Thursday, October 21, 2010

Costa Rica - The Trek Continues

I concluded with the hike to Ranger station in my last post on Costa Rica. The ranger station was good 20 kms away from the spot we started our hike. Hiking alternatively through the rain forests and along the sea was an experience.

The ranger station was in a remote location; no phone, no TV, no communication possible with outer world. We didnt know what day it was or what time it was. Surrounded by forests; amidst chatters of the Howler monkeys and the Cicadas, it was bliss. Food was simple; we packed pasta and tomato sauce, tapioca, carrots and tuna for meat eaters.

The second day was rest mostly. But we did have short treks of 5-6 kms early in the morning. We spotted few animals unique to the place and a poisonous snake. We saw Tapirs again. William was sweet enough to get rubber boots to both of us as it required to walk in slush and we were not equipped.

A drizzling morning; in a secluded area; only you and nature; no one else to spoil the moment. We were basking in this moment of what? I cant express the feeling. It was out of the world; English or rather no language has any apt word to describe the feeling. Both of us were questioning each other if this moment was for real or were we dreaming.

Click on the photos to see it in large frame. You can appreciate it better and it will be a good feast for your eyes :-)

Can you spot the rainbow? We saw rainbow 2 successive days. I consider myself very lucky. I have never ever seen rainbow on 2 successive days; I am not sure if I will get a chance in future

 Also saw Tapirs 2 successive days. We were the only lucky ones. There are people who camp for weeks together to get a glimpse but they dont get to. These two had a collar around their neck. William was very disturbed and was mentioning someone would be studying them and that he has to report to the forest department. He was really very concerned.

As we started a short hike the 2nd day; William just stopped on the trail and showed this to us. If it not for him; we would not have noticed. He said there were around 135 species of snakes in Costa Rica and 17 are poisonous are most deadly on earth; and they could be found in Corcovado. They are rarely seen by tourists. This one is Fer-de-lance; a venomous pit viper and the most poisonous. This was a baby; curled up on the walking area.
William said that it takes less than 10 minutes for a person to die if bitten by this baby

So he disturbed it and made sure it went away from any vicinity so that its safe for humans and also for it. When we mentioned to other campers that we saw a Fer-de-lance, no one believed. They were like how could you see Tapirs both the days and now this? Uuumpph!! We had to show this photo. 

Rio(River) Sirena joining the sea.

An American crocodile in Rio Sirena. These crocodiles are smaller than the Australain Caimans and are  salt-water crocodiles. They are not a threat unless dumb enough. We did play in the river and bathed. William didnt mention anything abut crocodile presence. It was only after we saw this; he mentioned about them. Later we saw many more. But on an average they kill 1 person annually and recent times; they have treated themselves with tourists :-S He also mentioned about Bull sharks and Hammerhead sharks coming in from the sea during high tides.

William also quoted incidents when he has tourists from Australia and they ask him to show caymans.  After seeing this smaller ones, they are disappointed as they end up visualizing Caymans as big as Australian ones. The largest here can grow up to 6 ft; bigger ones are generally 3 to 3.5 feet.

Anhinga or the Snakebird. Looking for fishes.

Sirena Ranger Station in the middle of nowhere :-)

The three-toed sloth. I understood after seeing this thing why there was this idiom "As slow as a sloth". Watching it in action seems watching a scene in slow motion. It just hangs from a branch and its color of fur provides a good camouflage. Its so so sluggish.

The Golden Silk Orb Spider. Builds large webs. Closely examining it; we saw her mate's half eaten body. She had eaten off her mate.

 A Cicada

One more type of Cicada

A typical tree; strangling one another. 

Norops polylepis - a species of lizard. William explained that the female ones have a orange-yellow dewlap under their neck. Males dont have them. He captured a male earlier and then this one. 

A vibrant orange-yellow dewlap.

