Times Online - Six extreme adventures for softies

February 16, 2009

RAINFOREST: Survive the Costa Rican jungle

So extreme… Trees that sting, vines that cut and spiders that kill with a single bite… In the ancient rainforests of the Amazon or Australia, the fauna and flora mean serious business. Go off the beaten track here, and there’s a chance you might not come back. But on Costa Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula, things are slightly more welcoming.

The younger, virgin lowland rainforest of the Corcovado and Piedras Blancas National Parks has few aggressive surprises, so you needn’t worry about being beaten up by the vegetation while exploring. Gaia may be a shade friendlier in this wilderness, but it’s still an experience of a lifetime for intrepid explorers who come to hike, horse-ride and tree-climb in a densely private ecosystem full of natural mystery.

So easy… Arrive aboard a light aircraft, and then travel deep into the rainforest by 4WD. A bone-shaking hour’s off-roading and Bosque del Cabo lodge materialises: a clutch of solar-powered bungalows plunged in extravagant flora, with glimpses of humpback whales breaching off the coast a short walk away.

There’s no hint of the modern world, just a menagerie of jaguars, tapirs and squirrel monkeys – and the comforting sense of being protected by some of the world’s toughest greenery.

Sunvil (020 8758 4774, www.sunvil.co.uk) has four nights’ full board at Bosque del Cabo as part of a 15-night Costa Rica package, from £2,720pp, including flights from Heathrow, transfers and excursions.