2 Great Days

After rain on Monday and Tuesday barely a drizzle yesterday and – Sun today! And a pretty good view of Volcan Arenal from the Arenal 1968 private reserve. I’ll start with a photo of that. We were so excited to see it and it looked promising that the clouds surrounding the tip might clear off, but in fact it got cloudier. But first, a few photos of the volcano.

You can almost see the peak!
Shrouded, but blue sky providing hope.

A relaxing, casual 2.5 mile walk through jungle and over the lava flow from the 1968 eruption. In New Mexico, we’d call this the malpais. And in NM it does look more bad ass, bad lands. Here, with all the rain, the lava is softened.

The misty light also smooths out the harshness of the black rock.

At the park entrance are the usual restrictions, prohibitions, and list of creatures you might see: snakes, spiders, birds, caymans, sloths, howler monkeys. We saw birds – two different herons on Lago Pato – which is also where the caymans purportedly were. I very diligently kept still and peered up into foliage looking for sloths and monkeys. Nada. We did hear the howlers, but they sounded quite far away. Yesterday, at Mistico Hanging Bridges, we saw howlers, but did not hear them. I may have mentioned that we heard them on the trail through the woods near our casita. They are loud! We were informed that the males have an Adam’s Apple three times larger than a human’s. Thus they are able to amplify their calls.

We elected to take a guided tour at Mistico and were very happy we did. The guide was knowledgable and equipped with flashlight, binoculars, and a scope for ease of viewing. We saw a tarantula living in a hole in the side of the earth, just waiting for prey to happen by. We saw some birds through the scope we would not otherwise have been able to witness with such clarity.

Male and female owls
Rufous motmot
Rufous-tail Jacamar

Alonzo, our guide went through a solid month of training to be a guide here. Misitico is privately held land – 600 acres – that the family opened to the public 20 years ago. It must have taken 20 years before that to prepare it. The paths are paving stones; there are handrails; the system of suspended bridges is extensive. We marveled at the team of engineers it must have taken to create this wonder: civil, geo-physical, ecological… Workers are out cleaning leaves from the walkways at various points – not too many to be intrusive. Then there is the training and equipment that the guides have.

Following are some photos from the walk.

One of the suspended bridges
I don’t recall the name of this tree. It’s referred to as the broccoli tree.
Tree canopy from suspended bridge.
Translucent fern, considered to be a prehistoric plant. It allows light to pass through to life below it.
Leaf-cutter ants, often referred to as the Costa Rican army. (Costa Rica has no army. It was abolished in 1948 by Jose “Pepe” Figueres when the new constitution was written after a civil war. Funds are used to support education, culture, and security.

Charlie takes a lot more photos than do I, so go to his post for more.

I started out writing about today, so here are a few more photos from our leisurely hike.

This was particularly beautiful en vivo. The “strings” hanging down are actually flowers!
Just jungle.
Bromeliads (is this actually one?) can hold up to 8 liters of water. Remember that next time you’re stranded in a jungle with an empty water bottle.
Really, really tall grass. Yes, it is a type of grass.
At the lava summit mirador. The Costa Rican flag: the blue on top and bottom represent the two oceans – Caribe and Pacific; the red in center symbolizes blood shed for independence; the white band stands for peace.

Erg. I published and then went to check and my last paragraph was not saved. I may also have had a final photo. Is it WordPress or is it my Bluetooth keyboard?

I did want to report that I swam in Lago Arenal. Under the sun it was a clear green and cool, but not cold. And so clean! I was reminded of days by Lago Atitlan in Guatemala.

Got to watch the sun set behind the trees tonight and the bats come out. What a symphony of insect sounds surrounds us tonight. It’s nice enough to sit and write on the patio. It smells sweet and fresh. We are enjoying the just right amount of humidity. Even with all the rain, it’s not suffocating. I have been comfortable night and day. It’s clear why people would want to relocate here. And by here, I mean here in Arenal – for now. We’ll see what the rest of the country brings…

Hasta mañana. Big hugs.

5 thoughts on “2 Great Days

  1. Jerry January 23, 2020 / 10:05 pm

    I very much enjoy your knowledgeable commentary. Hooray for the sun!


  2. Myron January 24, 2020 / 7:33 am

    Hi Paula and Charlie, Glad you are skipping out on a bit of winter in ABQ! Love your photos and insights!


    • pgsteele4 January 24, 2020 / 7:27 pm

      Hi! Costa Rica was a bit of a last minute let’s go there! Found good airfare and it’s all falling in to place. Thinking so much of Pana while in Arenal. Similar, but so different, too. I wonder if Pana has changed a lot in the 30 years (!) since I’ve been. Would I be shocked?


  3. pamela January 25, 2020 / 5:06 pm

    Wow really lovely!
    With Gratitude, Pamela


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