Arenal and Drive Back To San Jose

Arenal and Drive Back To San Jose

OrpendolaThe rain didn’t stop for countless hours. Our last day in Santa Clara we only had one goal: to hike to the waterfall and back. Hours we sat inside watching it pour. With only an hour of light left, the rain stopped enough that we made the hike. We heard Howler monkeys making their aggressive moans as the sun was going down. We started tracking them away from the waterfall toward the river. Back again to the waterfall, we spotted a family of five in the trees.

The next day we zip-lined in the canopy at Arenal in La Fortuna. A terrifying experience doing a Tarzan swing half-way through a series of 13 zip lines descending the mountain.

Afterward, we soothed our nerves at Hotel El Silencio. Birds abounded and I finally got a look at Montezuma’s Oropendola.

Driving back to the airport through San Ramone, we stopped at a town festival. A rainbow followed us all the way to our last stop, where we had one more surprise, palm trees full of screeching parrots.

at the terminus  —

free-falling hoots

like Howler monkeys

 

 

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/108949074@N05/sets/72157648625354424/

Santa Clara Night Walk

Santa Clara Night Walk

Red eyed Tree FrogThe Tree Houses Hotel grounds were abundant with wildlife. The biodiversity here matched more of the imagined essence of Costa Rica: rain, frogs, sloths, monkeys, toucans, it seemed like it was all here. That night we were guided by Rolando, a mustached grounds-keeper, around the acreage. I was instantly overjoyed to see a Red-eyed Tree Frog, something I had hoped to see, I saw them many times that night. Sloths climbed about the power lines, eating leaves and seemingly clumsily groped for hand holds. Rolando walked us along the narrow paved road while sporty cars driven by locals zoomed precariously close to us around the bends. He came to a side road along a fence. Rolando informed us that we needed to turn off our flashlights. When we were all gathered, he turned on the lights and showed us a swamp filled with thousands of cattle egrets and alligator eyes along the banks.

With six tourists —

A frog he hasn’t seen

in five years

 

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/108949074@N05/sets/72157650510081538/

Road to La Fortuna

Road to La Fortuna

Brown-throated Three toed slothOur fourth day in Monteverde, we opted to do another night tour with Rafa. He had a genuine excitement about nature that was compelling. This night it was just Jen, Rafa and I. We were able to go slower at each spotting and enjoy the tiniest of insects or plant or whatever caught our eye. The following morning ended our time in Monteverde. We were picked-up for a drive across the Tilaran Corderilla mountains down to Lake Arenal. The drive was pastoral. Rolling mountains in the mist descended into valleys cut with small streams where cattle drank. Birds flew around the skies and small farms dotted the entire circuit. Once at Lake Arenal, we boarded a boat which took us and 30 others to the southeast corner of the lake where we were once more picked up by ground transportation to head into La Fortuna. Our driver dropped everyone else off, including shuttling one other couple into a cab in the middle of the road so he could expedite us to our next stay at Tree Houses Hotel in Santa Clara a little further away from the fairly touristy town of La Fortuna. Along the way we stopped at Neptune’s Hammocks to shop for cat hammocks (they didn’t have any made). Our driver pointed out several toucan and I got some of my best photos with his help. That evening on the hotel grounds, I was directed to a sloth wandering among the upper branches of a tree near our tree house.

smiles in the canopy –

strange creatures

released from time

 

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/108949074@N05/sets/72157650483162697/

Second Night In Monteverde

Second Night In Monteverde

Keel-billed ToucanOn the second night in Monteverde, we took a night hike in Curi Cancha with Rafa. There were seven of us total. We saw lots of insects, birds and other interesting things in the forest. At one point, Rafa had us line up, put one hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us, turn off the flashlights and hike for several minutes in the complete dark. The following morning, we hiked with a different guide, Koky, through the Skywalk Park, just up the road from the B&B. While much less activity was present there, the series of bridges that connected over the forest canopy made for a very pleasant hike. In the afternoon, we heard toucans calling outside our tree house. I was lucky and one landed on a branch right where I had my camera directed. It flew over the tree house and I tracked it across the road where it met up with a second one. It was engaged in a form of communication that combined calls with gestures with its beak. In one photo the toucan can be seen pointing its beak straight into air as part of this display.

stinger in my foot –

a chance for awe

to come forth

 

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/108949074@N05/sets/72157650887022585/

Haibun and other writing of Ian Felton