Thursday, December 1, 2011

La Fortuna Y Volcano Arenal!

Today we awoke in La Fortuna just at the base of Arenal, the most active volcano in all of Costa Rica (and maybe all of Central America.

Arenal - Clouds cover the peak
In the morning we went to the Arenal Hanging Bridges hike through the rain forest canopy which was awesome.  In the afternoon we hiked Arenal.

The hanging bridges hike was across the small valley in the shadow of Arenal.  Some of the hanging bridges were well over 100 feet above the forest floor.  We saw some amazing plants and got to witness the three dimensional ecosystem nature of the Rain Forest.

Here are some pictures from the trip:

Initial Bridge into the Forest
Lower Canopy
Mid Level Canopy

Amazing Waterfall

Jurassic Park?

Looking Down at one of the bridges

And maybe the highlight of the trip was getting to see my first Fer de Lance!

Fer de Lance

Next it was on to ARENAL

One Day Orchid
The Path In


Volcanic Rock Road

A Volcanic Lahar

Another One Day Orchid

What a beetle!!

Climbing the Lava Flow

Making it to the Top

Lava Flow Remant

Far as we can go towards the summit

View of CR´s largest lake

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Heading to the volcano Arenal


Today we left Sarapiqui and the Selva Verde Hotel and headed for La Fortuna.  We had a great visit in the rain forest at our hotel (it is part of the only continguous corridor of protected rain forest running from the sea to 9000 ft above sea level), Tirimbina, and the La Selva Biological Research Station.

Here are some more pictures of the amazing days in Sarapiqui:

Bullet Ant Do not touch handrails!
Golden Orb Weaver

Night Hike 
La Selva
Butterfly Caterpillar

Butterfly Pupa

Butterfly Pair

Huge Antler Tree

Bridge at Tirimbina
Sphinx Moth

Visited an agricultural middle high school on the way to La Fortuna today (The Instituto Agropecuario Costaricense).  It was a great experience to see high school kids working on agricultural research!  They are a technical school focused on three primary thrusts, agriculture using sustainable agriculture techniques, computer science and Ecotourism!

Here are a few pictures of the school and some of the wildlife we found at Selva Verde and at the school:

Coconut Weevil - it was huge!

Here is where we left this morning

This is the entrance to the school we visited


Organic Crops 

Lettuce Transplants to be grown hydroponically in inert rock

Yes they have Saddlebacks here too (muy grande!)

Making Recycled Paper

One of the biggest trees I´ve every seen

Reserch Plot (rice in foreground!)

Meat production at the school

The National Tree of Costa Rica  - The  Guanacosta Tree

Tomorrow we take a tour on the canopy bridges and in the afternoon we´re hiking Arenal.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

La Selva Biological Research Station

Buenos Dias!

Today we travelled to La Selva Biological Research Station which is a huge (almost 1800 hectares - a little over two acres each) tropical research station responsible for much of the worlds biological research done in the tropics.  We worked on an invasive species project, planted some native ornamentals and took a hike into the forest where we had to cross another swinging bridge that was easily over 200 feet long.  On the hike we saw toucans, peccaries (wild sort-of pigs), strangler figs, huge trees, and we got up close to some Howler Monkeys!

Here are some of the pictures:

Srangler Fig
Owl Butterfly

400 year old tree

Immature Basilisk Lizard

Swinging Bridge

Howler Monkey!
 I have been having some computer problems but hopefully I will be able to keep posting.

Have a great day!