There is nothing like looking up a review of a resort online and seeing a photo of a tarantula on the pillow of the exact room you’re supposed to be sleeping in the next day.
Nonetheless, I packed my bags and gear up and ventured off to meet up with a dozen New College of Florida students to photograph them studying on Cayos Cochinos in the Honduras.
A few hours of sketchy taxi rides on land and sea later, I arrived on the island on what seems like a place Survivor would be filmed — and was actually being filmed nearby.
I unpacked all my gear, grabbed my cameras and met the staff at the wonderful Turtle Bay Resort. They gave me safety tips while snorkeling around the beautiful coral reefs and clear blue waters right off the docks.
The island chef — who looked like a Captain Jack Sparrow stunt double — pulled me aside excitedly to tell me to look out for the “house spider” and that I should be careful not to roll over on it while sleeping. This being the tarantula in that photo.
Every day on the island, I had an amazing time with the New College students, making photos of their time studying coral on the island.
Every night I spent in two-hour intervals waking up and playing with the hand-size spiders on the ceiling trying to get them to move from above my head with my iPhone light. All the while hearing snakes, lizards and other animals moving around my screened-in room.
That all comes with staying at a true eco resort on a private island — albeit one with wifi and beautiful views — making it worth the spiders.