Saturday, 19 March 2016

Costa Rica - Osa Península

The sounds would have been right at home in a scary monster movie. But it was just the howler monkeys. It sounded like they and their howling screams were right outside our bungalow door on the first night (before we knew for sure what was making the sound) and they woke us up at about 4 a.m. every morning.

Our last few days in Costa Rica were spent at Lapa Rios, an eco lodge on a private reserve in the Osa Peninsula. This area is known for its incredible biodiversity in a country that is already known for biodiversity. Yes, we splurged but seeing all that we saw was well worth it. Squirrel, spider, howler and capuchin monkeys (all four kinds that reside in this area), colourful macaws (so beautiful when they fly together), toucans, many other birds, agouti, coatimundi, iguanas, sloths, spiders, bats, an armadillo and much, much more! I can hardly wait to see some of the photos Andrew took.

We did four guided hikes, one longer one on our own and several short wanders around the property to see what we could see.
On our early morning guided walk at 5:45 these squirrel monkeys were in the tree right off the deck of the main lodge.
It was the only morning we saw them there so close so we were very lucky!
The trogons were one of the few birds that actually got close enough and sat still long enough
for me to take a photo will my little camera.
Iguana in a tree.
Bats hiding under the palms. We were shown these on the night hike but they were still there the next morning.
Baby iguana.
Beautiful waterfall.
Lapa Rios is designated by National Geographic as one of the "unique lodges of the world" -- one of only two in Costa Rica with this designation. A large part of that is their environmental initiatives. For example:

  • bamboo straws 
  • no plastic bottles
  • use of biodegradable cleaning products 
  • solar panels for hot water 
  • fans only, no air conditioning
  • methane gas production from the pigs kept onsite (5 pigs produce enough to supply 4 hours of fuel per day)
  • very high percentage of food purchased from local suppliers, thereby supporting the local economy (In addition, 95% of the staff are from the local area.)
  • gradual replacement of real palm roofs with synthetic palm (Real palm has a lifespan of 5 years and destroys the rainforest; synthetic palm lifespan is 20 years. Interestingly, the synthetic palm is manufactured by a Canadian company! And unless you look closely, you wouldn't notice the difference.)
  • and I'm sure much more that I'm missing! 

Winding staircase too lookout in the main lodge area.
Really liked the wood carving at the top of the bar. Andrew working on photos!
Outside the main lodge.
Pool area, looking out towards the ocean. Shockingly, Andrew and I spent a couple hours each day
lazing by the pool and enjoying a drink. Definitely not part of our normal routine but also got to watch for birds,
iguanas, etc. from this location.
I didn't even have to get out of bed to take this sunrise photo!
Outdoor shower in private deck area of our bungalow.

Inside our bungalow.

Our only disappointment with the lodge was the food service. The staff were very nice and friendly but the service was extremely slow at times and, while there were several vegetarian options, none of the main dishes were memorable or flavourful enough that we wanted to order them a second time. This was surprising given the price and reputation of the lodge. On a positive note, the desserts were good!  :-)

Otherwise the service was great! Upon our arrival, and at the end of each guided hike, we were greeted at the entrance of the lodge by staff with glasses of ice water, juice and cold refreshing washcloths. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and it was amazing how they were able to find all the creatures they did.

Overall, a very nice and relaxing part of our holiday! 

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