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The place with the most bugs in the world

The place with the most bugs in the world

Below, the violent crackle of dense vegetation and fallen leaves that line the ground reveal skirmishes, perhaps of jaguars and ocelots chasing sainos and anteaters. Above all, toucans and macaws protest and bump their beaks against each other and against the logs. In the background the waves of the Pacific break on deserted beaches where black streams infested with crocodiles flow that eat the green turtles and leatherbacks that come to spawn. Here there is no one who winks.

But, of course, that is normal. Because we are in Corcovado, the place with the greatest biodiversity on the planet. Here, 3% of the known species coexist and that is why National Geographic has described it as the site "with the greatest biological intensity on Earth."

Preserving such unspoiled landscapes has been possible thanks to the remoteness of this paradise. Getting there is already an adventure. From Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most popular and busiest in Costa Rica, you drive south along the Costanera for 120 kilometers between banana plantations to the strange town of Sierpe. From there you have to sail by boat for an hour. First, through the river with the same name, flanked by mangroves and crocodiles that seem to doze in the sun on the muddy banks. Upon reaching the mouth, the Pacific always welcomes the barge with intense waves: whoever drives the engine must tell the series, wait for the fury of the ocean to subside, and when that happens, accelerate violently by flying and bouncing over the waters that change color. After another while of sailing parallel to the coast, you will reach the Río Claro area. There is no jetty, so visitors must jump out of the boat into the water and hoist their backpacks over their heads to avoid getting soaked. Finally, you have to save a few hundred meters of ascent along a path that cuts through the dense jungle.

Anyway, the Punta Marenco lodging, one of the few establishments in Osa to stay in, is in the middle of nowhere. It is a green glade and steep cattle to the jungle where a dozen basic cabins follow one another: wooden structures wrapped in a green mesh. Like big mosquito nets. When there is a breeze, the wind passes through the room, as do the noises of the night. Just like the lights of dawn and the last rays of the day do when, in front, the sun sinks into the liquid horizon next to the island of Caño.

Food is not abundant here: it is difficult to bring it, so in the kitchen they must do for it; and guests are prohibited from keeping provisions in the cabins to prevent the monkeys from raiding. There is no Wi-Fi or electricity beyond the one provided by a generator in a common area for two hours; For the rest, you must have flashlights, vital to avoid stepping on the deadly velvet snakes that come out at night to mate.

But, without a doubt, it is a privileged place to get drunk on oxygen, isolate yourself from everything and feel in another world exploring Corcovado. A path runs along the coast: to the east a succession of deserted beaches and rocks on which solitary palm trees grow reaches Aguijitas, in Drake Bay, in a walk of about seven kilometers; to the west is Río Claro, which, after winding through the jungle, flows gently, like a small Amazon, into a yellow and irregular beach that seems about to be devoured by untamed vegetation and prehistoric lizards.

Of course, to enter the national park itself, you have to navigate to San Pedrillo, where the guard house is located. And from there, walk under the vegetable dome, the humid heat and thousands of hungry insects. Here the help of a local guide is vital: only they detect in an almost miraculous way the multicolored frogs that jump between shiny leaves, or the slowed sloths that hug the damp branches. They also know where there is the best chance of locating a tapir, and which places to avoid to avoid the fearsome sting of a bullet ant. You will have to cross rivers and walk through endless beach areas with no shade in sight. You have to suffer. That is why the strange bond is created that, in the end, unites us forever with the magical corners. Places where, for a few seconds, one has the great feeling of discovering something.

After hours of expedition, a swim in the ocean would be excellent, but the proliferation of crocodiles that sometimes go into the salt water in search of turtles makes it inadvisable. As an alternative there is the tropical paradise that is Caño Island. 16 kilometers out to sea is this piece of green land with white sand beaches that would respond to the Caribbean ideal were it not for the fact that the Pacific almost always beats viciously. A few dozen meters from the coast there are excellent snorkeling areas for those who are not afraid to share the pristine water with sharks that move slowly, dragging their bellies on the seabed. When they flick their tail, they kick up clouds of white sand.

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