Thursday, March 24, 2016

Costa Rica Day 1 - March 16, 2016

I can't believe it has been 4 years since we last ventured to the rain forest.  That's far too long.  So, we decided to rectify that recently and travel back to Costa Rica.  But this time, our plan was to see some other parts of the country and hopefully some new wildlife.

After a late arrival in San Jose (1:30AM), and with a 5:30AM alarm, we were anything but bright and bushy-tailed the first day.  But, we had a special breakfast to go to so that was good motivation.

That breakfast was at the Toucan Rescue Ranch to see some of the rescued wildlife they have.  Unfortunately, most of the rescues are former pets that are too habituated to be released back to the wild.  But, they will have a much better life here than they would have as pets.  The ranch does have lots of Toucans, about 40 owls, and some great mammals like otter, tayra, and oncilla.  But, the stars of the day were the baby sloths.  Who doesn't like sloths?!

Three-toed Sloth (Rescued)

Three-toed Sloth (Rescued)

Especially, when they are tiny Two-toed Sloths...

Two-toed Sloth Babies (Rescued)

Feeding Time

That trio sure went through a lot of carrots and beans while we were watching.  Leslie and her team at the ranch work tirelessly to give abused animals a better life which is great to see.  But, they also take in wild animals and after rehabilitation release them back into the wild.  It's a great place to visit and they even have some cabins for overnight stays that looked great.  It's definitely worth a visit if you are in the area and all proceeds go to a really good cause.

I should mention that the drive from our San Jose hotel to the Toucan Rescue Ranch was bad.  Traffic was a nightmare and drivers don't tend to follow basic traffic rules in Costa Rica.  So, we were sure glad the we hired Anywhere Costa Rica to handle our transfers.  It was bad enough sitting in the back seat for these transfers let alone being the driver.

After a 4 hour drive from Toucan Rescue Ranch, we made it safely to Arenal Observatory Lodge.  We were shaken, but not too stirred, thanks to the many bumpy, narrow and winding roads along the way.  So, it was nice to get out for some fresh air and walk around a bit.  The views from the lodge are spectacular.  In fact, here is the view of Arenal from our room (Smithsonian #29) which we think had the best views in the place:


The lodge has a viewing deck and they put out fruit on multiple feeders that attract a slew of birds and a few mammals too.  I'm not too fond of taking pictures of wildlife on feeders so I don't have too many, but here's one that I took when the Montezuma Oropendolas had taken over:

Montezuma Oropendola at Feeding Station

Multiple Tanagers, Warblers, Great Curassow and Honeycreepers also frequented the feeders as well as White-nosed Coati (On the ground feeder not pictured).

Day 1 ended early for us after a decent dinner at the lodge.  We were just too tired to venture out after dark and decided to get some much needed rest instead.

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