If you enjoy watching nature documentaries and would like to experience them in person, Costa Rica is the perfect place to see many animals up-close in their natural habitat. It’s an intimate experience you cannot miss but for which you will need the expertise of a local guide. Viktoria and I were fortunate enough to visit beautiful Costa Rica country and meet one of its foremost naturalist guides, Mr. Koky.
We were on the veranda of the Hidden Canopy Treehouses Hotel, our home, for three days. We had chosen Monteverde as the second destination of our two-week vacation in Costa Rica. Jennifer King, the boutique hotel owner, suggested we take a night-guided cloud forest tour with Koky. Waiting for his arrival, we admired the sunset view of the Gulf of Nicoya in front of us. A stripe of the color of papaya cut through the windows, and from below, the water of the gulf created a mist of blue fog that was melted by the fireball of the sun. Then, the door in the back opened, and the man we were waiting for entered the room. We looked at each other with a smile, and we shook hands.
Experience the Magic of Costa Rica's Wildlife with Expert Guide Mr. Koky
Koky was wearing a checkered shirt, business casual black pants, and moccasins. The face framed a black and shiny look, almost like he had a sentence in mid-air. He spoke with an Oxford English style, and his manner reminded us of the calm and self-assurance of Indiana Jones. Koky’s presence was enough to stir respect and confidence in Viktoria and me. Little did we know that he would become the highlight of our trip to Costa Rica.
Discover the Beauty of Monteverde's Cloud Forest with Koky's Night Tour
Back in California, I had ventured one night on my own to the woods behind my house. I was fascinated by the sound of a large colony of red-legged frogs and was determined to see them in their Saturday night disco outfits. I failed in my enterprise. I learned that animals are elusive fellows and that walking alone in the woods at night was not my forte. Koky seemed to sense my uneasiness. He reassured us that all we had to do was to follow him. As a precaution, he gave us two flashlights to ensure we did not step outside the Wild Refuge Cloud Forest trail, which would be the path that led us through our night tour.
We saw half-asleep birds perched on branches, tarantulas, green snakes, frogs, and many other animals that would make for an unnecessarily long list. What struck me the most was how Koky knew exactly where they were hiding and the reaction of the animals, almost as if they were raising a shoulder to him and saying: “Oh, it’s you, Koky. Ok, no problem. What do you want me to do for these people? Ok, I will raise my wings up and down, squint my eyes, or shake my fur, and then I will go back to sleep.”
Unforgettable Close-Up Views of Birds and Animals with Koky's Guided Tour
At some point, Koky spotted a red-eyed frog and quickly took a photo of it with our cell phone. So beautiful! Viktoria was in ecstasy when she saw it. The next day, I confessed to Koky that I had a moment of jealousy when he was able to stir so much happiness in my fiancée.
Viktoria and I were so enthusiastic about what we saw and experienced that we decided to go with Koky on a guided tour of another cloud forest the following morning. We arrived at the veranda at 8:00 am when Koky set up his telescope, pointing it at the hummingbird garden. Our tour began with a close-up view of some remarkable bird species that fluttered around the Hidden Canopy Treehouses Hotel. Koky asked Viktoria: “What is your requirement for the tour?” “Requirement?” replied Viktoria. “Yes – continued Koky – what is the one animal that you absolutely must see today?” Now, Koky’s remark was getting interesting. Was Koky able to call up animals on his cell phone and tell them to show up at such and such time, at a specific intersection of the forest, to entertain us?
Koky, the Naturalist Guide Who Brings the Wild to Life
We learned that Koky was half-serious and half-joking. He will do his best to spot a specific animal that has stuck the fantasy of a first-time visitor to Costa Rica, perhaps an animal seen on a BBC documentary, one of those narrated by David Attenborough. And speaking of him: Koky could easily broadcast a BBC documentary with the same pleasant cadence, passion, and knowledge of our hero David. No kidding. This is the guy who gave us a tour of Monteverde’s cloud forest.
Going back to the expectations of some of Koky’s clients: some are reasonable, and some are not. Koky shared the story of a gentleman from England who took his tour and demanded to see an armadillo. That morning it took some time wandering in the forest before Koky could spot one. But by the time the gentleman had taken his cell phone from his pocket, tried to remember his password, unlocked the camera, and handed it to Koky, the armadillo was long gone. In other words, one can make a wish, but nothing is guaranteed in the unpredictable world of nature and people.
The Ultimate Wildlife Adventure in Costa Rica with Expert Guide Mr. Koky
So, you are going to Costa Rica to see wildlife? You may be able to spot on your own a colony of army ants, a blue jay, and, if you are lucky, a sloth hiding in the canopy. If you are in Monteverde, your best bet to see close-up wildlife is to call Koky. Not only will you see animals and take pictures to brag about to family and friends back home, but you will also have an informative tour that will remind you of those you have seen on BBC, narrated by David Attenborough. With a bonus: instead of watching remotely on the screen of a computer, you will be right in the midst of the elements, live with naturalist expert Koky. Viktoria and I will never forget the tours we took with him, one of the highlights of our trip to Costa Rica.
To get in touch with Koky and coordinate an adventure, you can contact Jennifer King at http://hiddencanopy.com/ to book your stay at Hidden Canopy Treehouses Hotel.
~ Written by: Viktoria Rusnakova & Samuele Bagnai, authors of Enthusiastic All the Way & Tuscan Who Sold His Fiat to the Pope, respectively.
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