Costa Rica Caribbean trip report--February 2018

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Mar 27th, 2018, 12:09 PM
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Costa Rica Caribbean trip report--February 2018

This past February, we took our 8th trip to Costa Rica, and embarrassingly enough our first trip to its Caribbean Coast. We had very high expectations going into this trip, and are happy to report that all of our expectations were exceeded. The basic itinerary was the first and last (9th) nights near San Jose, with three nights at a lodge near Tortuguero and 4 nights in a rented home near Playa Cocles in the South Caribbean in between.

The major points/recommendations:

Lodging:

Hotel Bougainvillea—a perfect choice to start of an itinerary to the Caribbean. Immaculately clean and maintained, good service, very close both the airport and the highway to the Caribbean, good food, lovely gardens, nice comfortable room and beds, all for a very reasonable price. We’ll be back.

Tortuga Lodge & Gardens—incredible service, location, food, everything here. Easily the most expensive place in the area, and we may not have spent the $$ here but for a couple of considerations (more on that later), but we felt we got our money’s worth here.

Geckoes Lodge—if you want rainforest immersion, this is the place. The beautiful houses here are almost completely open to the lush rainforest outside, with great hosts in Tom and Zoe who live on-site in case anything comes up.

Guides/tour operators:

Abel Bustamante—Abel is the man. Book him if you can possibly do so. Abel has some weird kind of voodoo ability to spot hard to see snakes, lizards, and frogs—in addition to being a very good bird guide. He’s also very good company which matters if you’re going to share the trails with someone for several hours.

Gecko Trails—very attentive, swift service. We used them only to find a rental car, but they stayed on top of things and helped smooth out a potential rough patch that was no fault of theirs. Would use them again.

Attractions—will get into them in more detail, but we’d recommend every place we saw—Ara Project, Jaguar Rescue Foundation, Manzanillo Refuge, Cahuita National Park, and of course Tortuguero National Park.

General miscellaneous: The Caribbean weather was about as rainy as we expected, but nowhere near as warm. If the temperature went above 28C/83F at any point during the trip, we didn’t notice it. Food and culture is notably different on the Caribe side, reggae music playing everywhere and the food was more Jamaican than traditionally Costa Rican.

Details (days 1 and 2 below, the rest to follow as I have time):

Day 1:

We began our trip in the wee hours of the morning when we took a red eye Avianca flight from JFK (New York City) to San Salvador, connecting there for a flight to San Jose. As we’ve discovered with other Avianca trips, their planes between San Salvador and other Central American cities are much nicer and newer than their planes between JFK and San Salvador. Not exactly sure why this is—there aren’t even movies to watch on the 5 hour flight but one gets the choice of dozens of movies for the 50 minute flight. But, we have no say in the matter. Everything goes smoothly (except for our sleep cycle), and soon enough we’re landing at the SJO airport. One of the big benefits of being on an early-arriving flight is that immigration, baggage claim, and customs go by very quickly, and within 30 minutes we’re outside where we meet the driver we booked through our hotel. Within about 30 minutes we arrive at Hotel Bougainvillea, in the northern suburbs near Heredia. What strikes us immediately about the Hotel, which also serves as a small conference center—is just how clean and well-maintained everything is. It’s not a brand new place—looks like several decades old by the architecture—but there isn’t a square centimeter anywhere that doesn’t look brand new and fresh. They have our room waiting for us (even though we’re there well in advance of normal check in time), and we take the opportunity to gaze out from our terrace onto their lovely botanical gardens and spy some colorful birds, settle in, and start reorganizing our bags(we're leaving some things behind since we'll be spending the last night here as well, and there’s a weight limit for luggage on the boat ride to Tortuguero). When we’re done with that, we head down to lunch at the hotel restaurant, have some good food while looking out at the front gardens, and then afterwards spend some time walking around in the botanical gardens at the back of the hotel, and I take the opportunity to get my first bird photos in. Before arriving we had considered taking an afternoon swimg, but it’s just a bit too chilly for that. We head back to the room for a pre-dinner nap (it’s already been a long day), then another enjoyable dinner, then to bed as we’re getting a fairly early start the next morning.

Day 2: We’re getting picked up at 7:40 am, but it’s my first full day in Costa Rica, and that means one thing—up and early to do some birding. I’m out in the gardens between 6:00 and 7:00 am doing the bird watching and photography thing (though the light is too weak to produce any good photos), then a quick breakfast, then we check out and get a claim ticket for the bag we’re leaving behind. The van is a little early, having already picked up people who were staying in San Jose itself, but no problems we’re on the road at 7:40.

