This post is about another guided walk I did when in Costa Rica. This one was a bit different from the others because: (1) it was done after sunset, and (2) it was a man-made park. Parque Natural Roca Dura is just outside the town of La Fortuna, which is where most people stay if they are visiting Volcan Arenal, and used to be cattle land until the current owner began converting it back to typical rainforest habitat. It is now full of wildlife and well worth a visit! I have already done posts before about some of the species I saw here, but I think this is a better way to describe when I saw them.
The first wildlife we saw was a Two-toed Sloth, which Geovani (our guide) showed us through a telescope. I took a poor-quality photo but you can still see the sloth curled up on the branch. I couldn’t spot them by myself at all and it was so good to be with someone who knew where to look.
It was really fun walking through the undergrowth with the sun going down, because you could hear a lot of rustling and hear fluttering above you, but not see what it was. It became very quiet once it was dark. Geovani knew exactly what to look for and where, so even though we were in the park for about 45 mins, we saw a lot of wildlife.
We very quickly came across this Red Eyed Tree Frog. Before going to Costa Rica, I had only ever read about rainforests in books and pictures always seemed to be of tree frogs, so it was really exciting to see something so ‘iconic’ of the habitat. I also like the texture of the frog. It isn’t slimy exactly, but looks more waxy, which wasn’t what I expected. The frog was quite happy to sit there and watch us, so I was able to spend some time taking photos.
We next came across this Common Basilisk, also known as the Jesus Christ Lizard.
It is called this because it runs across the surface of water. I think this one was more interested in going to sleep than walking on water though! It is standing on such a slender branch, that I did wonder how it would get down. Hopefully it wasn’t stuck!
One of the cool things about the park was that it was being designed by Geovani so that it is accessible for everyone. For instance, he wanted to make it wheelchair accessible around all the paths and he was also hoping to be able to take blind people round for a sensory experience. I thought this was such a good idea, especially considering that nearly all the parks in Costa Rica are only open to those who can physically walk around by themselves.
Another ‘iconic’ animal we saw was another frog! A Poison Arrow Frog, to be precise. Geovani spent some time foraging under leaves to find this one, which is often known as a blue jeans frog, because of it’s trendy attire. I knew that these frogs were a source of poison, but I didn’t know that it was only poisonous if you ingested it. So touching the frog was perfectly safe. However, eating it would kill someone very quickly. For the species, this is pretty good, as predators learn that other animals die when they eat them. For the individual frog, it seems a bit of a raw deal and this evolutionary defence definitely comes under the mantra of ‘For the Greater Good’.
We saw a lot of other animals darting around the park, for instance bats and a massive toad. Considering we were only there for under an hour, it was an impressive tally. As well, the park is right next to the town, so it was a lot to see in such close proximity to a humans settlement. The walk was also really fun, because the park is designed for people to walk around and Geovani was such a nice guy. The whole ethos of the park revolved around environmentalism and community involvement, which I think are both so important. He also let us swing around on vines:
And that was Parque Natural Roca Dura! If anyone will be going to Costa Rica, definitely check it out on this website: http://fortunaguide.blogspot.co.uk/. And I hope you enjoyed reading about it!