Monday, 3 December 2012

Curu Wildlife Refugio

I had booked in two nights at the cabins in the refugio and I wasn't expecting anything fancy, I knew it would be basic accommodations but I wasn't up for really rundown, rickety, don't want to touch anything type place. The boys weren't that pleased either.. "it's dirty".. "it's old".. "I don't like this place".. " I hate this place".. and I had it in my mind that we would not stay another night.  We made due with the faint breeze from the one fan and a bit of breeze from the window and we were all able to sleep (even though the bed sheets felt damp and musty).  We had already paid for both the nights and had arranged for breakfast and dinner the next day as well.. so we were sort of committed but that night I was running through in my head how I was going to tell them we weren't staying. Well.. in the end.. we decided to just stick it out.. deal with it.. (Lo Que Hay right?). It was a great location (right on the beach.. the kids had a blast with the hermit crabs on the beach the next morning) and the original plan was still sound.. to be right in the refugio so we could walk the trails and immerse ourselves in the tropical forest. And it's amazing what a good breakfast can do for your spirits.. so with full bellies, and grumblings of our accommodations behind us, we set off on the trails to see what we could see.. 

entrance to Curu

Looks good from the outside.. but inside.. we'll.. even Eric wasn't happy.

nice wild beach.. just meters from our cabin

hermit crab convention.. there were thousands on the beach..
We saw a troop of white throated capuchin monkeys,  many blue morpho butterflies (they are big and  brilliant blue), an agouti which  looks like a "big guinea pig", and we saw The Lizard of all lizards.. the Jesus Christ Lizard (Basiliks)  - the ones that run across the water. That was really something because the boys have been talking about Basilik lizards the whole trip and even before we left home.  Sean sighted a lizard on a stick by the river.. and just as we were figuring out what it was and where it was (it camouflaged quite well on the tree branch).. it scuttled across the river just like that.. you should have heard the shouts of excitement when we realized we just saw the Balisik Lizard! Liam was jumping up and down (literally)..Sean's face was in open amazement but no sound..and I was so excited too "wow.. that is so amazing!." Eric was further up the trail and didn't get to see it but got the full blow by blow account of how it all unfolded. We ended up seeing quite a few more on the trail as we went along and got to the point of stopping by the edge of the river to stomp or through a stick as we'd be sure there were be a scurry across the river. They are really cool looking.. especially the bigger ones.. they  look like little dragons with their frill back and whip like tail. But sorry.. no pictures.. they were just too fast. 

trail went over the estuary and into the mangrove 

The boys loved this crab with the one big claw

"buttress trees" -not sure what the real name is

white throated capuchin monkey

So.. after the excitement of seeing the first Basilik lizard, and a bit further along the trail,  we were following a group of white-faced monkeys and ventured off the path a bit to get a better look and also we thought we heard something along the river that we thought we'd investigate. Liam, Sean and I had given up and were wondering back along the trail when Eric motioned us back.. silently, yet urgently.. like he saw something good! .. "come quick.. but be quite!". We crept along trying not to let the dry leaves under our feet make too much noise.. and didn't even know what we were so urgently trying to see.. and then stopped with a big breath intake..  a Crocodile with it's jaw wide open.. and  a big crocodile too! I was so amazed that I was seeing it for real, not a movie, or crocodile hunter episode.. though I think that was on our minds (Sean had just done his homeschooling project on crocodiles and there were many a youtube clip of crocodiles' lightening quick attacks on large animals).  We were all there gazing, awed that we were witness to this beast in the wild.. and then it did move lightening fast.. but in the direction of the water.. and with a swoosh.. he vanished into the river. So fast!  We just couldn't believe our luck.. a Basilik and now a Crocodile.. two of the all time "wish list .. to see" and we saw them both in one day.. within one hour of each other. 

notice his yellow eyes?

We have a little book that we record  all the animals we see on our trip and I think we filled out a page and half in just one day at Curu Wildlife Refugio!  The other highlight was seeing Spider Monkeys.. though they weren't in the "wild" but on the grounds.. they were in an enclosure and there were three rescue Spider monkeys and a goat (to keep the grass cut). It was sad to see a pen around them after walking several hours through the forest and seeing wildlife abound. One of the spider monkeys was habituated to people and came over to the fence and stuck his hand out for a hand cuddle! It was so amazing to have a four fingered little monkey hand holding our hands (they have such delicate little hands too...with little fingernails) .. reaching out to make contact. (sad though too.)  

I'm still blown away by all that we saw there and Costa Rica is amazing me with all the wildlife.. it's everywhere! 

yellow headed Gecko

Red Brocket Deer

not sure what type of bird this is.. it's not on our Quick Guide ... but interesting looking!

With  an amazing sunrise, we left the wilds of Curu Refugio this morning and took the ferry to Puntarenas (crossing the Golfo de Nicoya) and drove to the  small town of Atenas in the central highlands - back to civilization with the sounds of cars, dogs barking, and the conveniences town life. We are here  for the week while we take spanish lessons!

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