The Cloud Forest, Monteverde Costa Rica.
This is the last part of a four part report of tripping in Costa Rica. In our month in Costa Rica we tripped in the Jungle, the beach, a volcanic thermal hot spring and the cloud forest. We hope you enjoy our reports.
Our last stop in Costa Rica was Monteverde, in the cloud forests of Costa Rica. The high altitude and high humidity results in the forest being at cloud level, with a beautiful mist greeting you most days.
Our home was an Airbnb inspired by a tree house design.... but wow, what a tree house. Everything in the unit was beautiful, with beautiful craftsmanship. From a pure design and quality perspective, this was this nicest home we had seen anywhere in Costa Rica, and we were happy we had saved it for last
We spent the first few days of our stay exploring the forests and surrounding areas. Everywhere we went we discovered amazing natural sights. The small orchid garden in town was well worth a stop.
And a trip to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is on almost everyone's to-do list, with good reason. Get there right when it opens to avoid the mass crowds that gather mid-day. The Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena was expensive and less impressive than the free hikes in Oregon or Northern California, which have a similar look and feel.
The evenings at our little tree house were spectacular. With very little ambient light, the stars shown brightly, and although we were close to downtown, the area was silent other than wildlife. We decided to save our last day in Monteverde for our trip, as the weather looked good, and it wouldn't interfere with our tourist activities.
The night before the trip we stocked up on our usual supplies... plenty of fresh fruit, some excellent local coffee beans and a first, several packages of good quality ramen.
And then we had a fight.... a big one, the kind that happens once a year. It went on for several hours and we went to bed still upset. A month on the road is taxing, even in an country as easy as Costa Rica, and we had enjoyed a very positive and connecting experience. So this conflict should have been expected. We were doing well by anyone's book. But it wasn't expected, and we are sensitive to conflict and it felt devistating.
In the morning we re-connected, assuring each other things were fine and that the fight from the evening before was behind us. But bouncing back from conflict is never easy, especially for me. So we faced a first for us: should we do the trip despite the residual stress and sadness from the evening before.
Emotional States Before an LSD Trip
Whether to take LSD while dealing with challenging emotions is a complex issues. Accepted wisdom is that you want a good setting and good people to share any acid trip. But whether to trip while dealing with short or long term anxiety or depression is more divisive.
Studies have shown that LSD can improve mid and long-term happiness, as well as emotional openness and optimism. See Paradoxical Effects of LSD and this study of studies. Our own experiences with LSD were that so long as we were with positive people in a positive place, the experience was overwhelmingly positive, even when dealing with sadness and pain.
We had a frank discussion about our respective emotional states and our ability to help each other in the event of emotional distress. We share a deep love for each other, and we both felt that we had put the conflict of the evening before behind us and were ready to move on in a supportive and loving way.
I would add an important note: our conflict, while harsh for our relationship, might be viewed as mild by those suffering relationship conflict. There was no deep underlying substantive issue, no issues around trust or betrayal, and we both felt that our relationship was in a good place when viewed from any angle. Moreover, we both sincerely felt the ability to support each other if needed. We would have opted to not take LSD if we did not feel safe and supported in our relationship at that moment.
The Trip Begins
We get a later start than expected due to the conflict of the night before, but the morning is absolutely beautiful. While rain is predicted for the afternoon, the morning skies were blue, and a rainbow greeted us in the distances.
At 11 a.m. we start with a 125 ug dose, on a mint. This dose was made almost a month ago, and had been kept in a dark altoids tin, but this was not air tight, and there had been significant temperature fluctuations and high humidity. So significant degradation of the LSD was a concern. Luckily the potency appeared unaffected, with no noticeable variation in strength from that of our first trip one month earlier.
The first effects were the classic onset of minor visual hallucinations. We began our trip on a balcony, and the world around us appeared to be breathing, colors appeared vibrant. Emotionally, we began to feel the weight of nature around us, and the cloud forest felt very very old and omni-present.
The cheery colors of the unit began to pop out, and everything appeared to be in sharp focus. The stress and sadness of our conflict from the night before had melted away, and a feeling of emotional intimacy returned. We had sex, which was less hilarious than often is on LSD, but still light hearted, sensual and fun.
Two hours into our trip, we began to experience stronger psychedelic effects. This tree took, which was a good distance away from our home, began to take on a significance for me, and I became fascinated with its branches and complexity.
The variations in the color of leaves became stark, and we began to notice details in the buds and fruit on the trees around our house that we had not previously noticed. Small red buds were evident almost everywhere, although we hadn't noticed them before (we confirmed the next day that these actually existed).
A rain shower hit suddenly and we sat outside, burning some local incense. A small white dog wandered up from the rain and sat down with us in the shelter to wait out the storm. The appearances of dogs was routine in Costa Rica, and like elsewhere, this dog had almost no interest in us, but we enjoyed his visit nonetheless.
Around five hours into our experience, the psychedelic phase subsided, and we decided it was time to eat. The fruit plate was our first step, combined with some more of the spicy and salty peanuts we enjoyed on prior trips. We also had a few flavors of drink mix that we used as a sweet and sour dipping powder.
Alexis became adventurous and decided to cook the ramen, her first experience of deal with cooking while tripping. The results were amazing, and we chowed down with glee. Not only was cooking the noodles a challenge, but eating them was an absurd experience. Noodles were pretty much everywhere, and we made a small dent in the massive amount of noodles we had.
Because the rain continued much of the afternoon, we remained in our tree house home, moving from room to room to enjoy the different views, enjoying the intense earthy smell of the incense and snacking on nuts and fruit.
By 5 p.m. the sun began to set turning the sky intense reds and yellows before going dark. We continued our evening by chatting about our trip and drinking a few glasses of wine
Finally we both felt our experiences were over and we were back to normal. We decided to watch Marry Poppin, a favorite of Alexis, an a movie I hadn't seen since my childhood. A good choice. And shortly into it, it became clear I was still having visual hallucinations, as the screen became entirely three dimensional, the faces of the characters morphed amusingly, and the music seemed to fill the room.
Only by the end of the movie, had things truly returned to normal. We ended the night feeling refreshed and very connected.
This experience remains on of our favorites. It was the first where we both were dealing with an immediate emotional challenge, and not only did it not impact the trip, it helped us move past the conflict of the evening before. The cloud forest was absolutely spectacular to watch. The tree house styled house we were staying in was magical, feeling playful and very connected to nature. The food tasted amazing, and it was among the first times we ate a cooked meal while tripping. Finally, watching Mary Poppins pushed several buttons, being visually stunning, and yet childlike and playful.
Another wonderful adventure.
We hope you have enjoyed this story. As discussed in our "About" section, each of these stories are fictional stories we have created or have been told to us. We always comply with the laws and customs in each country we visit and we encourage all others to do so as well.