We developed a habit of waking up at 5:30am, with the bird calls and distant howling monkeys. Our checkout wasn’t until 10:30, that’s a good 5 hours we could use exploring the nearby national park, at the best time of day. Under the pink dawn skies we walked through town to the park, picking up coffee while we waited for the park to open at 6am.
At the entrance, on a pristine golden beach that sweeps around into the distance, a little blue heron danced amongst the waves, looking for its fishy breakfast. Such an elegant bird.
We followed the same trail as before, and found the same common hawk, still on the lookout for an easy meal. We also found a two-toed sloth and baby by ourselves, sleeping high up in the treetops.
We didn’t see any Toucans, well not while we were there, but Sam did take photos of random trees and plants, and on closer inspection, back at home, we noticed that she’d accidentally photographed two Keel-billed toucans. As you do.
The trail hugs the coast as it passes around the national park and occasionally opens up onto the beach. Without shade, and even as early as 8am, these sections were sweltering – a few solitary sandpipers dared the heat. The tide was out so we could cross the Rio Suarez pool without getting wet. Beyond it the vegetation changed, there were more palms, and more big golden orb weaver spiders hanging perilously close to the path. One of the webs housed the large dominant female, and we spotted a cautious male approaching slowly from the side, too slowly for us to hang around and see what happened. We passed the same brown eyelash pit viper again, and were startled by large squirrels playing in the trees.
Near to Rio Suarez we found a beautiful female green Jesus Christ lizard, standing perfectly still, it was being pecked at by mosquitos. A good opportunity to try out the 400mm lens. Some agouti were scuttling about in the undergrowth too, and before us a small creature darted across the path, a small furry thing which looked like it had a big shell, almost certainly an armadillo, but too fast to photograph, and soon all we could hear was it crunching through the forest floor.
We hoped that on the way back the sloth and baby might be a bit more active, but a couple of hours later they were still sleeping in the same place. Alas, the pictures would have to be a furry a ball in a tree, and the tiny clasped hand of a young ’un.
Soon enough we were back at the hotel, checking out and jumping on our next Interbus transfer to La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano.