Costa Rica: Rainforest, nature, biodiversity and Manuel Antonio

Costa Rica is considered to be one of the 20 countries with greatest biodiversity in the world. The more than 500,000 species that are found in this small country represent nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide. 

That is pretty amazing. And we got to see a lot of it during our trip to Costa Rica along with amazing nature. We visited the rainforest and jungle in Sarapiqui, the rainforest along Pacuare river (where we also met some indigenous people living there), the cloud forest in Monteverde, the areas around La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio National park. 

It was my first time seeing real rainforest, the rainforest is like nature on steroids, everything is so big and there is so much to see all the time. Strange beautiful trees, insects, animals, butterflies and flowers. You really need someone to guide you because you will have so many questions and it's not that easy finding out on your own. And the guides also sees the insects etc. that you wouldn't find yourself. We had guided walks in many of the places both in daytime and nighttime. 

Manuel Antonio

I really recommend visiting Manuel Antonio and Manuel Antonio National park. Bring a packed lunch (no food sale) and spend time on the beautiful beach inside the park. Just watch out for the monkeys, they like to steel your stuff:) In Manuel Antonio we also did a sunset cruise with a Catamaran. We saw dolphins swimming along the boat and watched a beautiful sunset. I also did a kayak tour into the mangroves of Manuel Antonio. The scenery was great and we did see some cool stuff. But calling what we sat in a kayak is taking it a bit to far and it was a hassle kayaking in line with 40 other tourists. But I'm sure there are better options then the one we did. Manuel is definitely worth a stop on your Costa Rica tour.

Save the rainforest

Deforestation in Costa Rica has a serious impact on the environment and therefore may directly or indirectly contribute to flooding, desertification, sedimentation in rivers, loss of wildlife diversity, and the obvious sheer loss of timber. Since the end of World War II, approximately 80% of the forests of Costa Rica have disappeared. Over half of Costa Rica's existing forest cover today is under the protection of national parks, biological reserves, or wildlife refuges. However, the major problem in regards to deforestation is the privately owned plots which occupy the other half. (source Wikipedia).

I already support Regnskogfondet (Rainforest Foundation Norway) - a Norwegian organisation that works to save the rainforest. This trip just made me even more aware of what a big responsibility we have to save rainforests all over the world. 

Kayaking in the mangroves of Manuel Antonio

Kayaking in the mangroves of Manuel Antonio

Amazing tree in Saraquipi

Amazing tree in Saraquipi

The beach inside Manuel Antonio National Park

The beach inside Manuel Antonio National Park

Doing some tree hugging :)

Doing some tree hugging :)

Visit Urke and Hjørundfjorden with Hurtigruten

The guests arrive at the dock in the small town of Urke. They are welcomed by the host of the day, and given a brochure about the town. Pictures are taken beside the "Downtown Urke" sign, surrounded by mountains reflected in the fjord. The locals like to chat and invite the guests to visit the small very cozy partly volunteer driven Kaihuset cafe. No need to buy anything, but if they feel like, the coffee is good and there are home made cakes and waffles. 

Hurtigruten is a daily passenger and freight shipping service along Norway's western and northern coast. Many would say they offer the worlds most beautiful voyage. Two years ago it started sailing in the fjord called Hjørundfjorden during September and October, the trip is called Autumn Gold

I grew up in Urke, the small town where the passengers can walk around for a couple of hours when visiting Hjørundfjorden with Hurtigruten. I'm extremely proud when I see how the locals are welcoming the guests, this is a big thing for the town with less then 50 inhabitants and for all of us who used to live there, we finally get to show it all to the world! Because Urke is truly amazingly beautiful, just look around Instagram

So if you are going to visit Norway, Urke should be on the list. Travelling with Hurtigruten is one way to visit, but you can also go to Urke in other ways and stay at Urke Camping or the amazing historic Hotel Union Øye in the neighbor town Øye. There are also other options to rent cabins etc. 

Hurtigruten in front of Urke, late October.

Hurtigruten in front of Urke, late October.

Waiting for the passengers strolling around Urke.

Waiting for the passengers strolling around Urke.

Hurigruten waiting while guests are visiting Kaihuset cafe.

Hurigruten waiting while guests are visiting Kaihuset cafe.

Urke and Hjørundfjorden seen from the mountain Saksa.

Urke and Hjørundfjorden seen from the mountain Saksa.

(This post is not in any way sponsored by Hurtigruten or any other local parts involved, but its filled with my subjective thoughts about the town where I grew up):