A magical place in Nicoya

Quebrada Honda is a magical, mysterious place on the Nicoya Peninsula, not far from the Amistad Bridge. I had the pleasure of walking through the woods there with the owner of a large piece of land adjoining the Barra Honda national park. He was the proverbial walking encyclopedia with more information than I could process (especially since he was speaking only Spanish). He knew every living thing in the forest like his own children and spoke lovingly about the perfectly camouflaged animals watching us. That was a bit chilling as I immediately imagined unblinking, curious eyes nearly everywhere in the Bird’s nest for good luckbushes and wondered when they’d had their last meal. Caves on his property connected to those in the national park, but we didn’t tour them due to time constraints (thank goodness – friends who have toured caves have regaled me with tales of water snakes popping about, bat colonies flapping madly at the intrusion and very tight places – no thank you). Springs with high-calcium content cascaded over rocks, wearing them away and making comfortable seating in the midst of the flow. (These rock formations were used as models for the facade of the San Pedro Mall.) The water wasn’t cold and I could picture myself sitting on them reading a book surrounded by a spectacular array of leaves, branches and calling birds – totally removed from jets roaring overhead, dogs barking and diesel fumes. Also on the grounds were the remains of an indigenous settlement, evidenced by bits of pottery and teeth constantly working their way to the surface of the ground. I tread softly and respectfully in this area as I felt I was on sacred ground. Before leaving my new friend, we passed by the Chorotaga oven he still used for cooking. As a parting gift, he gave me a bird’s nest that is rumored to bring good luck. It was long and narrow, almost like a sack. I wish I knew what kind of bird flew in and out as it fed its hatchlings. Hopefully, as more natural habitation is gobbled up by developments and hotels, people will demand that the land, forest, water and peace be protected in deed as well as word. Once a forest is turned to concrete, it is gone forever. Then where are the animals?

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