Like a giant screen set for the film of the Jungle Book, the rain-forest regions of Central America, stretching from Mexico to South America, are huge and plentiful in their biodiversity. Lush and tropical, they are also delightfully easy to access, even if you only have a short period of time.
So, whether chilling on a beach, or climbing the higher mountains, make sure you stop, go inland a little and look underfoot. The wealth of wildlife is frankly phenomenal.
And, if you are accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, you are in for one heck of a learning treat.
I always plan some sort of jungle trip. One of the thrills when visiting this region is that you can wander off in any direction and immediately be confronted by a vast range of species of flora and fauna. Beautiful, bright and abundant flowers stand out amidst the 3D-wall of twisting green rain-forest, shaded by thickly entwined creepers, ferns, mosses and high canopy trees.
Although the wildlife and thick foliage is replicated across the region, these photos are an example of what can been seen in a short 3 or 4 km walk. Travelling up from the Honduran coast I recently stayed in one of our favourite jungle regions, Pico Bonito National Park.
It’s a park which combines all the glorious diversity you would expect, with classic Central American jungle activities – including hiking, bird-watching, river-swimming, kayaking, rafting and high-canopy nature gazing. You’ll see birds, butterflies and all manner of creepy crawlies, against the backdrop of dense forest wilderness and lost-world flora.
Even in the short 2-3 hour time period that I walked and shot these photos, I managed to sense the enormity of the region’s heart-beating eco-system. Although I only scratched the surface, I still delighted in the enchantment of so much life within such a small geographical area.
Soldier-ants, bright blood-coloured flowers, orange spiders, space-shaped cocoa pods, orchids, humming birds, toucanets, magical-mushrooms, elusive tayra tracks, high-stemmed heliconia petals, creepers, the canopy and the craziest of frogs. All within reach of a short flight from the coast. Or, more importantly a few steps from one of Nomadic Thoughts’ favourite jungle hide-outs.
So, if you dream of following in Baloo’s footsteps towards bare necessity, make sure when you are on a jungle wander, that you at the very least ‘look under the rocks and plants, and take a glance at the fancy ants’.