07-24-17 Post 2 – Out of the Cloud Forest and heading towards the Pacific Coast …

Just a quick note to viewers to let you know posts are a bit behind due to intermittent and sometimes totally absent internet service.  We will post whenever we can, and topics / days could be out of time order.  Many apologies!  We have taken so many photographs between all of us, that it will take quite a while to post everything.  Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Tomorrow we head to the dry forests and mangrove swamps of Nosara and Ostional on the Pacific coast, leaving the tropical Caribbean coast and cloud forest behind.  We are two-thirds of the way through the trip, so are on the last leg of our amazing journey. We stop at Las Pumas Wild Animal Sanctuary tomorrow, where course participants will get the opportunity to see some beautiful animals like pumas, jaguars, and ocelots to name a few.  If it were not for this sanctuary, these rehabilitated animals would not have survived.

In the coming days students will learn about the amazing adaptability of the plants and trees in the mangrove swamps in Nosara, and hopefully get the opportunity to witness nesting of the Olive Ridley turtles in Ostional, much like we witnessed the nesting process of the Green turtles in Tortuguero.  What an amazing trip this has been, and students have seen a variety of ecosystems, and life zones.

More posts to follow in the coming days!  Pura Vida!

Venado Cave Pics from 07-17, Day 6

In an earlier post , we shared about our trip through the Venado Caves, and promised pictures.  Here they are!  We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed the experience!  Pura Vida!



7-24-17 – Day 13 of 18 – Out of the Cloud Forest

Today is Day 13 of our 18 day trip around this amazing country of Costa Rica.  We just hiked out of the cloud forest, having spent several days at the San Gerardo field station, which is run by Giovanni and his wife Ibania. Their son Andre’ has grown a lot since our last visit! What wonderful people, and what an amazing cook Ibania is!  We were well taken care of.  Students enjoyed the hammocks that were hung the entire length of the upstairs porch, outside the rooms. This set-up provides an incredible view of Lake Arenal and Arenal Volcano.  The region is situated near the Continental Divide, so gets frequent rains from the Caribbean side of the Divide.  The frequent presence of clouds and rain often obscures the peak of Arenal, which was the case during our stay, but the serenity and beauty of the forest made up for it! We think students will agree that this was one of the most peaceful places during our trip.

During our time at the field station, course participants enjoyed some much-needed project time and multiple walks in the forest learning about cloud forest ecology and  the biology of this area.  This included medicinal plants, epiphytes, mammals like the coati and agouti, a host of insects, and many birds, including a myriad of wrens, tanagers, vultures, and so many others that are either residents or migrants.  The birders in the group had the rare opportunity to go on 6am birding walks with our guide, Mark Wainwright.  What an unbelievable and unsurpassed experience this was.  The bird biodiversity in this region is incredible.  On our way out of the field station today we saw a White Hawk Pseudastur albicollis, which for all of us who saw it, was a truly spiritual moment. Hopefully our pictures will capture the beauty of all the animals and plants we photographed.