A friend of mine who was a Ramblers Worldwide Holidays tour leader told me I would be perfect as a leader too – and I’ve never looked back! In fact his exact words were, “We can really see you wandering along the banks of the Loire telling people all about the history and walks with a glass of wine in your hand!” Strangely though – I’ve never actually made it to the Loire. I don’t mind admitting that I think that I’m the luckiest person in the world! I’m getting to travel to some amazing places and I’m living out my dreams of travel and walking, and sharing that with other like-minded people – I just love it!
One of my all time favourite tours is my upcoming holiday walking in Costa Rica. I’ve been many times before and I don’t think I will ever tire of it! The best thing (for me anyhow!) is the wildlife – it is absolutely amazing. We go on some really lovely walks, and the huge abundance of wildlife just adds that extra dimension. I love the monkeys and sloths, but I have to admit that the birdlife is what really fascinates me. There are five different climactic zones in Costa Rica so there is a phenomenal amount of species to see – although personally, I prefer the ones that don’t move so much because they’re much easier to identify! The colours are incredible – blues, greens, yellows and vivid purples make them really easy to spot and some of my group have been able to get the most incredible pictures you can imagine.
I want to share just two of my best bird spotting excursions from Costa Rica. The first is when I take my tour into the mangrove swamps by boat. WOW is all I can say! You see loads of the big river birds in their own habitat and it’s an absolutely amazing day out. As well as cruising along through the maze of mangroves, we also get out of the boat and go off on some great walks. Loads of people have never been in a mangrove swamp before and I really love telling them all about the fascinating eco-systems within.
My other highlight is quite well-known but nevertheless still one of the best things you can do in Costa Rica if you’re a bird lover (have you worked out yet that I am?!). The Cloud Forest in Monte Verde is the home of the magnificent bird called the Quetzal – and as far as I know you don’t see this bird anywhere else. You walk on the amazing elevated walkways through the canopy of the forest and you really feel like a bird yourself! When you see the Quetzal – which you certainly will – you won’t forget its beauty. Its bright blue and green feathers are kind of like a parrot, but bigger. It is absolutely lovely and I think it is one of the most stunning birds I have ever seen.