A temporary exotic earring for William :-)

Can you spot the bird? Clicking birds were really tough. They just flew away. We saw so many birds but couldnt click all. This one is Crimson collared Tanager. We could spot them on such plants. Flying from one plant to another. Their neck, breast and tail are crimson;

As we were talking back to the Ranger station after this short hike; William stopped near a rolled not yet mature banana leaf. He held it close and seemed to push something out in a pumping fashion. 5-6 creatures flew out and he caught one. When he showed it to us; we were perplexed for a while and then realized what it was. It was a bat; safely snugged inside the leaf.

Suction cup bat. I held it to have a closer look and poor thing was helpless. It had sharp teeth. They have flat adhesive suckers attached to thumb and hind feet which helps them to climb and adhere to leaves

A close look at the suction cup

A partially colorful spider delicately crawling on a leaf

A Tamandua Anteater just walked across the ranger station.

Playing soccer at leisure

The front porch of the ranger station

William realized that I did not like the spaghetti and tomato sauce.  My first evening went in eating tapioca and carrots. Second evening; he was sweet enough to bring the meal the office sponsors for him. Wonderful gesture that was. He had to make do with spaghetti.
Rice, black beans, cabbage, mashed potato and avocado.

 This is a Cane toad. It was loitering around the dining area. Saw many such toads hopping around. They were as huge as football.

Thecadactylus rapicauda - a large gecko with turnip shaped thick conical tail. Found this thing preying on an insect near the rest room. It is capable of changing color.

William just took us somewhere near the station and showed this one. This is the Red-eye green tree frog. Their red eyes are bold, green body and their toes are orange. Gautam held it. William immediately took it back and washed the frog with water as Gautam had his hands smeared with insect repellent cream which was poisonous for the frog.

Dining area; other campers

 He got the lizard down for us to have a closer look. All of a sudden, the gecko  released its tail as a defense mechanism. Closer look at the tail revealed its conical shape and we watched it slither for more than 5 minutes. I am refraining from putting the picture of the tail as not all would appreciate that; most of you might find it gross :-)

 Our tents. Gautam kept food bags in my tent; a rat was loitering inside and disturbed my sleep. It had eaten half an apple as well.

A visitor. 

The Great Tinamou. Was loitering near the station

This low land rain forest is so interior that poor folks do not have a proper paper weight. They have to use skulls :-P

William's machete and its holder - custom made for him. This leather holder had "Costa Rica - Pura Vida" and "Parque En Corcovado" etched on it. Also were macaw, horse, toucan, humming bird and turtle.

Sorry folks, I forgot its name :-(

We started off hiking back the third day. Saw few more animals and birds; hike spiced up with interesting conversations, coconut water and hot coffee. This and other visits in the concluding post which is the next post. :-)


  1. You know the best thing I loved in your post? Guess! It was about William taking the frog from Gautam and washing the insect repellent off. That shows how genuine the guy is. Btw, the Red-eyed green tree frog adorns the cover of January 1983 issue of the National Geographic!! Why I remember it so well is because that was my first National Geographic as a member! :)

    B, you continue to amaze me. I cannot thank you enough for taking me along in the wilds of Costa Rica!

  2. Out of envy just out of envy- I would state that you were on an adventure trip to the Americas and not a journey on work.
    I read long time ago Irwin Stone's 'Origin', a biographical work on Charles Darwin.There was a lot in it of Darwin's journey to the southern continent and Galapagos. And your photographs and narration sort of rivals it(!!!).

    I however could not take the pasta for packed food. And wisely you chose tapioca . That was quite a good decision. People like Williams, the passionate earnest ones, thanks to them we still have and may have a planet to fall back.Thanks you for the good notes. the pics too. - the pit viper - I'm worried about the bi-peddled ones. ha ha!

  3. Incredible pictures. I should read more of your posts.

  4. looks like you were quite lucky to get glimpse of so many animals during your trek :)
    The orange-yellow dewlap was very cute and well shot.

