Toucans & Tree Frogs

Trip Start Jun 29, 2010
Trip End Apr 07, 2012

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Limon,
Friday, January 14, 2011

We woke at 8am and had luckily managed to get a few hours sleep. Whilst getting ready for our visit to the animal sanctuary we started chatting with an Aussie girl who had slept in the bed next to Chris.  She had already been up and out in the pouring rain to find another hostel and was moving quickly.  She told us she had found a place we had 20 minutes before our transport arrived to take us to the sanctuary so hot footed it around to the hostel to take a look. 

What we found was a lovely, modern, European looking building with a great kitchen, internet access and best of all great dorm rooms with good storage and nice beds, within 15 minutes we left the other place and checked in...

We arrived at the sanctuary for 9.30am and our tour started almost straight away.  We had an American guide who seemed very knowledgeable and we were happy the tour was in English so we could enjoy it more.  The sanctuary was started when 2 scientists from Barcelona were seconded in Costa Rica on a research project.  Although they worked in the same Zoo in Barcelona they had never met and found each other during the project. 

They fell in love and decided to move to Costa Rica.  Once they arrived word spread about their skills as one of them dealt with serpents and the other monkeys.  Slowly people started to bring them injured animals and they never turned one away.  They have gradually built up a sanctuary that is solely funded by visitors. 

One of the firsdt animals brought to them was a baby jaguar that had been poisoned – unfortunately after 4 days it died, so they decided to start a proper centre and called themselves the Jaguar Rescue Centre.   

We started the tour with an in depth look at pit viper snakes that are common in the region.   It was explained that if you see a snake with a triangular shaped head, the general rule of thumb is that it is probably venomous, we both took that one on board.  Next was the Toucan cage where they have a couple of Toucans recovering from injuries.  Annabelle was in her element as she officially loves Toucans and that was her main aim in Central America – to see Toucans ... and the lucky girl has seen wild Toucans at Tikal and now Costa Rica!  

Then we went to the baby howler monkeys and the guide took one out to show us, it was obviously not impressed as it took a wee over the guide and 2 of the tourists shoes...  They explained that the babies are brought to them due to the human encroachment into this tropical area.  The local power lines have given many of the mothers a shock and sometimes the mothers will drop their baby by accident, also if there are people present when this happens they may not seek to rescue the baby as they are afraid, so some of them have been brought to the sanctuary. 

They guide explained that they are actively trying to re-introduce them into the wild and that they take them into the forest to play with other wild monkeys each day.  Whilst all of this was happening Annabelle was busy papping for her life and Chris was watching the babies eat a huge platter of fruit for their lunch.

Next we headed off to the pond they have created and found a red eyed tree frog.  This was probably the best wild animal we have seen, the guide told us that it is safe to handle them as long as you are careful and he was quite happy to sit on our hands and have his picture taken.  You could feel his orange sticky pad feet cling onto you and every now and then he would jump off you and back onto the long grass at the side of the pond.  The guide also pointed out the frog spawn that clings to the side of the long grass.  You can clearly see the babies in the spawn and eventually when they are ready to be born they will simply drop out and into the pond, it was truly wonderful to see.

Next we saw a 2 fingered and 3 fingered sloth.  They were gorgeous and we got to stroke them.  Their hair was so fine and clean it felt amazing, which was surprising as their hair resembled a coconut.  In fact we both agreed that their hair was in better condition than Annabelle's’ – o dear!  We also got some great pictures – they were so cute.  The 2 fingered sloth had a lovely little piggy like nose, whilst the 3 fingered sloth had an 80’s style bowl haircut and always looks like he was smiling.  When the guide put them back in the cage he showed us just how slow they move.  He attached them to a branch and we watched while they pulled themselves up ... it was painful to watch. 

It took them about 5 minutes to get their heads level with the branch.  Annabelle has decided when she dies she would like to come back as a sloth ... Chris was quick to point out that she already has most of the characteristics – the cheek!

Next was a couple of Spectacled Owls that had been hit by a car and one had lost the ability to fly.  The nice story here was that even though one had recovered he did not want to leave his friend when it was his chance to be let out into the wild.

When we returned from the sanctuary we treated ourselves to 50p noodles for lunch – a real traveller staple – though  they were no Bachelors Super Noodles, they filled a hole.   During the afternoon we cemented some more accommodation and wrote a few blogs. 

Probably the only annoying thing about the hostel was that it did not have any windows and after dark the mosquito’s started to bite so after dinner we headed up to our room to pack for an early start the following day and watch a film on the laptop.

As we were getting ready to settle down to watch a film, Chris burst into song with, 'I was only 24 hours from Dalston,’ after Annabelle questioning these lyrics, and Chris adamant he was singing the right words, Annabelle burst into a hysterical laughter for about 20 minutes ... she eventually managed to inform him that the destination is in fact Tulsa not the East London suburb of Dalston.

Dusty would turn in her grave Annabelle almost died laughing.  Chris obviously gets his musical knowledge from his Granny - they are both as useless as each other.   
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