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Frogs and crocs not of the shoe kind...

Last weekend we took the bus to La Fortuna, a touristy town about 2 and a half hours away from here that sits at the foot of an active volcano – Volcan Arenal. It last blew its top in 1968, previous to which they just thought it was a big hill. Doh. They used to climb up it, too. Imagine being up there on a nice little hill trek at the moment it decides to burp and belch! Error. Anyway, according to Lonely Planet one of the lakes in one of its four craters has experienced sinking water levels recently, which means it could well be up for another eruption pretty soon. Even though in volcano years, that may mean 300 years from now. Boring.

We larged it at the gorgeous Tabacon hot springs and spa thermal resort (thanks for the tip Hannah and Kate!) It was probably one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever seen – oh and it’s a part of the leading hotels of the world group, so it should be really! It consists of all these hot and cold water pools formed from the river, all of which house pasty white sprawling Americans sporting various degrees of sunburn, and a few awesome waterfalls to sit under too,… and it’s all in the midst of this luscious rainforest setting, think bright red and tropical plants and a heap of luminous green lizards. Beautiful.

We also got the chance to take a couple of rainforest tours – one was based around a series of hanging bridges, the highest of which was a scary 600 feet above the forest canopy. Awesome! I never thought I’d have the guts to look straight into a tarantula’s hole but I DID IT!! Are you proud of me mummy? Our guide shone his torch right in there and we could see his hairy fat legs…eeeeeergh. Makes me puke just thinking about it. We also saw these amazing little frogs, bright red with blue legs. Red poisonous dart frogs. “They’re only poisonous when they eat toxic critters though”, said our guide as he scooped one of a tree! Crazy man. Aside from that we saw howler monkeys, a crocodile (that was on the boat tour, not hanging from a tree, don’t be stupid) and tons of birds….. ooh we even saw a big yellow beaked toucan through our guide’s telescope. Did you know they mate for life? They sing to each other all day too, bless. Aaaaah, such a nice life.

Oh, I think the leaf cutter ants are the most impressive creatures though. They spend all day carrying massive bits of leaf and twig three times their size, in a straight row like a little production line towards their nest. A queen ant can live up to 20 years and apparently when she dies, the army dies too. How tragic. But they’re such dedicated little workers – way more dedicated than me, sifting my fricking sand from a giant pile all day. You don’t see ants complaining, heading off to spa resort for some sweet relaxation, even though they clearly could. They just shift stuff around all day to please some expectant lady on a throne who probably doesn’t even know their names. That has to be the best job in the world, come to think of it. The power!!

Costa Rican wildlife really is something else… and even though, just like in Kenya when we went on safari, I was slightly disappointed that the animals weren’t all lining up to greet me and my telephoto lens, it was such an incredible experience being in the rainforest, knowing that there were a hundred pairs of eyes on us even though we couldn’t see them. I’ve heard the scenery, beaches and animals up in Manuel Antonio is even better, but unfortunately we won’t have a chance to go up there on this trip. Perhaps that would be best saved for sometime when it’s not pissing it down every 5 minutes – they don’t call it the rainy season for nothing! I KNOW I said I wanted rain and that I was sick of the dusty dryness of Dubai but seriously… I take it back. Please god, give us one day with rain!!!

Posted by beckywicks 09:16 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged ecotourism

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