A taste of Costa Rica travel blog


It is interesting as we have travelled around that we have recognised faces from previous hotels or trips. At breakfast yesterday the Spanish couple that we met in Tortuguero strolled in. It was if we were old friends! And a lovely surprise.

The Belmar Hotel has a Swiss chalet look with all the balconys facing out across the rainforest and cloud forest. Which reminds me that we passed another hotel with its own separate chapel even more in the Swiss style, as the Swiss owner settled here many years ago. We also passed a sign for a German Bakery offering Bratwurst & Sauerkraut!!!

It is a beautiful sunrise, a little fresh and breezy which is relaxing after the humidity of the Tortuguero rainforest. Our itinerary was changed as the forest we were due to visit is not safe due to damage done by Storm Nate, We are off to the Children’s Cloud Forest instead or Bosque Eternos de lots Ninos. This 220 sq km reserve came about by the effort of a group of Swedish schoolchildren to save the rainforest which then became a global initiative by schoolchildren. It is the largest private reserve in the country.

As we set off it did start raining but once on the trail we have some protection from the trees. We met an American lady at the park lodge who is famous for writing a book on the plants of Costa Rica, Willow Zuchowski! Her next research trip is to Antarctica. Interesting lady!

Our group is smaller today due to one ankle injury and some general tiredness! I do not know how Victor spots some of the birds in the forest and the brown Agouti (a medium size rodent a bit like a large hamster) which is so well camouflaged. I certainly had trouble seeing it! Sadly we see quite a lot of evidence of Tropical Storm Nate - mud slips, paths collapsed and a couple of houses lost. Very hard but the Ticos seem very stoical and resilient. Just as well really.

Most interesting find today was a large group of about 80 caterpillars moving as one sliding over each other as they travelled. Safety in numbers! We also saw a pair of White Hawks, but from a distance. Victor is a fantastic fund of information and with a great sense of humour. And the sun had come out too, hurrah!

We peel off from the group at lunchtime to visit a local Women’s Cooperative with a small restaurant serving local food and selling locally crafted goods. Better & less expensive than the tourist traps.

Our night hike in the Curi-Cancha Reserve is a gem! Although we did not see the Puma I had hoped for we saw a tiny Rain Frog, more sleeping birds, a vivid green Side Striped Palm Pit Viper (bit of a mouthful for a relatively small snake) hanging in a tree but most amazingly a Tarantula! Our guide looked for a nest hole and the first one had been dug out probably by a Coati. Then he found another and the spider was at home. By gently waving a twig in front of the entrance the female Orange Kneed Tarantula came out looking for prey. Pretty big, bigger than my hand, but beautiful. Superb sight!

This was our last tour as a group before we go off in different directions so we go for a group dinner in downtown St Elena. We are missing 2 couples but will see them tomorrow. A delicious local meal with lots of conversation about the trip. We have been so lucky with our travelling companions.



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