It’s not every day you come face to face with an insect the size of a teacup. The experience is rather otherworldly as your brain tries to evaluate exactly what it’s seeing. You begin to wonder if someone is playing a practical joke on you, or perhaps the creature is, in fact, an extraterrestrial being that landed on the wrong planet, or maybe it really isn’t there at all and you’re simply hallucinating from some strange tropical disease you’ve caught while trekking through the rainforest.
But then the awe sets in and your senses come into focus. Once again, songs of birds flutter in your ears and the scent of moist earth fills your nose releasing that instinct to be curious, to get a little closer, to appreciate one of nature’s wonders.
There were many natural wonders in Costa Rica. One being the endless green landscapes: green-capped mountains and hills, green forests, green trails, green volcanoes and green beaches. Everywhere I turned there were trees, loads and loads of gorgeous, lofty trees that appeared to tickle the sky. And it occurred to me that heaven must be green, or at least the cool parts of it are.
I spent each day during my trip through this small Central American country exploring nature reserves and national parks in hopes of seeing wildlife. I was fortunate. I witnessed three Macroteiid lizards quarreling over a mango; colorful birds belting whimsical chants as they soared from tree to tree; a Jesus Christ lizard (yes, that’s it’s real name) lying perfectly camouflaged among the creviced bark of a tree; a silky anteater scurrying along the forest floor in search of shiny insects; and a troupe of capuchins lining a row of trees to protect the newest member of the community and its mother, so that the vulnerable pair could pass safely through the canopy.
I became infatuated with the wild temperament of the rainforest and all its hidden treasures. Thankfully, I was able to capture many of my encounters with nature on film, and relive the most beautiful moments of the trip through photos and videos.
Like many travelers, I’m always searching for the next raw, undisturbed destination. I rely on guides, word of mouth and institutions that have mastered the art of discovery.
For years, National Geographic has inspired me to go beyond my comfort zone and to travel to places that I had only heard about thanks to the company’s valiant efforts to share the world’s most striking features and cultures through its publications and television network.
I pursued photography after learning the importance of conveying a message through an image. The photos I saw in National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler helped me realize that it was possible to capture a moment in time while holding on to the emotions and living components of that moment.
Once again, Nat Geo is pushing the boundaries of discovery in a new miniseries called Untamed Americas. Each episode reveals the grit and glory in the wild of North America, Central America and South America, and explores some of the greatest wildlife spectacles in an against-the-odds fight for survival in the continents’ mountains, deserts, forests and coasts.
“The Untamed Americas team spent almost two years in the field, traveling thousands of miles from Alaska to Patagonia, to capture the extreme wildlife of the continents. To film the rare moments, Untamed Americas’ cameramen and producers rappelled down Peruvian cliffs in sea lion territory with bruised shins and battered heads; endured jellyfish stings in Monterey Bay, California; slipped down mud paths and stumbled through dark, dense underbrush in the Ecuadorean cloud forest; faced subzero temperatures as well as extreme heat with 100 percent humidity; maneuvered through freak out-of-season hurricanes; grasped for breath in high altitudes; lost sleeping bags (and sleep!) in 80 mph winds in Chile; and were even stalked by a puma” — Untamed Americas.
This fascinating four-hour miniseries premieres Sunday, June 10 and Monday, June 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel.
To hear more about what we and other travelers are saying about Untamed Americas check out Nat Geo TV Blogs.
Main Photo by: Getty Images/Vetta via National Geographic.com