Santa Elena

Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
1
51
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Trip End May 02, 2010


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Saturday, January 23, 2010

Took the scenic route around Lake Arenal and changed in Tilaran for Sta Elena. Didn't take as long as anticipated - think the road had recently been regraded, so after settled into hostel, took a stroll around the village. Glad I got a place with a kitchen as same problem - overpriced restaurants or same old sodas being the options.

Decided to check out one of the local cloud forest reserves that are the biggest reason for coming here but as a sunday only the very early buses and lunch buses running - as they cost at least $14 per person you need about a week to get your money's worth but I had to settle for 6 hours. Settle it was - as the lady at the hostel said, "there are no animals in Santa Elena" reserve and she was right!

The best thing I saw was a tarantula - other than that it was just dull little birds & one small black very fast rodenty thing. You can tell by all the flower photos - things were desperate!

The consolation prize as I waited for the bus were the beautiful blue hummingbirds - not sure, mind, how ethical it is to feed them - what are they failing to cross polinate while sucking in that sugar solution?!

Took the bus to Monteverde reserve in the afternoon to see if they'll let me in for a reduced rate
for 2 hours or as I'd been booked on the night tour - no way Jose! Walked back to town the 6km from there - saw a really big group of capuchins near the road, which was more than another guy from the hostel saw in the park having paid his $17 entry fee!! Did speak to another lady who'd taken a guided walk & she'd seen the resplendant quetzal and an alingo, so knew there was some stuff there.

Sadly, none in evidence in my 2 hour guided night walk - one tiny brown frog, one common sleeping bird & a tarantula didn't warrant to $20 fee. Here too there were hummingbird feeders though at night they attract bats. Don't be mislead by the park figures of the number of mammal species in the park - of the 72, 60 are bats!

The rain and wind which came on an hour before the walk didn't help I'm sure but even so the reserve employed guide was not good.

The wind continued to howl and blow around sheets of corrugated metal roofing, so that together with the cold (2 blankets not enough), upset stomach and 5am hawking & door banging risers, sleep was elusive.


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