Photos from both nights at Hotel Bougainvillea:

https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]


The van is from Costa Rica Expeditions, the tour agency that owns and operates the place we’ll be staying for the next three nights, the Tortuga Lodge. The van is very comfortable, and in addition to the driver there is a guide to answer questions and explain what we’re seeing on the ground portion of our trip. We make periodic stops for views, and for restroom breaks along the way. It’s a very relaxed drive, partially because there’s no chance of the boat leaving without us.

Eventually we get to the main jumping off point for Tortuguero boat transfers, or as I call it “Tourist Dunkirk.” There’s a big parking lot full of giant tour buses—about half of which are the ornately painted buses for the Turtle Beach Lodge. There’s also an open air building with basic snack bars, ticket sales, and bathrooms, which people had to pay to use. There were also tourists, lots and lots of tourists. Apparently this is one of the big times when all of the lodges’ proprietary transfer boats depart. Along the small stretch of sandy beach alongside the river’s edge, there are about a dozen boats, each of which has about 20-30 people lined up in front of it waiting to board (as I said, Tourist Dunkirk).

The Tortuga Lodge boat arrives, its departing passengers walk up the beach, and we (and another van full of people coming from the Monteverde Lodge (also owned by Costa Rica Expeditions) begin boarding. It’s a very full boat, and they have to redistribute passengers and bags a few times until its properly balanced for the trip through some fairly shallow waters. We take the Rio Suerte (Lucky River) and it’s a lovely trip until it starts raining, hard. Fortunately, our guide on the boat (Angelo) has anticipated this and lowered the side panels on our boat to keep us dry. The boat starts going faster since we’re not doing any sightseeing. Along the way we pass a boat full of Turtle Beach Lodge guests, whose boats doesn’t have side panels, so they’re sitting there in ponchos getting rained on while seeking some shelter under a tree. I guess after the money they spent painting those buses, there wasn’t any money left over for side panels. We pass an uncovered boat full of luggage from either a lodge or a shuttle service. Glad we didn’t go that route, those bags are getting soaked.

We eventually go past the town of Tortuguero and about 10 minutes later we arrive at the lodge. We get escorted to the reception area for a brief orientation, along with a welcome drink. After that, we head to lunch for the first meal of our stay. Yum yum. The food here is really, really good. But it’s also a bit on the fancy side, which may not work for anyone—but they’re very accommodating so if someone wants a dish prepared a certain way, without certain ingredients, there’s no problem. We’re on the full meal plan so we’re not affected by the pricing, but those prices are mighty high if you aren’t. We settle in our rustic looking but actually very comfortable and modern room , and chill in some hammocks until the free afternoon tour of the lodge gardens (generally the cleared area around the rooms and other buildings). We enjoy some very good sightings, including sloths, toucans, kingfishers, manakins, and best of all, Great Green Macaws. After that it’s time for some more relaxation during an afternoon shower, followed by another delicious dinner, followed by bed time (we have a relatively full day scheduled for tomorrow). We go to sleep listening to a chorus of frogs and geckos.

Photos from the first afternoon on the Caribbean side (all at Tortuga Lodge, except for the hawk which was taken at La Pavona):

https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]
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Mar 27th, 2018, 02:01 PM
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I'm excited to read your report and check out your photos. We stayed at the Tortuga Lodge and loved it! The food and service were fantastic. When we boated in, we were the only people on the boat, and they surprised us with a picnic. It was so cool. They pulled the boat over and took out all this food, and we ate on the side of the river.
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Mar 27th, 2018, 02:01 PM
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Thank you for reporting back. Looking forward to more.
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Mar 27th, 2018, 02:03 PM
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Oh my gosh were you dying when you saw the macaws? Your pics are amazing. I love the toucan photos; they almost look like you could reach out and touch them.
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Mar 27th, 2018, 06:19 PM
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We were pretty excited when we saw the first pair. The manager explained that they are fairly common there now.

