Costa Rica is famous for its resorts, beaches, and beautiful water. For many people, it is paradise Let’s say you’re one of them. You rent a paddle boat and strike out into the gorgeous blue, intent on finding adventure. On your journey, you spot a perfect little beach, better than any movie or brochure you’ve seen. No way you’d miss this! Once you get on the beach, you take in the private beauty of the jungle, sand, and water, unaware that the water is sweeping your paddle boat away. You didn’t bring it up far enough on the beach, and now it’s out beyond your reach, leaving you on a beach quickly changing from paradise to prison.
You will wish you had watched this episode of Survivorman.
Les Stroud simulates the above emergency situation, marooning himself on a beach, abandoned by his crew. He has to find his own way out carrying 55 pounds of camera equipment. He has a pair of long pants, three pens, and a multitool. No food, no water, no helpful equipment – just seven long days ahead of him. Sure, there are coconuts on the beach. Sure, there’s a freshwater stream. Les isn’t playing Robinson Crusoe; he’s on a mission to reach civilization in one piece. Unfortunately, that means diving into a jungle full of bugs and animals that want a piece of him.
Costa Rica is home to the world’s most poisonous spider, 22 species of poisonous snakes, and about 3.6 million ants per acre of rainforest. And that’s not even mentioning the mosquitoes, sand fleas, scorpions, and hand-sized tarantulas. The heat and humidity are oppressive, the vegetation thick and full of secrets. As Les points out, you have to watch where each foot goes every time you take a step. One wrong move and you could be bitten or attacked. At night, sleep is kept at bay by a jungle floor that comes to life with crawling things, and during the day, the heat rises so high that Les’s appetite dies away. Jungle water is full of bacteria and other microorganisms that can lay a person out. It is overwhelmingly alive, dangerously so, and Les has to get through it alone.
Additionally, this episode shows that external challenges aren’t the only things you have to worry about. Stupid mistakes and accidental injuries can completely change your course, and Les has to find a way to stay calm and move forward after accidentally slicing his finger to the bone. Listen as he serenades the jungle with his harmonica, probably the only time the jungle has ever heard such an instrument. As in every Survivorman episode, Les Stroud captures the beauty of nature even while fighting to survive it. You’ll know what we mean when you see the secret waterfall he finds deep in the jungle.
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