The Americas travel blog

Squirrel Monkey

We drive down the mountains to head to Rincon de la Vieja which is getting close to the border of Nicaragua. We stop for coffee in Las Lapas, at a roadside cafe and around the back of the cafe in the trees are many, many macaws, both the red and blue coloured ones, with the blue being the rarest. They are in the trees here because there are lots of mango trees, their preferred food, so they feast on the fruit. We are busy watching and photographing them because they are so close and a black-mandibled toucan swoops down and perches on a statue in the car park and it's very, very close to us. It's wonderful to see all its colours and markings. There are signs everywhere to not feed the animals so they come and go and it was wonderful to see both the macaws and the solitary toucan so close.

We continue on, stopping at a supermarket for some snacks and something to have for a picnic. We buy wraps, ham, cheese and tomato, museli bars and water. We are to have a picnic in the Parque National Rincon de la Vieja. We continue on into the National Park and pull up in the car park. Tomas goes in to buy the tickets and our driver Carlos who only knows a bit of English yells snake. Luckily he knows the word 'snake'. We all jump up and see a yellow and black snake about 2 metres long wriggling through the grass before climbing into the tree.

Tomas comes back to advise that we will stop for the picnic but keep an eye on the weather as the sky is becoming very black and we may be in for an afternoon thunderstorm, which is common this time of the year. We eat our picnic at tables just inside the park and watch the many butterflies that are buzzing around the salvia bushes. The sky is getting blacker so we make the decision to go to the Hotel and come back to the National park tomorrow.

We check in to the loveliest Hotel. It has wooden cabins in a semi circle around from the dining and bar areas and the prettiest garden with a small lake in the middle. It is also teeming with wildlife and every time I walked around the garden I saw an animal, insect, reptile or bird that I hadn't seen before. This Hotel has lots of land adjoining it and can provide its own nature walks too.

By 3pm, it hasn't started raining, so we head out on one of the nature trails. We left the Hotel complex, walked across an open area towards the rain forest. We hadn't got too far into the forest and we saw some howler monkeys in the canopy above us. Continuing on we then saw some squirrel monkeys which were leaping from tree to tree just above our heads. Then just a few more steps along the trails we had a special treat as there were 10-12 toucans darting from one tree to another. This toucan is different from the one we saw earlier today, its a keel-billed toucan with lovely orange markings on their beaks. It is something quite special to see so many together in one place as usually you only see one or two at one time. I still can't believe we were so lucky to see so much in a very short distance but that's when our luck ran out, as the dark clouds that were somewhere above the canopy of the trees, suddenly let loose and it poured with rain. We got absolutely drenched but it was soooo worth it. After the disappointment of not seeing much wildlife in Monteverde it was amazing to have these wildlife encounters less than a 1km from our Hotel.

After a shower and change of clothes we have a drink in the bar and we eat dinner in the Hotel restaurant tonight as there are no other options. The food is simple but good, steak or fish and salad.

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