Cahuita National Park is one of those places you normally see in a magazine like Wanderlust or National Geographic and think 'I'd love to go there'...followed by 'I probably won't though'. It seems out of reach, an almost abstract beauty. Untouchable. Unreal. The reserve of travel writers and poets alone. In this 360º video, Cahuita looks remote, untouched, spectacular, from a magazine one can afford to only flick through. The shabby flotsam, the tree roots enveloping and re-naturing pathways; the waves drowning out the tropical din of crickets and toucans trying to do their jobs. It's a slender walkway that forges a divine divide betwixt ravaging jungle and salt-cured beach. Even when you're there, it seems like someone else's dream.
Of course, the pathways aren't always desolate and made just for you...at weekends it's like a busy mall. Sorry to break the news. We happened to go on a Monday lunchtime. On a Saturday, people picnic on all the tables. The soundwaves are a little intruded upon by shrieks of kids and excitable adults. Any sighting of anything living is surrounded by tour groups (which, if you try to penetrate for a glimpse, will earn you a ticking off from the guide whom you're not paying for access to his expert eyes). And this is off season! For locals, this national park isn't a 'wander-in-silence-and-awe' sort of thing...it's more where they come to hang out at weekends. It's the best beach in town and costs merely a donation of your choice to get in. I'm not trying to burst bubbles here - this place is amazing. The shy wildlife (apart from the hungry raccoons), the ocean's fizz on the sand, the rainforest's uniquely rhythmic hum...it's truly beautiful...but what I'm trying to say is that places in magazines aren't someone else's untouchable paradise. Nowhere is perfect, and everywhere is accessible. Don't get caught up thinking in glossy pages, because for every glossy page, there's a bus that takes you there.