  5. You had a true adventure trip... amazing locale, fascinating wildlife, varied plant life, camping, local and exotic food, wonderful experience with great company!! Simply awesome!!
    Great going... looking forward for more!! :)

  6. To think of planet earth and all its diversity..sometimes completely stumps me !

    Like now !! thanks for sharing

  7. great clicks..we discussed quite a few of these :) and what a place to visit!! I so so so ENVY you!!!!!

  8. Thank You for the pics. They are really a delight to the eyes. I was showing my friend this post and pictures and were discussing. One thing is for sure we both envy you at this point.

  9. As always great travelogue. Excellent pictures. "Only you and the nature. No one else to spoil the moment". That feeling is beyond expression in any language. Beautiful.

  10. Do you have a fan club?
    You will soon find one.

  11. Excellent post ! Full of information and pictures. But I admit I will have to come back to read once more. I am not done yet :)

  12. Lucky are those who go on such adventure trips.The pictures are very nice.

  13. Bala,

    William was an interesting character. I will talk about him in my next post. That guy was genuinely concerned about his place, about his forests...

    Not only the frog, the tapir, the fer-de-lance...he made sure they were safe and fine. But William was not like this few years ago. Let me share that later. The red eyed tree frog is special to you :-)

    Do I continue to amaze? Thats fantastic. I am glad that I could share my experiences with you all.

  14. anil,

    Oh! Oh! Please.....I went to this part of Americas during a long weekend. My main agenda was work :-) Trust me :-)

    You compare this journal to Irwin Stone's 'Origin'. Oh my God! Thank you, I will cherish this comment. Made my day.

    Oh yeah; pasta and sauce were easy to carry. But that was a wrong choice. But tapioca were best; they are my favorites; so any time tapioca.

    William - let me share William's past. But now he is passionate and concerned. And yeah its for few of those that we are able to live.

    Bi-peddled ones are way way too venomous than pit vipers anytime :-P

  15. Aditya,

    Thanks so much; glad you liked them. Anytime :-)

  16. Vivek,

    Welcome to B Log :-)

    Yes, not quite lucky. Very very lucky. We saw almost all except for Jaguar and Puma :-)

    Thank you. Keep visiting

  17. Shilpa,

    Yes, it was. Such things dont happen all the time. It was too perfect to be true.

  18. Kavi,

    Yeah, nature never ceases to amaze :-) Thanks so much, my pleasure.

  19. Neha,

    Thanks. Stop envying and pack your bags!

  20. Harini,

    My pleasure. Hope you liked them. Hahahaha dont envy me. I have seen very less in this world. Have lots more to experience :-)

  21. SG,

    Thanks so much. Yeah I tried to express that in words; but realized its beyond expression. :-)

  22. dr.anthony,

    Hahahaha, fan club??? Only celebrities have them, isnt it?

  23. A,

    Thanks. Hope you liked them all. it at your leisure :-)

  24. Chowla sir,

    I would say blessed are those. Thanks so much

  25. Speechless, Poetryless, :-) and holding my breath --simply waiting to read more......

  26. Waiting to read more and see many more pics :)

  27. Wow that porch looks so welcoming and snake so venomous. You indeed had a good trek spotting so many in just two days, lucky you. Even Nature played the rainbow. The Gods smile on you ans so does the lama:)

  28. Ugich,

    :-) I take your state of poetryless as a compliment. I am glad you liked them all. Yeah sure, more coming up next :-)

  29. pinashpinash,

    Sure sure, in my next post :-)

  30. Holy Lama,

    Isnt it? We spent our leisure relaxing there and taking in the nature's beauty.

    The snake was cute. Yeah we were lucky few to spot almost all animals that is found in Corcovado. :-)

  31. Pls go on with your narrative..but i am going breathless...and sometimes u startled me with pics f Fer-de-Lance..the details f ur great Costa Rica Trip are more to come?...I do hope..

