As might be guessed from many of the sources linked to here, several of us are fans of long-form narrative and some enough so that we listen to a podcast dedicated to interviewing long-form journalists. We love well-crafted descriptive wording. Our friends in Costa Rica generally, and the Osa Peninsula especially, must be delighted to have Amy Harmon‘s long-form knowhow working in their favor in this week’s Travel section of the New York Times.
By almost unbelievable coincidence, while wearing the shirt to the left (selfie by yours truly, dear reader) I was listening to a podcast interview with Amy Harmon at the moment this article–what first caught my eye was the title about travel to Costa Rica–came onto my screen. Then, seeing it was by Amy Harmon I had to read it immediately for another reason. We have a large collection of posts dedicated to science writers and their craft, but none yet dedicated to her work (this post is the first step of correcting that negligence). Below, excerpts of the description of the experience she had at Bosque del Cabo, a property where many of our guests who stay at Xandari also visit, and vice versa:
…Our first stop, Bosque del Cabo, was a 40-minute ride by taxi from Puerto Jiménez, the biggest town on the peninsula with a population of 1,780. I had chosen one of the two cabins at Bosque just steps from the rain forest, at the edge of a large clearing planted with native trees and plants. A half-mile away from the main lodge area, these “garden cabinas” are reached by a trail through the forest that crosses high above a river over a suspension bridge…
…We would have virtually no chance of seeing a tapir on the hotel’s trails, the staff told us candidly (even in Corcovado, we were told, our chances were 50-50). But we spotted poison dart frogs, lizards and monkeys dozing in the sun. A wild pig called a peccary often visited the lodge’s modest pool, where we cooled off and sipped ginger lemonades.
The hotel also offered nature-oriented activities: One morning we rappelled 70 feet down a strangler fig tree, another we hiked down the empty beach to a waterfall, splashing in the tide pools that form in the reef formations along the way. On an evening wildlife tour, the hotel naturalist taught us the trick of holding our flashlights against our temples, revealing the reflection of thousands of spider eyes shining in the grass.
Dinner, served buffet-style with a bounty of delicious choices (panko-crusted eggplant, roasted hearts of palm, crispy chicken with figs) was eaten at communal tables. And if I needed validation on my destination choice, we found ourselves dining more than once with others who had firsthand knowledge of Costa Rica’s well-traveled spots.
“Osa is — crunchier,” said one civil rights lawyer from Washington, D.C., as Sasha and another girl her age excused themselves to look at the bats hanging from the bamboo light fixtures.
His wife, a judge, concurred about their desire for a less-processed experience.
“More what we had in mind when we thought about Costa Rica,” she said.
In our cabin, open on three sides, we felt less like observers than residents of the forest, along with monkeys playing in the trees directly above us and the leafcutter ants below. One late afternoon, a rainbow of toucans and scarlet macaws flew by a few feet away, on their way to the fruit trees in the clearing behind us…
Read the whole article here.