Symbiosis

“See this hole?” Diego asks, pointing to a spot on the trunk of the tree just over his head. “It’s where the ants come and go.” I had noticed the trees from the first day in Costa Rica. They have flat gray bark and rings up and down their trunks and limbs. But the leaves… What beautiful amazing leaves! I could not resist turning my lens to the leaves. The locals call them “trumpet” trees. I would call them “umbrella” trees. In a sudden tropical rainstorm, one could do way worse than to take refuge under a Cecropia tree. I…

Day 6: Gimme Shelter

We stepped off the stern of the boat into crotch-deep water and waded to the black sand beach. There we were greeted by Sweetie, a lively spider monkey and ambassador-in-chief for the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary. Sweetie was 4 days old when a poacher shot her mother, intending to snatch Sweetie for the illegal pet trade. But Sweetie hit a branch as she fell, clinging to her dead mother, and began to scream. The poachers fled, leaving her to die. Today, Sweetie is part of a troop of black-handed spider monkeys that roam the Sanctuary. Every animal at the Sanctuary has…

Day 5: High drama…

…on the Sierpe River. But first, “Sierpe” is derived from the Spanish “serpiente,” meaning “serpent.” It is a tidal river, and I remember being impressed by its magnificent coils seen from the prop plane that brought me to the Osa Peninsula. On this, our penultimate day here, Captain Carlos maneuvers our pontoon boat up the river a few yards from shore. Both he and Diego, our guide, keep their eyes peeled for wildlife–birds of many stripes, iguanas, crocodiles–feeding and basking along the banks of the river. We look, too, of course, but aren’t nearly as skilled at spotting critters! “Baby…

Day 4: The Tallest Tree

So… on this day we saw toucans, a white hawk (more on that later), squirrel monkeys, a 3-toed sloth, exotic frogs and lizards and snakes. Where to begin? Late in the day, after visiting La Tarde–another wonderful, privately owned conservation project, this one in a remote mountainous area of the Osa Peninsula–a handful of us weren’t ready to call it a day. Our tireless guide, Dennis, took us to Miramar, an area of steep roads and astonishing views. From one of those views, we looked out over a valley and encountered this giant of a tree–standing head and shoulders above…

Day 3: A la Playa

Dear friends: When I am old and decrepit and no longer good for anything on this earth, please take me to this beach on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica and lay me down among the hermit crabs and coconuts. There I will peacefully and happily drift off to paradise and never notice the transition. However…, to get there, I assume will require one more trip up Highway 245, one more bouncy, bone-jarring, teeth rattling ride! In a Land Rover with Michael driving, please, because he travels this road every day to work and is intimately acquainted with every pothole….

Day 2: Butterflies, frogs &…

…more monkeys, of course! Like this family that expressed it’s disdain for the camera wielding touristos below. Please note: There’s a baby on mama’s back. How perfect would this photo be if the baby had also been making a face at me! And, yes, daddy is sticking out his tongue… Don’t blame you! The monkeys were on the grounds of the resort, where we started our day with a tour that included crododile lagoon. Or course, there were crocs! In the afternoon, we visited Osa Interactive Garden, a truly amazing place. It is a privately-owned restoration project in Puerto Jimenez,…

Day 1: Monkeys!

Yes, but the day began with a delightful flight from San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, to Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula. And from there, we piled into Land Rovers–some of us. The lucky ones got into a Mercedes van! Let me introduce you to the roads of Costa Rica. Actually, I need to go back and take a few photos of the pothole filled road–a short stretch from the airport to our beautiful resort Crocodile Bay. A much longer stretch of truly rough road awaited us for our afternoon Monkey Tour. Folks, I’m going to have to…