  32. very informative and colourful post..catching the rainbow on the lens is no easy job..btw..thanks a tonne for the consistent encouragement...u r good wishes always:)

  33. no phone no tv
    but green nature.
    sure you enjoyed lot
    nice pics

  34. hey,

    all these pics are so fabulous.I copied 1 or 2.. hope you don't mind. ^-^

    #recently, I saw a snake in my garden, with its prey in its mouth, your "Fer-de-lance" reminded me of it.we sho-o-ed it away,poor thing had to drop its evening meal and rush... :D

    # your trekking reminds me of the movie I saw today "the contract",
    1 or 2 rangers were killed at the end of it. ;)

    # is it you holding that bat ????.

    # Red-eye green tree frog - "gulabi aakhen jo teri dekhi.. " well, its eyes are not gulabi ,but still felt like humming it. :)

    #interesting post again.

    a long comment for equally long post. ;)

  35. Tomz,

    :-) Thanks much. Yeah there is some more to come :)

  36. Ramesh,

    Thanks much. Yeah, the rainbow was beautiful and we wanted to save that moment for ever thats why captured it. You are welcome :-)

  37. sm,

    Yes it was really nice. Thank you.

  38. Anurag,

    Thats fine; as long as you keep it with you. Please dont circulate the pictures.

    Oh sad. It slept hungry maybe.

    Oh!! Oh!! Our hiking was all fun.

    Its me holding the bat :-)

    Yup!! the frog was very beautiful :-) I wanted to kiss it but didnt.

    Thanks much for your comments.

  39. Felt as I was in my biology class so many specimens. But I didn't like the creepy baby. I am scared of snakes.

    I could see the rainbow , my eyesight is good :)

  40. Your posts are as good as being there. The red eyed frog is so beautiful :)

  41. chitra,

    :-) Nice!! Oh are you? But they are nice as long as you dont taunt them.

    The rainbow is beautiful isnt it? :-)

  42. Destiny's child,

    :-) Thank you; the frog was in deed so cute.

  43. ur b log is taking 5 mins to load.. lots of changes i see.. as u said its a rabbit hole.. will cum and dig later.. btw nice costa rica pics.. semaiya ooru suthareenga polarku..:P

  44. This is so far my favourite among your travelogue series. This one's totally wild! It was a wonderful read, with all the pictures and lively description from you :)
    Oh so many of em creatures out there!

  45. Vishnu,

    Welcome back. Long time no see. Hope things are fine with you.

    Oh oh!! I am sorry about it. Maybe the numerous pictures that I put is the reason for delay.

    Thanks so much, kidaikkirappo suthavendiyadhu thaane? :-)

  46. et,

    Thank you. Glad you liked them. Wild you say; absolutely! Exotic and wild. Lotta creatures :-)

  47. You really are an adventorous person! Some of the pics here do scare me ,did u really hold a bat and a lizarddd???

  48. Didn't feel I was reading a blog, but watching natgeo :) So is it gonna be Mauritius next ??? Btw I couldn't spot the birds..So I guess I am a blind bat!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences..and 5-6kms is a short trek for your highness? ;)

  49. This could be easily your best post. Very informative and excellent pictures :) Good job in capturing the details.

  50. scarlet pimpernel,

    :-) Thank you.

  51. neha,

    Oh yeah!! :-) Yes I held the bat, the cicada, the lizard and few others :-P

  52. lostworld,

    :-) Thats a compliment. Mauritius after concluding Costa Rica :-)

    5-6 kms was a short one after the previous day's 20 kms :-D

    Thank you so much

  53. A,

    thanks for finding so. I am glad I could capture all these to share with you all

  54. Lovely glimpses of Costa Rica. I will add this place to my must visit wishlist. By the pic one can hardly say that that toad is really of the size of a football. William's earring is truly exotic :P

  55. OMG..what a treasure you saw there and captured all so me its like a dream I always think about but never realise it.

  56. Shas,

    Thank you, glad you liked them. You should definitely visit this country when you have a chance. Yeah, that toad was not that big but there were cane toads as big as football hopping around. :-)

  57. Renu,

    Yup!! It was. You should realize your dream :-)


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