Selva Verde- Heart of the Rainforest

After spending last week in sunny Florida, where the temperatures were a balmy 80-85 degrees, I am finding these last few days of low 20s here in Massachusetts a little hard to bare. And so I am inspired to reflect on the final stop of our 2012 Costa Rican adventure.

Selva Verde is located in the central part of Costa Rica where you truly feel like you are in the deep jungle. We stayed at La Selva Lodge located beside the Sarapiqui River, and in our two nights there, were treated to more amazing wildlife.

Red-eyed tree frog at night

Red-eyed tree frog

A highlight for me were the frogs we encountered. Our first night, we were treated to several red-eyed tree frogs foraging among the vegetation around an artificial pond at the lodge. These frogs have become a symbol of sorts for rainforests, and to see one in the wild was spectacular.

Resting red-eyed tree frog

Resting red-eyed tree frog

Tree frog eggs hanging above the water

Tree frog eggs hanging above the water

In the morning, we were able to find one frog sleeping on a palm frond next to the pond, and also located an egg mass neatly attached to a leaf, dangling over the water that would eventually become the home of the tadpoles that emerged.

Green and black dart frog

Green and black dart frog

Further investigation of the lodge area revealed two types of poison dart frogs. It is truly remarkable to see these little jewels jumping free around the forest.

Strawberry dart frog, aka a blue jeans frog for its blue legs.

Strawberry dart frog, aka a blue jeans frog for its blue legs.

Of course, we couldn’t miss a boat trip down the Sarapiqui River, which yielded more incredible birds

Sungrebe

Sungrebe

Broad-billed mot mot

Broad-billed mot mot

and our only trip siting of a three-toed sloth!!

A three-toed sloth lounging in a tree

A three-toed sloth lounging in a tree

Arenal Volcano

Well here we are in the middle of yet another major winter storm so I will continue with my chronicles of our 8 day excursion to the beautiful country of Costa Rica back in March of 2012.

As part of our trip, we spent 3 days at the Arenal Observatory Lodge at the base of Arenal volcano.  This area is a popular destination in Costa Rica for the luxurious hot springs that surround the mountain, and for the natural spectacle of the living earth it can provide.  Though the volcano was not in an eruptive phase while we were there, it was still quite a sight to behold.

Coati - very curious and social animals!

Coati – very curious and social animals!

During our visit, we enjoyed lots more hiking and wildlife watching.  One of our favorites was the racoon-like mammal known as the coatimundi or coati.  We had glimpsed one at Villa Lapas, but were astonished and delighted by the close proximity we got at Arenal.

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We also got our only look at a wild snake at Arenal, a highlight for me, the reptile lover! While hiking to a breathtaking waterfall, a local guide pointed out a small eyelash pit viper, a highly venomous snake, curled up on a dead palm leaf only a couple of feet from the trail, and very close to the ground.  It was napping quietly, and we snapped some photos from a safe distance.

Female black howler monkey carrying her baby on her back.

Female black howler monkey with a baby on her back.

Arenal also gave us our best looks at black howler monkeys, including a troop with mothers and babies.  It was quite a treat!

Of course, we also saw an incredible variety of colorful birds and some gorgeous flowers as well.

Male green honey creeper.

Male green honey creeper.

Violet-headed hummingbird

Violet-headed hummingbird

One of many beautiful orchids in Costa Rica.

One of many beautiful orchids in Costa Rica.

The blooms of this stunning orchid lasted only a day or so, and I vividly remember watching one of the lodge workers pausing a moment to sniff its lovely fragrance as he went about his busy daily routine. Inspiring!

 

 

Stay tuned for the last stop on our trip to Costa Rica- Selva Verde, the heart of the rainforest!

Costa Rica Dreaming

A while back I promised more about some wonderful exotic vacations my family has been privileged to take over the last couple of years.  Today, I find myself housebound due to the latest “snowpocalypse” to hit Massachusetts, and dreaming of those lush, tropical places, so it seemed a perfect time to reflect on one of these incredible journies.

American crocodiles on the Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

American crocodiles on the Tarcoles River, Costa Rica

In March of 2012, we were treated to 8 days in the gorgeous country of Costa Rica.  Our first of three stops on this trip was to the mid-Pacific coast, near the Tarcoles River, famous for American crocodiles, where we stayed at Villa Lapas (home of macaws).

Scarlet macaw from the balcony of our room.

Scarlet macaw from the balcony of our room.

Blue-grey tanagers. One of my favorites!

Blue-grey tanagers. One of my favorites!

As avid wildlife watchers, we spent our time looking for the astounding diversity of birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and insects in the region.

A leaf-toed gecko in our open air shower.

A leaf-toed gecko in our open air shower.

An anhinga drying its wings along the river.

An anhinga drying its wings along the river.

Franklin weaves a grasshopper from a palm frond.

Franklin weaves a grasshopper from a palm frond.

We took a boat trip along parts of the river, and one day, woke at the crack of dawn to visit Carrara National Park with our dedicated bird guide Franklin.

A stunning Costa Rican breakfast!

A stunning Costa Rican breakfast!

We enjoyed an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables (the pineapple was my favorite), really good coffee, and tremendously warm, wonderful people during our stay at Villa Lapas.

Ranier making us fresh Costa Rican coffee.

Ranier making us fresh Costa Rican coffee.

Stay tuned for more Costa Rican adventures.  Next stop, Arenal volcano!