DO: Make sure you pay attention to the checklist provided for you. DON'T take your hiking boots (or bug spray, or poncho) out at the last minute to make sure your weight is alright. Tennis shoes and umbrellas work but only if you plan to leave them in the trash can.
DO: Take a hopper plan (or boat) from place to place. DON'T panic if the airport or waves look a bit daunting.
DO: Pay attention to the plants around you. DON'T forget to see the beauty of the small things like the leaves that insects have enjoyed.
DO: Take a walk in the rainforest. DON'T keep your eyes on the ground - Things are all around from ground to canopy.
DO: Enjoy the beach. DON'T forget the sunscreen - even on cloudy days. :(
DO: Make plans to stay in a local area away from tourist areas. Get to know the people who live there. Go to the places they go. DON'T miss finding out about where they live and what life is like where they live. Especially if they are as wonderful as the people I met. Geovanny, Ivan, Ronaldo, Marixa, and Kate made our trip so much more fun!
DO: Take the walk to the beach. DON'T worry about the 20 minute walk. You'll see some cool things along the way and it will be worth it when you get there.
DO: Keep your eyes open when walking around. DON'T be surprised if the creepy crawlies in your room are crabs.
DO: Go with a guide into the rainforest. These are bionic men. They can see a leaf flutter at the top of a tree and get their telescope set up in less than five seconds to see an animal the size of your fist. They can smell an animal walking down a path. I'm telling you - bionic men! DON'T be that awkward person (not me) trying to zoom in if he puts the locust in an unfortunate location. Get a full shot and just be glad you get to see the gigantic insect.
DO: Keep your eyes open. DON'T be surprised to find yourself surrounded by monkeys, watching a large group of agouti run/hunt, a tapir foraging, or thousands of red eye tree frogs making their way back up to the top of the canopy.
DO: Go scuba diving. Just do it. It's incredible to be swimming by a sea turtle, a shark, an octopus, a ray, schools of fish, lobster, and so many more things. DON'T forget that you can breath underwater and that as awkward as closeups can be, it is fun for other people to laugh at. Thank you to Ivan for documenting my first dives and not making me wear the wetsuit!
Most importantly, DO go with a good friend. Go with someone who will push you to try new things like diving and ziplining, go hiking with you, fly the hopper plan, walk all over the area with you, take cute pictures with you, and laugh. DON'T go with someone who is afraid of a week of being natural and helping you remember that it is a very good thing once in a while.
Thanks for a great week, Mandie! You DO make my life so much fun and I DON'T think I can wait to do it again.