Seeing 10 flying like that--with their loud rawwwwwwks--just stunned us.
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Mar 28th, 2018, 06:32 AM
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Amazing!
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Mar 28th, 2018, 11:40 AM
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Day 3: The day starts at 6:00 with the free nature tour of the gardens. Our guide Willis (he was also the guide from yesterday’s afternoon tour) helps us spot some pretty cool birds and monkeys in the hour or so the tour lasts, and then it’s time for a quick breakfast before our 7:30 am boat tour of the national park. As we start, there’s absolutely not a single cloud in the sky, which means some very intense sunlight. Everyone puts on hats and sunscreen, and our fairly small but crowded boat starts cruising the shore of the lagoon on its way to the national park entrance (Apparently there are only set times when it’s okay to enter the park—the two morning slots are 6:30 am and 8:30 am). T

The main star of the pre-national park show is an outrageously casual three-toed sloth, who at one point hangs upside and folds his arms behind his head like he’s lying in a hammock. We also see a Little Blue Heron trying to eat an absurdly large crustacean as well as a pair of Keel-billed Toucans grooming each other. As we head to the park, our guide (again Angelo) asks everyone if they have anything they want to see. Of course I have an immediate answer—“Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher!”—a very hard to see bird even where it occurs, and that occurs in only a few places in Central AmericaTortuguero being one of them. Angelo tries to be optimistic in the face of this ambitious request “we do see them here sometimes.” That’s naturalist guidespeak for saying “I’ll do my best, but don’t hold your breath.” Right away inside the park we see what looks like a raptor gliding across the river and crashing into the brush behind us. It’s actually a Great Currasow—I didn’t even know they fly. Anyhow we start going down a really narrow channel seeing all kinds of stuff up close like a parrot snake (snake (having a small boat may not be uber-comfortable, but allows us to enter some very tight spaces larger boats couldn’t access). At one point as we’re in a particularly narrow channel we hear a chip-chip-chip call coming from behind the boat that immediately gets Angelo’s attention. And yep, a small bird whizzes past the boat—a green and rufous bird. And then another—it’s a male and female pair. No opportunity for photos, but maybe we’ll catch them later.And sure enough we do. After going a while further down stream we turn around and head back, we run into both kingfishers as they’re flitting around in the dense tangle of vegetation on opposite sides of the stream. Angelo and the boat captain display some impressive teamwork in skill in allowing me to get a clean line of sight to take photos of both (light is terrible but oh well). We wind our way back out, and get some great looks at a Spectacled Cayman and American Crocodile before heading back to the lodge.

Lunch is delicious, and our afternoon is uneventful since it pretty much rains all afternoon. We’re a bit apprehensive since we have a night hike scheduled and we’ve heard the trails can be muddy. But, Norton our guide greets us at the appropriate time and we’re joined by a couple of reptile enthusiasts (“herps” is the slang term). Everyone puts on rubber boots supplied by the lodge, and we head off into the trails.

At the beginning, it’s very humid, and the trails are pretty muddy—at one point my boot gets completely stuck in the mud. Norton recommends to just keep moving so that the boots don’t have time to sink into the mud. Okay. Anyhow, gotta be honest, it’s not a terribly enjoyable night out, in addition to the mud and the humidity, bugs are buzzing around our headlamps if we stop for more than a few minutes. About 30 minutes into the hike, as we’re passing a tree on our left with large buttress roots, we are advised by those towards the front of our group that “guys, there’s a really big Fer-de-Lance on the lefthand side of the trail.”

Okay. Time for everyone to step carefully and calm their nerves and brace for a spectacular sight. My wife walks ahead of me (I’m bringing up the rear), and as she walks around the tree (keeping very much to the right) she exclaims “holy spit.” (you get the idea). I soon join her, but I can’t see the snake. She points her headlamp at the ground by the tree and points. “Oh duck. Oh my god. Look at that ducking thing. It’s ducking huge” I believe were my exact words (you get the idea). In the light from my wife’s lamp, about 10 feet away, is a coiled up Fer-de-Lance, I would estimate 2 meters long, thicker than my wrists, with a head the size of a coffee mug, STARING STRAIGHT AT ME. Despite the fact that everyone had time to brace themselves for seeing this monster, everyone’s gotten a big dose of adrenaline and are cursing up a blue streak. It’s like meeting the bogeyman (or woman, since this is definitely a female), or the devil, or whatever scary story parents tell their children at night. More than a month later, here in New York, I’m still afraid of that snake.

