When you become overwhelmed with happiness: CM Travels Costa Rica
When we were leaving San Jose and about to catch our flight down to Puerto Jimenez we had little doubt that we would see some amazing wildlife. We were however to leave this vestige of wilderness with wonderful memories and a fascination for the wildlife that far exceeded our expectations.
After landing and receiving our refreshments we headed off on our transfer from Puerto Jimenez to our lodge (about 20 minutes). Along the way our driver stopped and let us snap some images of the birdlife that we saw. We even captured a pair of Tropical Screech-Owls. This was just our introduction to this amazing place.
We would spend the next 10 days hiking through the trails of a private reserve close to the border with Corcovado National Park. Finding Howler monkey, Spider monkeys, Squirrel monkeys, Red-lored parrots, Scarlet Macaws, Three-toed sloth, numerous spiders and insects. We also visited Sirena Ranger station inside the park where we had our only encounter with a Baird’s Tapir.
We had done some careful planning which revolved around seeing as much wildlife as possible. While we like all things weird and wonderful we were particularly keen on some of the illusive felines that inhabit the forests. In the end we were unlucky with the cats. After chatting to some guides and the locals you would be very lucky to see any cats. They are generally shy and timid. They may approach a lodge kitchen late at night to see if any scraps are around. Other than that they are very hard to come across. In the National Park there are more sightings but still very few and far between.
We did not let this get us down. In fact it opened our eyes to all the other wonderful creatures that were roaming around. We hunted for the Golfo Dulce poison frog and only on the last day did we managed to find it. Of course when we were not looking for it we nearly stood on it! But that is the beauty of this place. I think you could spend a lifetime here and you will still not be 100% sure what will be around the next corner. It is this endless search for something wonderful that woke us up at 4am every morning (howlers may have also helped).
I want you to also picture two fairly hot and sweaty Swiss folk that had just been enjoying some of springs wonders at around 10-13 Degrees Celsius back home and then walking into the hot and tropical 100% humidity forest of Costa Rica. You will be hiking if you want to see the wildlife. Depending on the day you can hike between 4-8 hours everyday. We worked hard for some of these images but it was well worth it. I have to say that we also cheated a little bit. We sat on our deck at our lodge for 2 of the mornings trying to capture the glorious yellow throated Toucans and flying Scarlet Macaws. Of which we may have had 6 in the tree right in front of the room. We also had flocks of up to 10 Scarlet Macaws flying past heading down towards the beach. Orange-chinned Parakeets in flocks of 20 or more and a very special sloth who sat very nicely for us for 7 days in the same tree before a big storm sent him for cover.
This trip was taxing. We walked almost every morning. You can do this in two ways. You may choose to join an early morning birding and wildlife walk for 2 hrs then have breakfast. After breakfast you have the opportunity to head out again and head on one of the trails in the Reserve or head for the beach walk. More intimate walks where you are welcome to ask your guide to reveal the many secrets of the forest plants or take time and view the smaller insects that crawl through the forest floor leaf litter.
The location is wonderful for all interests. At an extra cost you can also have a private guided tour and concentrate on what ever you would like. The other in house tours are part of your package. Extras like kayaking, dolphin tours, surf lessons and excursions to the National Park which can be arranged on arrival. If you are staying for a shorter time and would like to get into the park I would recommend you arrange this before as the lodge will need to get you a permit for the day and make sure there is space. Only 100 visitors are allowed into the park per day at the various ranger stations.
You can if you would like to also relax on the uncrowded beach, learn to surf or simply kick back by the pool. We squeezed in a swim on the beach between capturing all the amazing wildlife of this wonderful place. The Osa Peninsula has been rated amongst some of the most bio diverse places on the planet. This is a must stop destination on your Costa Rica Tour.
The magical moments start as your senses are meet by the morning chorus. The barking of the Howler monkeys ignites the forest canopy with guttural sound waves. Waking the squawking Macaws and Parrots. Your softer song birds try there best to start there own songs. The mannikins moon walking begins early and even the geckos are still at it in the roofing of your accommodation and the roof of the canopy. The smell of the fresh rain that fell during the night fills the air around you and the soft linen feels gentle against your skin. It is something very special to feel a smile begin in the corner of your mouth.
Smile begins to get wider as the sound of the fresh coffee delivery arrives at your door by a soft footed waiter, you urge yourself out of the moment to make the most of the cool and fresh morning. Probably the best time to see some action within the forest. The taste of the strong coffee flares your taste buds just as the first sun rays hit the ocean in front of you. It is a very special view over the canopy tops down to the perfect right point in front of you. The sloth slowly stretches out into a yawn and draws your eyes towards a distant pair of Scarlet Macaws coming towards you. We sat for hours trying to capture the panning blur of the wings and finding something still in focus. There are worse ways to spend hours of your day.
We could go on with why you need to get here. The only way to actually feel the energy of this place is to get out here and see some of these quiet shores with roaming Tapirs, flying Macaws and curious Collared Anteaters. This had to be one of the highlights of the trip. Having guided in a few destinations the guides pointed out some good areas for us to explore and we found this amazing animal. It was the soft rustle of the leaf litter and the flash of some white fur that gave his position away. We crunched down and slowly made our way towards its position.
Containing our excitement was probably the hardest point and we snapped a quick shot before he sniffed the air and our scent gave us up. Once it had our smell he slowly made his way to the nearest tree and found a comfy spot to rest. We probably enjoyed it on the ground for less than a minute and left him in peace after 15 minutes. Believe me we could have stayed for a full day and watched this amazing creature go about its daily business. We must always remember that we are here to observe and not disturb the wonderful wildlife.