Fiesta and Costa Rican Wildlife

Trip Start Feb 01, 2012
Trip End Feb 21, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hotel de Campo
What I did
Rio Frio

Flag of Costa Rica  , Alajuela,
Sunday, February 5, 2012

Clare set her alarm for 6 for the 6:30 bird watch walk with Lou.  Quite a few people were out - mainly in front of the restaurant where there are some bird feeders.   There were flycatchers, the clay-colored robin, a pair of woodpeckers, maybe a special trogon.  Then we ate breakfast and packed up to leave.  We were early so everyone waited around for awhile.  It was a great place and I kind of hated to leave it.  I especially liked the night noises.

As we drove, we saw pineapple plantations but no pineapples.  We drove through what Lou termed as cowboy country where there was a lot of livestock raised.  Then we were treated to a real cowboy experience:  a combination religious celebration and rodeo or county fair.  We stopped in Venecia where they were having a grand fiesta to celebrate the saint's day of San Miguel.  The oxen were all rigged up with fancy bridles and metal tips on their horns or little bows.  The yokes and ox carts were all brightly painted.  Lou and our driver Manuel let us walk up the hill to see the young girls and boys dancing as part of their grand fiesta.  There were also men riding horses and maybe even a mule - there was a odd looking horse with extremely large ears.

After this nice little unplanned stop, we stopped at Muelle for lunch at the Restaurant Iguana.  Lou told us to order our lunch - she recommended the special plates - before going out to take photos of the iguanas.  The males are bright orange; the females duller.  There were even some babies - a male and female.

Our drive took us through sugar cane fields, some processing plants for sugar, some yucca fields and some fields of black beans.  There were also a lot of small holdings with pastures for the brahma cattle and other livestock.  We also passed the region's largest pig abattoir.  Lou handed out a Spanish language sheet and a food sheet.  At one point we got off the highway onto a gravel road in order to get to Cano Negro - the park where we were headed.  Lou said this is not a touristy area and we would love it.  It is a marshland and the best place for birds on the trip.  Did I mention that Lou is extremely knowledgeable about birds?  She is probably a twitcher.

Once we arrived and got into our rooms, we got ready for a walk or ramble or a wildlife spotting excursion.  There were some parrots on the road here plus a bunch of other birds that we had stopped for  - a great egret, some cattle egrets, tanagers, hmmm, woodpeckers maybe and some other ones.  Anyway, at first on the walk, things seemed pretty sketchy as we tromped along the jungly path.  Then our guide found a little frog known to be very poisonous.  It was on the ground and then he scooped it up on some id charts so we could take better photos of it.  Next was a dead spider.  There may also have been some birds that I didn't really see.  Next there was a live spider.  I tried taking photos but they weren't working out too well.  Jane was trying too and Lou went to help her by taking her camera.  While we were doing this, the group had moved on and were way ahead of us.  Lou suddenly spotted some spider monkeys in the trees.  We watched them as she tried to call the guide and group back.  We were so excited to see the monkeys swinging from the trees - there was even a mother with baby on her back.  We were also excited because we thought we had seen something the others hadn't.  But when we caught up with the others on the road, they had seen spider monkeys and howler monkeys too.

We walked slowly back to the hotel and when we got on the road, we decided to go look for howler monkeys.  The guide made a howler monkey sound and the monkeys answered him.  Lou tried too and got answers.  The howlers didn't come any closer really but we did get to see a bit of them.  I walked back with Jane and we stopped at the little store here next to the hotel.  I think it is called Hotel Campo.   I will probably go to dinner in a little while and only get a little bit to eat since I ate lots for lunch.

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