Halfway through and so much more to see!
So that's it, Arenal was maybe the place we enjoyed the "least" so far as it was very touristic, as was our hotel. But hey, reality check! We're cruising through Costa Rica so you won't hear us complaining :)
Day 9: Arrival at our hotel Arenal Paraiso Resort & Spa in La Fortuna
Arriving at our hotel in La Fortuna, we immediately noticed there were more orchids to be spotted. La Fortuna lies a bit higher that the other places we've been, so that's a major factor that influences orchid diversity! For example, this Catasetum maculatum just hanging in our hotel:
And the one we see hanging literally everywhere is this Oerstedella schummaniana, what's up with those colour variations in the flowers?!
And last but not least, this Epidendrum hunterianum is not too uncommon to spot, from the Carribean coast all the way to Arenal
Day 10: Day and night walks at Ecocentro Danaus - how a compact reforested area looks after 17 years of care
Okay so not too many new things to be seen for us here, but an impressive show of nature's force at regrowing!
This is where we met some new birds, which instantly became one of our favourites so far! Meet this beatiful juvenile Boat-billed Heron, which popped up later on as well during our walk.
At the end of our walk, we stumbled upon this nice specimen of Spathoglottis plicata, our first terrestrial orchid in Costa Rica!
We had a very nice guide, who hooked us up with a quick dip to the La Fortuna waterfall. Maybe we should mention the words "recently installed orchid trail" got us signing up immediately :)
But first, our night walk at Ecocentro Danaus!
Okay so you guessed it...frogs, frogs, and more frogs! This guy above is called The Hourglass Treefrog (Hyla ebraccata), which we saw now and then during our walk, but his very loud cousin Hyla phlebodes was everywhere, blowing out our eardrums...if you're thinking of adopting a tree frog and still want to sleep at night, don't go for this one :)
Can you spot the little 28 millimeter monster?!
Add to the party: this Horned Katydid (referred to as Rhinoceros grasshopper by our guide)!
Day 11: Quick dip in La Fortuna waterfall and a walk along the orchid trail on the way there
This orchid trail is looking very promising, but still young so keep that in mind when looking at the pictures!
So they're trying a bit of everything here: Stanhopea, Lepanthes, Laelia, Catasetum, Restrepia and many more, simply tied on trunks and left to grow. Imagine this in 10 years!
Here are a few we spotted along the way:
Day 12: Arenal Hanging Bridges tour - big group, but lucky strike!
This tour was a bit more...commercial than what we're used to, but the guide was very enthousiastic and did his best to explain everything we encountered.
Not too much new to be added to our blog, we're not going to keep on spamming you with sloths (yes, we've really seen quite a few now), but these three are totally worth mentioning: first, this big Rufous Motmot. This one's the largest Motmot to be found in Costa Rica and a first for us.
Second newcomer is this magnificent Eyelash Palm Pit viper, that's very well camouflaged as...birdpoop. Not a great background story, but beautiful nonetheless!
And for the big bang finale...Spider Monkeys! We just ran into their whole tribe of 30-40 specimens. This is the first we've seen of those and were very lucky indeed, these guys can be quite elusive. Enjoy!
Plans for tomorrow: get a ride to Monteverde Cloud Forest lodge! At an elevation of 1000 meters and up, we should really be getting close to our miniature orchid madness. We'll keep you posted!