I slowly wake up, my eyes lazy and heavy as I start to make out the deep layered greens and lush vegetation outside my window. Cracking a smile, I stretch my arms under the cool underside of the fluffy feather down pillow as my legs move through soft cotton sheets; I’m starting to really love the luxury of it all. I throw the sheets off my feet and stand, the automatic coffee maker hissing as the last drops of coffee drip their way out of the machine. Happy with myself for setting up the machine last night, I joyfully roll over the sheets to the other side of the bed and hop up, ready to have my first drink of the day. Wafts of darkly roasted beans make their way up to my nostrils as I pour my first glass, breathing in a relaxing sigh.

Stepping across the shimmering clean white tiles, I make my way to the semi surrounding windows of my suite. I open the large sliding glass door that must be at least ten feet wide and step out onto the stone balcony, cup of coffee ready in hand for the first glorious drink. And a glorious drink it is too, taking one large gulp before bringing the cup down to marvel at my surroundings. I am literally surrounded by rainforest. Deep green, wet, lively rainforest with accompanying fog that rolls steadily through its greenery, taking my breath away. On my private terrace, I feel like I am a part of the rainforest like the vines snaking their way up the trees.

A few feet away I see a couple of butterflies fluttering together making their way up the base of a tree, like some ancient dance ritual that I am honored to see. They soon disappear into the dense tropical palm fronds and long leaves that create a dense canvas of green a mere few feet away. I can’t help but follow the long skinny grey trunks of the trees upward until my head can’t fall back any further, till I can see the head of the tree, fighting for as much moisture and sunlight as it can get, when a bright ray of sun cuts through a crack in the leaves and shoots right into my eye. Blinking Momentarily to shake the ray’s slightly unexpected assault I take another drink of coffee and enjoy the sounds. Birds are chirping all over, but not in the kind of annoying woodpeckers and mockingbirds that normally fill the morning song, these birds fill the forest with gentle chirps that align perfectly with the steady flow of water and the constant faint buzz of nature. I take a few more deep breaths and look around, letting nature soak in my skin, deep in my soul, so I will never forget this lovely morning, deep in the Costa Rican rainforest at what seems to be my own private resort.

This is, of course, a lie, there are quite a few other people here, perhaps even now, out on their own private balcony enjoying the surrounding majesty with their own cup of coffee, but I can’t see them so simply block the thought of them out. It’s my vacation anyhow, I can treat it as I please. Drinking the last few sips of coffee I take leave of my lovely stone terrace and head back into my suite closing the sliding door behind me.

I’ve already decided that I was going to the hot springs first thing in the morning last night, so I run into the bathroom to get my tooth-brushing and shower out of the way, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day. Before jumping into the shower, I hesitate as I step in front of the inviting whirlpool bathtub that sits, ever so lovingly, right next to the standing shower. and I think how good it would feel to simply drop some soap in there and let the bubbles rise as the open window filters in the only music I need to listen to today. I sigh, knowing the hot springs are probably just as soothing if not more so and get in the shower.

Once in the shower my stomach growls. I know I should pick up a snack before heading down to one of the naturally heated pools located on the property. The shampoo smells like lavender and I don’t mind, seems to mix in well the tropical theme. After scrubbing my hair, I soap down my body and get out just as quickly as I got in. Throwing on a fuzzy bathrobe, I contemplate going down to get food at Los Tucanes on-site, which I had enjoyed immensely the night before, but decided that buffet breakfast would have to wait another day. With my mind made up, I grabbed a snack of pretzels and an apple at the mini bar and quickly ate, filling my body with energy for the morning. Stomach happily relieved I threw on my bathing suit, slipped into my favorite pair of sandals, grabbed a towel, and made my way out the door towards the hot springs.

I quickly wander through the hallway admiring the brown tiling that seems to warm my feet like a welcoming blanket even though my sandals create a barrier between my feet and the floor. Everything is so clean, yet light as if it were always like this, like it is no big deal that the rainforest is outside and the resorts halls and rooms were created simply as an added appendage keeping up with the exotic the aesthetic. I make my way out of the side doors to the resort.

When I walk outside, I’m greeted by light fog rolling around the resort and into the trees. Normally, this fog would bother me if I were back home, but here it seems to weave in and out of the trees and bushes as natural as one of the many birds or lizards that run wild through them everyday. It’s not overtly sunny, but its plenty bright and warm. Which is probably a good thing because in a few hours it might get too hot if it wasn’t for the fog, but the constant easy wind keeps things cool this early in the morning. I make my way to a raised wooden walkway that looks freshly gleaming from protective water coatings and wood finisher, and think how amazing the maintenance is for the walkway not having even a single piece of remotely rotten wood.

As I wonder, I absentmindedly go down a set of stairs and stop when I realize I’m standing in very warm water and feel small droplets of water hitting my shin and thighs. I look up and to the left of me is a natural waterfall about four feet high and about thirty feet across cascading over a cliff into a small river that seems to go on forever. Even in the humid weather you can see steam just barely above the waters inviting a long dip under the waterfalls downpour. I count myself lucky that I rose up early enough to be the only guest at the resort to have made their way down to the enticing pool of warmth.

I take a few steps in the river and feel the warmth of the water enveloping my legs. As the water runs around my lower legs, I feel most comforting heat slowly rise up my body. Under the waterfall, there are two step-like ledges that make for long naturally made benches due to the continual force of the waterfall over the millennia. I use the first ledge as a stepping stool before I…as I sit down I immediately close my eyes as the hot water falls over my shoulders and I lower my head, letting the water work its magic. The only sound is the soothing music of rushing water as the waterfall massages my upper back with endless water and just enough pressure for me to have noticed muscles I never knew existed, much less needing a kneading. My mind drifts off into a peaceful state as the water continually runs over my shoulder and back as I think to myself, I love Costa Rica…

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