The herp enthusiasts start taking photos with a camera they brought along. I think about getting my phone out of its plastic bag to take a photo, but then it starts raining. Slippery, muddy ground, rain, and the most feared snake in the Western Hemisphere—one with a reputation for unpredictability and aggression and lightning fast strikes— being just over one body length away convince me to keep on moving and let them take the photos. Which they do for several more minutes while we walk ahead. The walk only lasts about another 45 minutes to an hour, as the walking in mud gets exhausting, and everyone has gotten pretty well soaked. We see a two-toed sloth on the way back (it was using a ‘bridge’ built to help them cross the electrical line clearing without hurting themselves). When we get back to where we drop off the rubber boots, we see there’s snacks and a cooler full of soda, wine and beer waiting for us. Normally I don’t believe in pre-dinner snacks, but we so needed that. We all partake and share stories from past trips, and generally decompress. After that, we head back to our room, take warm showers, and then head down for dinner and then bed. We have a 6:00 am sunrise boat tour the next morning, and we’re also exhausted.

Photos from the morning boat tour:

https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]
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Mar 28th, 2018, 04:59 PM
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Forgot to post the photos from the 6:00 am tour with Willis-here they are:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/72157664310934647
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Mar 29th, 2018, 06:30 AM
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Wow good sightings and great photos. We've only seen a fer de lance once, but it was right by the trail. Man do they look mean! The parrot snake photo is gorgeous!
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Mar 29th, 2018, 07:59 AM
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We've been on two night hikes on the Caribbean slope--Tortuguero and in the Sarapiqui area. Both times we've encountered a Terciopelo. The one in Sarapiqui was a baby not more than a foot long and pencil thin. It charged us after our guide put it back on the ground (he was using a snake stick to hold it). And then we encountered big mama last month.

We're not going to be doing another night hike on the Caribe side for a while.

That parrot snake was very long--its body went way back into a tangle of vines. They are really stunning.
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Mar 29th, 2018, 02:38 PM
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Day 4:

We wake up around 5:30 to get ready for our sunrise boating tour, and uh oh it’s raining. Hard. I walk down a little early so I can grab some coffee at the station where they keep coffee and snacks for guests. The rain lets up about 6:15, and we decide to go forward with the sunrise tour (we still have to do the check in at the national park before 6:30) with our guide Priscilla. Instead of sunscreen, this time we’re bringing a plastic bag for the camera and the lodge provides heavy ponchos for us. We make it in there on time, and we see some wildlife, but most are still waiting for the next round of rain to hit. And about 30 minutes into the boat ride, it starts pouring again and we all put ponchos on and hunker down as the boat winds its way down a narrow channel. Eventually the rain subsides, and it gets a bit warmer, and the sounds of life begin to ring through the forest. We see the usual howler monkeys and some pretty cool birds, including a Laughing Falcon that looks very punk rock after the rain, and a Prothonotary Warbler eating a worm. It is early …
Photos from morning tour:

https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157693327284244

We get back to the lodge around 9:00 and have breakfast, and spend the rest of the morning enjoying the swimming pool, as it’s started to warm up. Then lunch, then time for our afternoon boat tour.
Once again Priscilla is our guide, and once again we have some time before we can actually enter the national park, and we take full advantage. First a swimming Anhinga pokes her head out of the water, then we cruise by the opposite side of the river, and hear manakin noises and manage to get pretty good looks at a male White-Collared Manakin. And an Osprey. And some really good looks at Great Green Macaws. For all the awful weather, the weather in the afternoon is perfect and everything is almost blissfully peaceful. There’s plenty of wildlife too, including our first White-faced Capuchin Monkeys of the trip—an entire troop of them are moving through a remote canal area and a few pause to check out the big monkeys in the boat.

https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157693327622924

As our last day in Tortuguero comes to a close, we can’t help but be extremely satisfied. This was definitely the splurge part of our trip—this was the only place that had a swimming pool (common) and fairly soft mattresses (not common) in Tortuguero that also provided top shelf wildlife viewing and tours (we would not have seen a lot of what we saw with a larger group in a bigger boat). We probably could have stayed an extra day, but 3 nights was about right. We did spend a lot of time in boats—three separate boat tours—but found that different times of day really did provide different experiences. For those who do have the good fortune of staying at Tortuga Lodge, I’d recommend trying to do the early morning and afternoon tours—they’re not part of the standard packages, so they are a lot less crowded (they wound up being private tours for us) and they’re not redundant of the standard morning tour (which was obviously quite excellent).
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Apr 3rd, 2018, 10:38 AM
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Day 5:

