24.03.2009 30 °C
Hello there again everybody, its been a while since you’ve heard from us last as we have been very busy on many different adventures. We have found many of the animals we set out to find and photograph in the rain and cloud forests. After the volcano area, where we found a small species of toucan called an aracari (pronounced arra-sorry), sloths and tent-making bats amongst many other creatures (all with the help of a guide) we headed off to the cloud forests of Monteverde which is around 2000 above sea-level. It is cold and wet most of the time, and the winds howl constantly. We even made use of our ski jackets here. It is a very hilly place and the roads are unpaved and bumpy with large rocks and potholes everywhere. We were luck to be blessed with our own resident two-toed sloth just outside our hotel. Ever –seeking the perfect wildlife photo, Will decided to climb up into the tree beside the sloth. I don’t think the sloth was too impressed, he wasn’t sure what to do as they move very slowly. This was a intimate encounter, although not resulting in the desired photo.
Monteverde is arguably the best place in the world for zip-lining (as the Americans call it) – we call them flying foxes or jungle surfing. You travel at a great speed on cables strung up between the forest valleys, some of which are a kilometre long. You can’t see the end of it while you are zipping through trees and along the top of the trees a hundred metres below you.
We saw a very rare and special bird here called the Resplendant Quetzal. It is dazzling electric green plumage, a bright red breast and long tails feathers like a bird of paradise.
On our night walk in this region we encountered giant tarantulas (see photos attached), the shy and elusive Olingo (not even in our thick animal guide book) which looks rather like a cat crossed with a possum, but is related to raccoons. It moves very fast through the trees and is rarely spotted. There were giant glow-beetles constantly signalling to each other through the trees all around us.
Headed off, the next day, to Cañas which is in the lowlands of the northern parts of the country (which is called the Guanacaste area) to see some of the big cats, which inhabit Central America (Puma, leopard and ocelot) in an animal rescue centre. It will be almost impossible to see them in the wild as they are too weary of man and have a very keen sense of smell (who wants to meet a 300 pound predator of humans in its natural habitat anyway)? We also met some toucans with big beaks and big personalities, and an extremely vocal otter. It was a small rescue centre with quite a lot of cats, and not really geared towards tourists (I’m not sure that too many come out this way) and relies on donations to keep itself going.
We stayed in Cañas for just one night and were lucky enough to catch the closing night of their fiesta with a parade of colourful percussionists, gymnasts and dancers that seemed to go forever. It was very festive and fun!
We are now in Liberia and Will intends to climb an active volcano here, we will keep you posted.