quite know what to make of us all at first, but by the end I think we had won him over. Along the way we also met up with our two fantastic local guides, Daniel and Eugenio.

Our first day was a long drive over to the Caribbean side and the beautiful El Copal, an eco commune remotely located about an hour southwest of the town of Turrialba on the edge of Tapantí National Park. Tapanti, 144,000 acres of mid- and upper-elevation forest in the Talamanca Range is the largest remaining forest in Central America and is connected with green areas all the way across the border into Panama. The reserve is part of a biological corridor connecting Tapantí-Macizo de la Muerte National Park and La Amistad International Park.

El Copal may be sparse on conveniences but it is certainly high on charm. The place run strictly on tightly rationed solar powered electricity, it takes its water from a nearby spring and is a truly rustic homestead, handmade down to the last chair. The most prominent feature is the magnificent wraparound porch, a mid-level altitude bird watcher’s paradise and more than 380 bird species have actually been spotted on the grounds.

We did a short trek around the lodge before dark, spotting plenty of orchids and some nocturnal bugs.We stay here for two nights. A lot more exploring to be done tomorrow. There is a wifi connection, I managed to send off a couple of photos to Instagram but it was sporadic at best, so I gave up. Still on urban thinking it actually took a few more days before I accepted the lack of connectivity and put the phone in airplane mode for the duration and actually learned to enjoy the social media vacation too eventually! There, I said it!

By the way, speaking of the dark… it feels a little weird to me… It feels just like summer, with the temperatures and sunshine and all, but the darkness comes so fast here. By six the light begin to fade and an hour or so later it is dark. In Sweden in the summer it never really gets truly dark… sun sort of caresses the edge of the horizon around midnight then comes back up again. The dark might have been more noticeable of course since electricity is limited and we are conscientious about turning on the lights. Loading phones and cameras was tricky too with only two solar battery powered outlets on a dozen people…

About the Author:

Karma is an environmentalist, hiking zealot and orchid nerd from Sweden. She is also a designer/art director and a blogger. She has been the editor for the Swedish Orchid Society magazine, published internationally and held lectures on orchid culture. At the moment Karma is a digital nomad, intent on discovering the world one trail at a time.

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