It’s a beautiful morning, and our last morning goes smoothly (except for a very loud and close Keel-billed Toucan that remains out of sight until we’re on the boat—grrrr). Willis is our guide for the ride back to La Pavona, and we see again some great wildlife on the way, including a crocodile, two-toed sloth and a Great Currasow. La Pavona is once again busy, but not quite as bad, as when we arrived. Soon enough we’re in a van headed to our next stop, near Puerto Viejo.
As it turns out, La Pavona is a very long drive from Puerto Viejo, especially when truck traffic going into Limon is heavy. It takes us around 4 hours or so of road time to finally arrive at our place of lodging for the next four nights, Geckoes Lodge. There are lots of beautiful photos of this place, but they really don’t do it justice. We’ve rented the two-bedroom house on their propert, even though it’s just the two of us (another couple had planned on joining us, and this house is bonkers good for observing birds). The main living areas are wide open to the outdoors—only the bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms are walled off by the outside, and even then they have lots of windows. At one point during our stay a Long-billed Hermit (a large hummingbird) flew in from the kitchen window and over by us in the living room/veranda before exiting near the door to the house. During the stay here I observed over 50 species of birds just from the veranda--including some real rarities. One day there was a Drab Tree Frog in one of the hammocks, and we were able to see a three-toed sloth every day from the veranda.

Photos from our four nights at Geckoes:


https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157691976423882

Our gracious host Tom arrives and helps us get settled into the house, even helping with our luggage. He explains some basic safety issues and gives us a tour of the house to help us get settled. A little bit later our other host (and Tom's wife) Zoe stops by with their dog to greet us. We relax in the hammocks for about an hour waiting for our rental car to be delivered. And we wait, and wait. Finally we get in touch with the office, and they explain they need to pick us up and take us to the office in town to pick up the car, fill out paperwork etc. Okay, we gather some things, including bags for our grocery shopping run, and head into town. We get the car taken care of, manage to squeeze ourselves into Café Puerto Viejo, a lovely Italian restaurant (even though it’s Valentine’s day and they have a bunch of reservations). We load up on groceries (mainly breakfast items, snacks and beverages) at the Mega Super grocery store, then drive back home and settle in for the night as we get ready for a very busy day tomorrow. There’s a very loud frog or toad right near the house’s plunge pool outside our bedroom window—sounds like a bullfrog trying to speak English—but we still fall asleep with ease.

Day 6:

We’re up really early for our full day of tours—including a half-day with the excellent guide, and local institution, Abel Bustamante. We park our car at his home (underneath a giant golden orb spider, as I discovered when we had to get back in) and start our day with a bird hike on what’s known colloquially as the RECOPE road. The weather is not fantastic—cloudy and cool—but we see some great things in about 3 hours, including a pair of Black-cheeked Woodpeckers dive-bombing a Red-lored Parrot that had gotten too close to their nest, a few poison dart frogs, and the usual monkeys, sloths and a few colorful birds. At one point, he points us at a tree about 25-30 feet away. He tells us to walk over and tell us when we see what he sees. We stare and scrutinize from up close for several minutes before admitting defeat. He walks over and gently brushes one of the vines hanging down from the tree. Except the vine starts moving on its own—it’s a vine snake that’s brilliantly camouflouged. Even if we hadn't seen anything, it would have been enjoyable just to spend time with Abel in the beautiful forest that he so clearly loves.


After walking the RECOPE road, we drive to the Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge for a couple of hours. Along with the scenic beauty, we see a lot of cool stuff here that Abel spotted somehow—two different yellow Eyelash Pit Vipers, multiple frogs, a yellow-headed gecko, manakins, toucans and even a Crested Guan. But the highlight was probably a Helmeted Iguana that we saw change color—it was brown when we saw it from behind so it would blend in with the reed it was clinging to. But when it sensed us moving to its side, it changed to green to blend in with the leaves behind it.

After we’re done in Manzanillo, we stop by the local beachside restaurant the Cool and Calm Café for some really yummy BBQ chicken and chill to some reggae music. Andy is the guy manning the grill, and he is really, really good at it. After lunch, we drop Abel off and then head up to our last stop of the day—the Ara Project. This is a great program that breeds and raises Great Green Macaws for reintroduction. The tour allows visitors to see (and hear—there were constant rawwwkkkk noises during our visit) these birds a lot closer than would otherwise be possible in the wild, and to get a private tour of the program from one of its volunteers. And, the price of admission helps fund their ongoing efforts to reintroduce the macaw into this part of its former, range from where it’s been extirpated over the past 100 years.

