Tag Archives: Racoon

Manuel Antonio National Park

This morning we slept in. The drive last night was quite exhausting and we were both quite tired, but we were up before 8 and enjoyed a lovely breakfast at the hostel.

We set off for the National Park and we were there before 9:30 and started hiking through the jungle. We met several guided groups looking at animals down the paths and they were kind enough to show us what they were looking at as well.

And at the end of the path, almost coming out of the jungle to the beach – we ran into Magnus’ parents… We knew they were in central america and that they are travelling around, but we had no idea that they were in Costa Rica and less in Manuel Antonio and less even in the same path we were walking on at the same time. Wow! Of course we planned to meet up later tonight before we split up again.

Right nearby to where we met them we found a Howler Monkey sitting in a tree and right next to it a moma Sloth and her baby! They were soooo cute!

Down at the beach we saw a Crab-eating Racoon family trying to steal stuff from peoples bags and running off with the stuff :D

The beach was absolutely beautiful and white beautiful clear ocean. The water temperatures were perfect. Just hot enough to want to stay there forever, but cool enough to cool you off.

The Racoons came and went and there were lots of them. People were yelling at them for trying to break into their bags, but thankfully the famous monkeys were not there because they are known to steal peoples cameras from your hands!
Another perfect reason why you should not give wild animals food.

On our way back from the beach we saw a Fer-de-Lance snake. It was quite well hidden, but a guide with a group had found it and we stopped to watch it with them. Photo is not very clear, but there is a snake there.

Quite exiting. We saw a lot more animals today and among them were the:
Howler Monkey, Green Iguana, Black Iguana, Golden Orb Spider (Nephila clavipes), Tree Frog, Keel Billed Toucans and several Hummingbirds.

It has been an awesome day for watching animals!


Night Hike in the Jungle at Santa Maria Refugio de vida Silvestre

We were pickced up from Pension Santa Elena in Monteverde by Bernald, our guide, for the Night Hike. We were 10 people all together and we were then taken to Santa Maria Refugio de vida Silvestre where we all recieved a flash light and instructions. If we feel anything climbing our legs – warn guide immediately because it could be a scorpion or snake. Yikes. Hehehe.

We set off and the first thing we saw was a giant Tarantula (and yes it was big).

and then we found a Two-Toed Sloth. They are a bit bigger than the Three-Toed Sloth and they move a bit faster. This one wasn’t moving at all though.

The Two-Toed Sloth is a bit brownish in the color compared to the Three-Toed Sloth that is more grayish in color.

We were also lucky enough to see our first snake today. This one lives high up in the branches so that it can keep warm from the sun. This one is a Green Vine Snake.

Thankfully, not all crawling on the ground are scorpions and this a grasshopper.

5 years ago I bought Jack Ewings book Monkeys are made of Chocolate. In that book the story: There is a Fungus Among us was. This is a very informative story about the Leaf-cutter ants (Atta cephalotes is the most common Leaf-Cutter Ant).

Did you know they walk up to 2kms away from their home to collect new leaves and up trees as high as a 10 story building?
Did you know that only the queen is fertile and that the colony dies with her? She lives for about 20 years though.
Did you know that the leaf-cutter ants don’t eat the leafs, but that they grow a fungus on it?

All the members of the colony contribute directly or indirectly to the cultivation of the fungus. The most obvious of the seven distinct castes of Atta cephalotes are the leaf carriers marching through the forest with their green parasol-like cargo. When they arrive at the colony and deposit their leaf crescents, another caste takes over — the cleaners. Each leaf fragment is meticulously scraped and licked until clean. Later it is cut into smaller pieces, chewed, mixed with saliva and formed into a soft wad. The ants then place some fungus starter material, called mycelia on the medium and place it beside other newly planted fungus in a suitable chamber.
From that point another caste, the fungus caretakers, step in and take over the process. These ants are responsible for keeping the fungus clean and free from impurities and infection. They do this partially by physically removing any foreign life form that tries to grow on either the medium or the bread-like fungus.

A bacterium that lives in a patch on the ant’s skin produces an antibiotic that controls the mold. Beyond that, they have learned how to handle technologies more skillfully than the bumbling civilization above their heads. They can grow a monoculture and they have also learned how to deploy an antibiotic without the target pest’s becoming resistant to it.”

Another thing about leaf-cutter ants. Their homes are HUGE:

And this one is just a small part of it !

Read Jack Ewings “There is a Fungus Among us

We saw lots of other animals as well during this hike like the Woolly opossum, the Northern Raccoon, the White-nosed Coati, A few Red Tailed Squirrels, Bats, 2 Frogs (of a species I don’t remember), several species of fireflies and firebeetles.

