Sunday 12 and Monday 13 March 2023 – We had nothing to do until the early evening. So, having had some relaxation time at Villas Alturas and needing to fill the yawning void between breakfast and sunset, what to do? We went for a walk. Obviously.
El Remanso (“The Haven”) Lodge is set in many acres of rainforest, and there are several trails one can choose to walk, only a couple of which are restricted such that you need a guide to walk them. The obvious one leads to the beach. So, off we went, along a well-manicured track
which led to some steps down, at which point we realised that the route back up was going to be a bit of a challenge.
Over the whole two-and-a-quarter hours we really didn’t see much in the way of wildlife. Had we had a guide, I suspect we’d have seen more. A butterfly obligingly posed for me
but otherwise we got to the beach without noticing anything further. They’ve kindly marked the point where the trail hits the beach so you can’t get lost
and we walked along the beach trying to find interesting things to photograph. Frankly, we didn’t have a whole lot of success – its just this beach, you know? There were some hermit crabs
and a coconut shell appeared to be surprised to see us.
The powers that be at El Remanso are keen to point out that at high tide there is no beach, but that as the tide goes down some tidal pools become visible, so we went and fossicked about there for a while
and did the sort of things that one does if there’s not a lot to see.
Having fairly swiftly exhausted the entertainment possibilities, we retraced our footsteps. There was a branch that looked amusingly like something that Long John Silver might have left there
and some Frigate Birds flew over for me to photograph – I think one of them was being chased by the others. Frigate Birds are unpleasant like that.
The climb back up the track to the Lodge was, indeed, challenging – some 420 steps in oppressive heat and humidity. But we made it in the end, which made the lunchtime beer a very welcome thing indeed.
El Remanso also has some hanging bridges
so we spent a little time pottering about on the track that connected them, and then it was time for the scheduled activity of the day; a night walk. This was led by Alejandra,
a guide we’d met and chatted to during the day, who rather charmingly took off with us as soon as we turned up, leaving the other guide to deal with a group of about six people.
As is the way with these guided tours, Alejandra, whose great knowledge and enthusiasm made the tour very interesting, showed us many, many things we wouldn’t have seen had we been by ourselves. To spare you a litany of torchlit photos of insects and amphibians, I have squirreled the photos away on Flickr for you to look through if you’re interested. I will inflict a couple of highlights on you, though.
Alejandra found us a Fer-de-lance, the most poisonous snake in Costa Rica
and a Bicoloured Scorpion
which looks amazing under ultraviolet light.
We watched as an Anole Lizard gradually changed colour under the torchlight
and there were, of course, frogs, both small and large.
That was it for the day. We were due another guided tour the following day, which was a whole morning jobbie, so we took ourselves off to bed and tried for some sleep.
To start with, that bullfrog got together with his mates and they had a singing competition, very starkly (alongside games of Marco fucking Polo) underlining one of the downsides of having no glass in the windows.
I think they knew something that we didn’t at the time, because at around midnight it started raining, with optional lightning and thunder. The noise was terrific; and when it rains in Costa Rica, it can really, really mean business, and do so for many hours, e.g. in this case until 6am, when I captured this video.
We were convinced that this would mean the cancellation of the morning walk, but it didn’t – and apart from the forest trail being a little muddy in places, there was very little evidence that there had been a seven-hour deluge recently.
Our luck held and our guide, this time for a small group of six of us, was, once again, the lovely Alejandra. As before, she was able to spot things that we wouldn’t have known to look for. As before, to spare you having to scroll through endless photos of what we saw, I have put them in another Flickr album for you to look at if you’d like.
Some highlights: an Osa Anole Lizard, showing off, or possibly telling a rival to bugger off;
another Anole Lizard – Costa Rica’s answer to the chameleon – showing the sophistication of the camouflage it can adopt (the one we saw last night was bright green because of the leaf it was on);
a termite tunnel going all the way up a tree;
and a spat between spider monkeys, which we couldn’t see but could certainly hear,
all rather morosely surveyed by a howler monkey.
We even caught a glimpse of an anteater, but it was just a cream-coloured blur as it caught wind of us and shot off into the forest.
When we got back from the tour, we were lucky enough to see a couple of Scarlet Macaws. We heard them first, of course – they’re noisy critters. I managed to get this photo
and Jane rushed out to get a different angle.
This being our last day, we thought it would be a good idea to check up on the arrangements for transfer to our next destination, since we’re in a rather inaccessible spot and we knew that part of it involved catching a boat. So we asked at the font desk and….
We have to be picked up at 0420 tomorrow!!!
The ongoing story from here is a bit complicated and involves us going Off Grid for a couple of days, hence the rather hasty write-up of the twenty-four hours’ touring within the two days we’ve been here at El Remanso. I hope you feel you’re nicely up-to-date and that you can contain your souls in patience until the next update, when All Will Be Revealed.