Dinner that night is at the KoKi beach bar and restaurant on the main drag in Puerto Viejo. It’s really a cool place, kind of South Beach-like in its appearance, with a very good menu and food, and relaxed vibe. We didn’t see its resident sloth, but we’re seeing tons of sloths on this trip anyways.Then we head back home and turn in early, as we have another early morning scheduled with Abel—this time for Cahuita National Park.

Photos from RECOPE and Manzanillo:


https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157691757835702

Last edited by RAC; Apr 3rd, 2018 at 10:42 AM.
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Apr 3rd, 2018, 02:18 PM
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Beautiful photos. I'm not a snake lover, but I have to say the yellow pit viper is gorgeous.
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Apr 4th, 2018, 10:16 AM
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Thanks for taking us through your adventures. As a travel agent I am always looking for the best experiences for my clients.
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Apr 6th, 2018, 04:47 AM
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Beautiful photos! You saw some great birds.
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Apr 6th, 2018, 07:48 AM
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Thank you, and yes I did!
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Apr 9th, 2018, 09:41 AM
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Day 7:We’re up a bit later than the previous day, but we’re still up in time to meet Abel right where the road to Geckoes (Calle Margarita) meets the main coastal road and head off to Cahuita for a hike.Or, at least two of us are. Just as we pull into the main parking area, it starts raining. Hard. My wife—who was a very good trooper the previous day of long hikes, some in the rain—has finally reached her breaking point. “You guys go ahead, I’ll just hang out here.” Abel and I head off in the downpour with ourselves and our equipment under protection against the rain. It continues for a solid 30 minutes as we trudge down the beach path. Eventually it slows down enough for a beautiful male Prothonotary Warbler to emerge along with his associates a male and female Black-crowned Antshrike. So that’s definitely a sign things are picking up.

Even better, after I had gone off the path to, ahem, answer nature’s call (we’re the only ones who went out in the rain), I spot a Chestnut-backed Antbird. I finish up, take some photos of the bird, and rejoin Abel. We see a ton of sloths—by my count 8 two-toed and 2 three-toed--along with howler and white-faced monkeys. Abel goes out of his way to help people we encounter on the trail spot sloths, and the favor gets repaid as these same folks help us spot a black hawk and a Squirrel Cuckoo. Eventually we see another of those yellow Eyelash Vipers, and inside a covered walkway with benches we discover a surprisingly large pile of dung left as a present by a white-faced monkey on one of the benches.

We make our way back (about two hours going out and about 90 minutes coming back) and meet up with my wife, who’s feeling a little bad about missing out on the hike. But, that’s the thing with the weather—it could have rained for hours and then she’d have been feeling pretty smart. We part ways with Abel and my wife and I have lunch at the restaurant right near the park entrance by the beach. While doing so, we notice some birders looking at a spot where earlier Abel and I had unsuccessfully looked for my wife’s favorite bird, the Boat-billed Heron. I walk over and ask them if they’ve seen anything interesting, and they reveal that just about 50 meters away they had seen one perched on a branch over a stream. Sure enough, it’s there and I have my wife join me (our food had already been served—but birds come first!).

After lunch, we head back to Geckoes for some down time. We try the plunge pool there, but with all of the cool, rainy weather that pool just isn’t warm enough. I do some porch birding and spot a bird that somewhat resembles the very common Palm Tanager, but seems slightly different in its build and posture. After I got back to the USA, I blew the photos up and it turns out to be a bird that’s very rare and hard to see, let alone photograph, in Costa Rica—the Sulphur-rumped Tanager, a bird usually seen only in Panama.

At about 4:30 I lie down for a brief nap before dinner. Except I never get out of bed—I completely crash from the long hikes of the two previous days. My wife helps herself to the leftover pizza we had brought home from our first night in the area and some of the other groceries we had bought, so it’s all good. We have a pretty relaxed day ahead of us for tomorrow, so I figure to be up early to explore the grounds if weather permits.

Photos from Cahuita:

https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]
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Apr 9th, 2018, 09:51 AM
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Yay more photos! Glad your wife got to see her heron.
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Apr 9th, 2018, 10:06 AM
  #19
RAC
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For some reason, those herons are much harder to see on the Caribbean side. On the Pacific, we saw a whole tree full of them in Carara NP.
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Apr 9th, 2018, 06:20 PM
  #20
 
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Great photos! Great birds!
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