This week we have been a little busy. Hence, the neglected blog. At the end of February, the end of our beach vacation was also there and we had to get back on the road. This time in the direction of the region that many consider the wildest and most remote in Costa Rica: the Osa peninsula.
For reference, let’s say that where we’ve been so far – with the vipers, tarantulas, scorpions and other critters – is a walk in the park compared to what awaits us in Osa. Like warming up before the marathon. This tiny peninsula is home to 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity. And here we are going to live and work as volunteers for the next 3-4 months.
So last week and with the car loaded up to the brim, we said goodbye to Manchita (with sadness) and the creatures of the night (less so) and headed towards Monteverde, one of the last cloud forests in the world. According to google maps, the trip was approximately 3 hours. But Frank, who has declared war on Google, uses “Maps for me.” Five hours after our departure, we continued to climb the mountain on a dusty road with 45 degrees of inclination and with the 4 × 4 in full gear. Shit, I thought. We are lost, again! With a cold sweat running down my forehead I ask Frank if we are going in the right direction. “I think so,” he says without much conviction. He starts the mobile and says “Oh wait, the GPS has stopped working a while ago and …”. Anyway. Let’s say we enjoyed the rest of the way in silence.
Upon arriving at our hotel and telling the owner about our misadventures along the way, we learn that on the other side of the mountain, Monteverde is reached by a newly paved road. No comment.
The next day we had a tour to see birds with a specialized guide. We got up at dawn, hung up our binoculars and the camera and showed up in head-to-toe safari gear at 6am sharp at the right spot. A parking lot in front of a cafeteria. Iit does not sound at all attractive, right?, but the truth is that in the first 30 minutes and without leaving the parking lot our guide had sighted and identified at least 30 different birds. One per minute. And each one more beautiful.
After giving a couple of roundsthrough the parking lot and surrounding areas, we had a coffee and headed to the Curi-Cancha reserve. And there, as soon as we entered, a pair of emerald toucans and three quetzals were waiting for us. Two males and one female.
In what took us to set the telescope and camera, we were surrounded by about 50 tourists who had come running knowing that a quetzal had been sighted. Apparently, it does not happen every day nor does it happen that close. And the truth is, I understand the fuzz. It is a spectacular bird! And as a friend of ours says, it is not shy at all. He was there, without moving, during the whole day, I suppose, observing the hordes of tourists who came to see him.
We continued on our way. At the end of the morning we had seen more than 50 different species of birds, thanks to the ability of our guide to recognize the different calls of the birds and search through the bush until he found them. Here you can see some of the photos we took.
The next day we went to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, where we met our guide the day before, this time with a group of Japanese. All 40 of them with their safari hat, their binoculars and their notepad running behind the guide. A vision. I guess they enjoyed the guide as much as we did because we only heard Ohh! Ahhh! Ooohhh!