Franzetti’s Creative Adventures; To Costa Rica and Back - pt. 1 | Yampu Tours

Custom Travel Experiences Since 1998

The benefits of travel, experiencing the world first hand, is unmeasurable as great positivity stems from seeing the world with one’s own eyes. Paul and Joe Franzetti, a dynamic father-son duo and Yampu Travelers, have managed to bring together their talents and inspiration from their world travels to not only release creative energy, but to inspire others and benefit those in need simultaneously.

After a spontaneous visit to a hospital for patients suffering from Hansen’s Disease (once known as leprosy) during a trip to Ecuador, Paul and Joe decided to launch a purposeful mission to combine their passion for art and wildlife to benefit those very patients. The project has taken these two all over the world to photograph the wildlife and landscape of far off lands to later become works of fine art. Detailed oil paintings and charcoal sketches transpire, becoming a part of a stunning art calendar that is sold with all profits being donated to the hospital they had visited, The Damien House.


2018TravelsInArtFranzettiFranzetti and Son’s latest works – courtesy of

Yampu recently had the honor of talking with Paul about his Yampu adventures with his son in Costa Rica in July of 2016;

“I kept a small journal, about 35 pages, recording the trip according to whatever I thought was worth writing about, often my feelings or ideas that presented themselves as the days passed. Sometimes I wrote on the spot, sometimes at the end of the day.”

Paul’s detailed journal entries bring readers in on the exciting experiences he and his son had during their trip in which they graciously shared excerpts from! Read more on the duo’s stimulating encounters below with our first installment of Franzetti’s Creative Adventures; To Costa Rica and Back.

A warning to the squeamish from Yampu Co-Founder, Monica Irauzqui – Jim Stafford’s  “I Hate Spiders and Snakes” may come to mind… 


Corcovado Jungle Inlet Costa Rica 2019 - 1st GlanceOne of Paul’s most recent Costa Rica paintings, Corcovado Jungle Inlet – Courtesy of Paul and Joe Franzetti 

Friday, July 1st At Buena Vista

One look at the lush greenery abutting the Caribbean, birds by the countless thousands in this hillside resort, Buena Vista, attests to the truth, just in the natural world. Especially helpful are these yearly excursions into a kind of loneliness; however beautiful the locale; however comfortable the local amenities ; however many or few the family members traveling along are.

Sergio, our driver took us from the airport to Manuel Antonio National Park, with a stop on a water ride to see a few crocs. The surprise, the small river [Tarcoles] abutted by mango trees flushed out into the Caribbean Sea.

Saturday, July 2 Manuel Antonio National Park

Junior fer de lance was waiting”… There is no anti-venom—just thirty minutes to “the sleep that outlasts love.”

junior fer de lanceJunior fer de Lance – Courtesy of Paul Franzetti

A long walk in the National Park—and some arrow poison frogs; up close monkeys—capuchins; a junior fer de lance, curled under the bench,. Had the guide not pointed it out (and how they see stuff like this mystifies me) we could have been bitten. They are recklessly aggressive; don’t know how much venom to inject and overdo it. There is no anti-venom—just thirty minutes to “the sleep that outlasts love.” The bocoraca, so named for its propensity to hang, midway in the trees near where a human passing by will be a pleasing target; the snake darts out, bites the cheek and face near the mouth; for no apparent reason except an ornery aggressiveness.

The fer de lance, however, was the more lethal of the two we encountered.

“How fast?” I asked our guide.
“Like a cat pouncing.”

So when a few people came to the end of this short trail where the waterfall lay beyond the small wooden bench and fence, and one crouched near the snake to take its graduation photo, our guide told him politely to move away. The tourist demurred as he took his sweet time.

I studied the Death-bringer’s classic glass-eyed stare, curled like any brown leaf, and I felt a metaphor coming on. (By the way, the day was humid and I was soaked with perspiration. ) Nothing happened. We left, our guide cautioning other guides with groups, as they approached that little wooden bench, beneath which, Junior fer de lance was waiting.

AUG-Playa Captivo Costa Rica - FranzettiPlaya Captivo Costa Rica – Courtesy of Joe Franzetti

At Playa Cativo

Drive of 4 Hours to Southern Costa Rica. Boat ride to Playa Cativo, an island retreat fit to house royalty. I felt like the President of Costa Rica.

“The jungle at night is deeply dark and we were grateful for the night lights given us by Allen, not just to observe this little theatre of jungle movies, but also for the spiritual insight.

Yet, service and hospitality notwithstanding, the night walk with Allen, our young guide, us three, mini flashlights in hand, looking in awe at the jungle life up close.

The black and white owl that called, and we came only to see it suddenly turn towards a large flying moth, or bug of some sort, pursue it briefly, all in a graceful ballet movement of wings and talons, as it carried the living meal back into the branches and consumed it. And the tropical rainforest chirped on, its symphony of life like the musicians to the baton wielded by this nightly horror show of death and dining. A snake stealthily glided, looking for a frog; spiders with three-layer webs, the sticky middle layer for prey of a consumable size—it wouldn’t do to catch larger creatures.

The jungle at night is deeply dark and we were grateful for the night lights given us by Allen, not just to observe this little theatre of jungle movies, but also for the spiritual insight. For, for all its paradisal affect, a closer inspection at night reveals the soul’s need for light.

“ …stroll across this minefield of mandibles, having a snowball’s chance in hell of making it through this labyrinth of horror.”

Franzetti SlothSloth Friend – Courtesy of Paul Franzetti

The most perduring image of this Jungle Night Walk is this: on the lawn we walked on, shining our little flashlights on the grass. Allen told us to hold our little light up to our faces, next to our eye. What was not apparent until that moment was this: the night sky seemed to have become our grassy meadow. The grass was full of small points of light like crystals, creating an effect of the night’s galaxies.

“The eyes of spiders, “ the Guide informed us.
Metaphors straight ahead: spreading out like an unfurling carpet of incandescent beads—each a spider, thousands in such a small swathe of ground. A field of gleams. But not dreams. I imagined myself a tiny bug ready for a stroll across this minefield of mandibles, having a snowball’s chance in hell of making it through this labyrinth of horror.

From my human coign of vantage, being a large human, the spiders held no horror. But were I a tiny bug—gone, clutched, snatched up, injected, paralyzed, taken as a living food for the spider’s brood—The little, light held (symbolically) at eye level, alone revealed the truth about the Jungle. The World is the Jungle, the brilliant lights are false. A foolish assumption of safety and the Enemy triumphs.

Learn more about the Franzettis, their travels, works, and services by visiting their website! While perusing the site, look into purchasing this year’s enthralling calendar to brighten your desk with sites of other lands and to help benefit patients of The Damien House!

Franzettis in Costa RicaPaul (left) and Joe (right) – Courtesy of Paul Franzetti

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One thought on “Franzetti’s Creative Adventures; To Costa Rica and Back – pt. 1

  1. Congrats Yampu! You picked a terrific pair to showcase. I love these guys and have been friends with the Franzettis for a long time. Their travels are epic and dedication to The Damien House hospital is inspiring. Thanks for sharing!!

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