There is nothing quite like a week away from my Costa Rican treehouse in the jungle to remind me how close to nature I really live. I saw a few bugs inside my parent’s condo in the States, but that’s only because I opened the doors to let fresh air in when no one was looking. I was busted as soon as my folks felt the humidity dampen their carefully conditioned inside air.

I’m used to the humidity now. It’s comforting. Maybe I’m part frog. My wood and tin cabin in the tiny town near Braulio Carrillo rainforest is nothing but a glorified shack on stilts surrounded by a seemingly never-ending variety of wildlife which makes its home inside my house as well as outside. I deal with it. It feels like a small price to pay to be surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty and fresh air. …except for maybe the time the spider bit my eyelid. That sucked.

Still, the spiders eat the ugly bugs, so they are alright in my book. More than alright – in 11 months, I have only seen three cockroaches crawl through my casa. I vividly remember each occurrence. I loathe cockroaches. Only three – that’s amazing. I leave the doors wide open all day and during the day or night they could crawl inside through any one of the many cavernous cracks, but they don’t. Viva las arañas! …living in the jungle is making me weird…er.

This recent trip to a sterile US environment has made me hyper-aware of the creatures sharing the space I call home. Inspired by this hyper-awareness, I have snapped some shots of the Costa Rican critters that have crept through my casa. This photo assignment wasn’t easy, because I was having to get up every five minutes to try and take a photo before the thing scurried away. I did manage to capture a few of my slower friends, even if it was after they passed through my house and I chased them into the yard…

lizard in a sink in the mountain rainforest of costa rica

This lizard appeared in the laundry sink the other day. My neighbor was calling it an iguana, but that doesn’t look like any iguana I’ve ever seen! I snapped some photos of him before he tried to bite my camera, then I decided it was probably time to take him out of the sink.

a spider living in my house in the rainforest

This spider thinks he is going to make a web in the middle of the wall. Mmmm No, not gonna happen. He has to stick to the cracks and corners. I have to draw the line somewhere!

scary bug in my water

This scary bug deserves the spider web because he tried to drink my water. What is it? Edit: Question answered – it’s an earwig!

red bugs only move together

These amazing red and orange bugs move together in pairs, like a perfectly choreographed dance. There is a whole colony living in this power tool on the porch. Are they love bugs?

big red-eyed fly on my porch in costa rica

There are all sorts of different flying insects that come around that are so visually interesting. It feels like I hardly ever see the same one twice.

blue dragonfly on the porch of my treehouse in the rainforest

These beautiful bright blue dragonflies buzz around my back porch on a regular basis.

stick bug crawling on my red, green, and yellow door

Stick bugs are a front porch regularity.

blue, black and white butterfly on a red flower in the rainforest

Butterflies. Everywhere. I try to steer them away from the spider webs when they fly through and around my house.

Black, white, and red butterfly on a green leaf in the tropical rainforest

Most of the butterflies on my property are smaller and black like this one. Check it – there is a town initiative to plant butterfly attracting plants all along the roads. Next thing on the agenda is probably a unicorn farm.

bird sitting outside waiting to fly into my window

Stupid stupid stupid bird. You might recognize him from the 4am-8am daily attacks on my window. He and his tiny evil yellow-chested friend are in cahoots.

red and gray Costa Rican squirrel on red wood

I get fuzzy visitors, too. These squirrels regularly race over my roof and occasionally pass through my house. There are also dogs, cats, and monkeys of course.

goats eating grass in a field on the mountains of costa rica

Goats in the field next door. They obviously don’t come in my treehouse, but I can hear them all day. I would totally have a goat for a pet if I didn’t travel, they are hilarious.

goat standing on the side of the road in costa rica

This particular goat hangs out by my driveway. He is occasionally accompanied by a trumpet player. O.o

black bull in a field in costa rica

This is Tyrone. My neighbor takes him and his brother from the field and hitches them to one of those painted Costa Rican ox carts. Then they go prancing down the butterfly and hummingbird lined street, through the rainbow, and off to the unicorn farm.

When I think about my open-air house in the trees and everything that passes through or lives within it, I guess it means I have basically been camping up here in the rainforest for the past year. That’s awesome. But I have internet – does that make it glamping?