It was a lovely trip and I had a great time!

After the Hike we went for dinner at Amigos Restaurant. The bar was full with Gringos as the Superbowl was on. However they had good food and once Superbowl was over all the Gringos left. We had an early night.

Tortuguero National Park – Valentines Day

sunny.gifBeautiful nice weather, +25C and not one single cloud to spot.
About 90% humidity.
No wind

24125_discovery_f.jpgI woke up at 6 am and and immediately went on a frog hunt for the Strawberry poison-dart frog. Incredible creatures of the size of a finger nail painted with a red back and blue legs. Highly venomous of course but it looks GREAT on pictures. They are also called blue-jeans frogs. Inmensly proud of spotting small red things (on the size of a human finger nail) hopping around on the ground between the cut grass I took a couple of pictures before I had to head for breakfast. I showed the other ladies my pictures and after breakfast I took them to where I found the frogs and showed them too. They were also impressed by the size and wondered how I had seen them at all in the grass. Well. One fantastic thing about red things hopping around in the grass… The grass is green. and you do see red things moving in the green grass. They are extremely difficult to spot when sitting still though.

The trip on the Tortuguero River
We were picked up by our team at 8am to enter the Tortuguero National park and our first stop was at the town of Tortuguero to get our tickets. Thomas and I had already bought ours yesterday, valid for 3 days, as we tried hiking to the beach through the national park as we were exploring the town of Tortuguero, so we did not need to buy new ones now. (I also learned something then. It is not legal to enter the trails unless you have high rubber boots (both because of the possibility of meeting poisonous snakes and the wet mud in the trails. Luckily our hotel borrowed me some so I could bring them with me.
Weeee. Let the adventures begin.

It was a fantastic trip. We were taken up the Tortuguero River and entered Caño Jarol. A nice river that was amazing to tour. We got to be the lucky tourists that got in close contact with the trees hanging over the river as our tour guide, Gilber – popularly called Chito, decided to start cutting down the branches with a huge machete. Justo the driver, is nicaraguan and both of them are really nice, good tourguides.

Animals I have spotted during the day
Howler Monkeys, Caimans, Three toed sloths, Norhern racoon, lizards including the Jesus Christ Lizard, iguanas, Herons, turtles, basilisks, toucans and macaws.

250px-TortugueroBeach.jpgWhen the official program was over around 10:30am we could choose to be taken to the hotel of the village.
Thomas and I went to the village and we had our second breakfast at a bakery. Banana bread and Tres Leches. YUMMY.

After the small food stop we went to the end of the village and showed them the boots and the tickets to enter the park. We hiked up and down the paths looking for strange animals but had no greater luck on that today. We saw lots of lizards and spiders and heard a great orchestra of birds, but no really amazing strange animals.
So we decided heading out towards the Tortuguero beach and it was beautiful. We walked up the beach for about 15 minutes before entering the forest again and went back to the ranger station.

After the walk in the forest it was GREAT to take the rubber boots off and sit down and have some lunch. We both had a great heart-of-palm lasagna with fresh vegetables and lemonade. It was great. A wonderful choise. Thomas even mentioned that that particular dish is even mentioned in the Lonley planets guide to what is worth trying to eat when in Tortuguero.
At the same restaurant that we had lunch they had internet and I sat down for an hour trying to
update blog and respond to some e-mails i had recieved. Jungle called and I left internet pretty quick heading down towards the shore to find a taxi home.
Taxis in Tortuguero is a chapter of its own. They are cool !!!. They are not cars but boats !!! hehe. Taxi Jairo took me to Monkeys lodge and by this point of the trip I was pretty tired and I felt dirty being sweat, full of insect repellant and dragging around on those ugly rubber boots.

tortuguero5.jpgI was met by Mona and the 2 remaining french ladies (Paula and Jeanne) – (the other two just came for one sleep over) and they were having lunch late.

It seemed like they had been to the Nicaraguan border on a private tour that the petrol station man had given them being a friend of Mona. They had a wonderful time.

I went in and showered and Mona called Taxi Jairo so he could take me around. He showed up about 15 minutes later and took me for a private tour into one of the canals where we watched the sunset and listened to the orchestra of birds and monkeys going to bed before the nocturnal birds started their orchestra.

We saw heaps of glow-worms in the grass around the canals and although it was no date – Jairo was nice company for Valentines day.

Though, the dude had to continue working and he left me at the hotel at 7pm so I could have dinner with the other ladies. We had a great dinner with chicken. We stopped in the bar for a little while and I must admit I went early to bed tonight as well. Exhausted but content !