All I wanted to see when I got to Costa Rica was a sloth. I mean who doesn't love a sloth? We are going where they just hang out wild in trees everywhere. Bring on the sloths! I've heard numerous stories of all the amazing animals you get to see when you are in Costa Rica, but on our trip, we were not quite that lucky. I think the animals said "Amy is here, let's vacate the premises!" HA!
Our very first stop was the Lucky Bug B&B. The property is beautiful and lush and the hosts were fantastic, but did we see any parrots, toucans or sloths? Nope! But how can you be upset with views like these?
We did see some cool frogs, however! We ate delicious typical Tico food at a local restaurant, drank wine with the hosts and got to fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle. I highly recommend staying at the Lucky Bug. It was the first of many magical moments.
Moving on we visited the Hanging Bridges park and we actually had to put socks on under our Merrills because of the snakes and bugs that could bite our feet. Did we see these bugs or snakes? Nope! (Thank goodness!) But the views from the hanging bridges were breathtaking and visiting the waterfall where the Blue Morpho butterfly hangs out was totally worth it! It was such a happy surprise to see several of these beauties floating gracefully down the waterfall.
Sloth? Nope...but not for lack of craning my neck looking for them.
From there we headed La Fortuna near the Arenal volcano to the Treehouses Hotel. I was just positive we are going to see so many animals at the Treehouses. I mean, we're staying among the trees in a jungle for Pete's sake! Bring on the parrots, toucans, sloths, tree frogs! As soon as we get there and start checking in, we hear there's a sloth and her baby in a tree nearby. I am PSYCHED at this news. They take you on night hikes to see cool night animals; there's howler monkeys at the back of the property; there are hummingbirds galore.
Our first introduction was this fantastic little guy! He made the trip worth it up to this point! One of the landscapers on the property found him and brought him over. It was love at first sight! He has to be the coolest creature I've ever seen.
So we checked in full of excitement of all the animals we were going to see. Let's go find the sloth and baby. Let's go see the howler monkeys. Let's see what birds we will discover.
Aside from the swarms of hummingbirds, which kept me fascinated for quite some time, we saw none of the animals we wanted to see. Oh, they were there, but we're pretty sure they were hiding from us...specifically. Another family told us all about all the fascinating creatures they saw...sloths, howlers, parrots, toucans. We hiked the property and HEARD the howlers...which sound quite scary up close, didn't see them. We HEARD the flocks of parrots, didn't see them. We HEARD of a sloth and baby in a tree, didn't see them.
However, our night walk around the property with the night guard was fascinating! He knew exactly where to look and could find creatures we never would have found without his keen eye and expertise. We saw a tarantula, several tree frogs and a carnivorous frog.
In our continuous search for a sloth, we decided to hike Arenal volcano. We found a great section to hike for a minimal fee and set off with a dream in our hearts! As I'm traipsing through the jungle without a care in the world, searching the trees for super cool animals, my husband was on the lookout for all the killer snakes and insects like he sees on Naked and Afraid. Can you guess how many creatures we saw? You got it! Zip, zilch, nada! But we did get some beautiful views and we got to walk down a lava flow. It's not everyday you get to do that! On our way out, we did get a tip on where there was a sloth hanging out so we hightailed it over, but no luck. Wah Wah!
However, on our last day at the treehouses, we finally saw some toucans. I'm pretty sure I jumped for joy clapping my hands! Amazing! I wish we had better photos of them, but it's ok, that image will forever be in my mind!
After all the animal searching, we decided to take matters into our own hands and made an appointment to visit and volunteer at the local animal rescue center, Proyecto Asis. The center educates people on native Costa Rican animals, as well as, taking care of them with the ultimate goal of releasing them back to the wild. There are animals here like the blue and hybrid macaws that will never be able to go back to the wild because they are not native to Costa Rica and would never survive. We saw and fed spider monkeys, parrots, anteaters, a honey badger and peccaries Our guide was extremely informative and it was fascinating to learn about these beautiful creatures. After we freed ourselves from what we thought was a locked parrot cage, (insert brief moment of panic here) we fed the baby monkey and were told that was the end of our tour. Our guide was such a trickster...he was saving the best for last!
You got it! A three month old SLOTH!!! Finally, I saw a sloth! Be still my beating heart! He came to rescue center after his momma was hit by a car. He will learn how to be a sloth and then get released back to the wild. I could have stood there all day to watch him and have to admit, I was kinda dying to hold him, but alas, we had to admire his smiling face from afar. As far as I was concerned, my trip was made complete!
Though, we still had six more days at the beach, I could go home happy.
Would I visit Costa Rica again? In a heartbeat! Maybe next time, the animals will be glad to see me there and surround me like they do the princesses in the Disney movies! There are so many treasures and magical moments in this land of Pura Vida! The land, the animals and the people are beautiful!
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