Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Costa Rica Day 3: Santa Elena Night Walk

On Day 3, we were picked up at 8:30am to be transported to our next destination, Monteverde. 

We took a jeep-boat-jeep (also known as taxi-water-taxi), which in my head I had imagined to be a Ducks Boat situation. Yes, I actually thought there'd be a jeep that would drive us to the lake, swallow its wheels to float across, and then re-extend the wheels and then drive us the rest of the way. (Does this even exist?)

No, it was just a shuttle that dropped us off at a ferry. And another shuttle that drove us to Santa Elena.

It was actually a really great transportation option. We'd heard it takes hours longer to drive around the lake because of the road conditions, and the ferry ride was perhaps only an hour long – short, calm and sweet.

Moments after getting on the ferry at Lake Arenal 
The view from the boat, with Arenal Volcano in the distance

All in all, the trip took about 3.5 hours.

We arrived at our Airbnb (my favorite of the trip!). Our superhost welcomed us with zucchini bread, homemade passionfruit juice (from the vines in her garden), and proceeded to help us plan all of our activities in the area.

We decided to relax that afternoon, and do the Santamaria Night Walk, which was through a transitional forest close to the town center of Santa Elena. Night hikes are popular because most creatures (particularly insects, spiders, snakes) are nocturnal and come alive only after the sun sets.

Leaf-mimicking katydid 
Leaf mimicking katydid – this one is an older, brown leaf!

You really need to go with a guide. They are able to spot things that you'd never see. The have powerful focused flashlights that help them detect the glimmer of mammal eyes, and skills to distinguish walking sticks from sticks and leaf-mimicking katydids from actual leaves (which is no small feat).

We saw fireflies, many insects and spiders, a juvenile hedgehog, and a sloth (which move much faster than I thought!).

Walking stick

Other Costa Rica posts:

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