Indeed, you only live twice: your second life starts when you bird Costa Rica for the first time. And, yee-haw, this would be my second attempt at a second life: three weeks ago I was invited to bird Costa Rica! And that is how this mess I am in, started.
Do you ever manage to get ready for a birding trip in a calm and orderly fashion? And find enough time to study the field guide to your destination?
I know of international bird guides who can get ready in ten minutes. Their secret: they keep one suitcase packed all the time. The only thing left to recheck is if there’s enough tooth paste left after the previous tour.
And I? I am a mere mortal: in total chaos, ergo sum.
The first choice was: what optics to take? Swarovski CL Companion 8×30 or larger but much stronger NL Pure 12×42? With smaller magnification comes a larger field of view, which I felt would be a better choice for the lush rainforests of Tortuguero. (Actually, NL 8×42 would have been the very best choice, but that one wasn’t available.)
How about a scope? On my last trip, I used mine only twice (and my guide’s scope several more times); hence the heaviest part of equipment stays at home. Yes, I know, whatever I decide, I’ll be sorry, so I’d rather be sorry and comfortable.
Being fully inoculated with AstraZeneca, I understood that with a digital vaccination certificate, I do not need any further tests to enter Costa Rica – something to recheck again!! [Update: true. Check.]
Also, at the website of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I could find the requirements to enter Costa Rica (basically, a digital form to fill in and international health insurance), but not a word about whether I need any advance testing when returning to Serbia? After almost two years of pandemic, I really cannot take any more stress of that kind! [Update: with the vaccination certificate, I need no testing. Check.]
What I missed the last time was an electrical socket adapter, to be able to charge my European gadgets in the American world. I planned to buy it at some airport, but that didn’t happen. Yesterday I got it. Check.
Medicines? Check. Dentist? After a year and a half long pause (!!), finally checked today!
A reminder for tomorrow: To buy travel health insurance. While I never travel without it anyway, because of the Covid nowadays you cannot get into many countries without it.
Another reminder for tomorrow: To buy a set of face masks. And to find a much smaller bottle for hand sanitiser, normal size bottles are apparently not allowed inside planes.
And yet another reminder for tomorrow: I should somewhere buy one of those button-type batteries for a Bluetooth remote shutter, to give it a shot at digiscoping birds at fruit feeders of Selva Verde with a smartphone photo adapter.
Something to do before the trip: To fully recharge the head lamp. Also, to smear some skin moisturizer cream over my leather binocular strap. It’s a rather narrow and very comfortable strap, but it comes from a pair of bins I bought 45 years ago!
There are some other things to finish, but I am highly unlikely to make it before the trip, so it’ll have to wait for my return.
A field guide I’ll have to study on a long flight from Europe to San Jose. There will be no chance to do it earlier!
Also, I shouldn’t forget a rain poncho, it’s the rainy season at the Caribbean side, where I am heading. And to bring a lot of insect repellent, those mosquitoes haven’t seen a tourist in a year and a half, are really hungry and will be happy to wish me a warm welcome.
UPDATE: Just ahead of the trip, I started developing symptoms like sneezing, fever, runny nose and cough – either a common cold or Covid-19 Delta variant. At the time I didn’t know what is was, yet, whatever the case, I had to cancel my participation in the tour. Luckily, it wasn’t Covid, but I was not fit for travelling. Still, it’s Costa Rica I am talking about: I’ll be back.
The final update: And yes, I did make it back, read about my Costa Rican birding exploits here.