In March, 2001 we headed down to Costa Rica for a couple of weeks. What an exciting place to observe wildlife of all types! Bounded by Pacific and Atlantic coasts, Costa Rica has varied climatic zones and topography making rainforest, sandy beach, tropical river, and cloud forest habitats each home to unique types and species of animals. Birds, monkeys, caymans, iguanas, coati, and peccary, are just a few of the animals we found here. One trip member documented the names of the 102 different species of birds we observed! Colorful and exotic birds like: parrots, toucans, quetzals, bellbirds, and kingfishers.
And the attraction isn’t just limited to animals. Volcán Arenal put on an evening show for us spewing lava out the top and down its steep slopes. There are also countless varieties of plant life with their own complex communities. Flowers, trees, and ferns growing in layers from the floor, up to, and beyond the forest canopy.
A special note about our guide, Federico Munoz. In addition to his easygoing and warm personality, Federico has a wealth of knowledge about Costa Rica. He literally wrote the book on Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica, and he wove together much about history, culture, flora and fauna, and ecology during this trip. Without him we would have walked right past 90% of the highlights of our trip, and not really understood the significance of what we saw.
Costa Rica is not to be missed, and this trip hosted by Wilderness Travel was a great way to get us introduced to Central American wildlife. If you prefer not to go with an organized group, this country is easy and safe to get around on your own. But do plan to spend some time exploring with an experienced guide – it will definitely enhance your experience.
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