Robin's Adventures

Costa Rica, Machu Picchu, and the Galapagos Islands
A Triple Adventure

Tortuguero River Expedition

We boarded a small boat so we could explore the plant and animal life that lived where the rainforest met the river. The river was peaceful and provided a beautiful reflection of the surrounding forest. We saw an iguana, a Basilisk lizard, and some sloth. We also noticed quite a few caimans peeking out of the water at us.

Birdlife along Tortuguero River

As we cruised down the river were were able to spot a tiger heron, a northern jacana, some flamingos, and a tree filled with nests.

Rainforest Hike

There were many interesting trees and vines as we trekked through the rainforest. Some trees, like the chilamate fig, had large shallow buttress roots to provide support. There were lots of vines attached to everything as plants raced upward to get to the sunlight. The parrot flower was colorful in the sea of green that surrounded it.

We also saw an interesting seedpod from a monkeycomb tree (basswood family) that looked like a sea urchin and some Spondias mombin fruit that is sometimes used in jelly or sherbert. There was also a large termite nest and a very interesting spiny insect.

Leafcutter Ants

We got a kick out of watching the leafcutter ants carrying their leaves along the forest floor. These ants are farmers who cultivate fungus to feed to their larvae. They use the freshly cut leaves as food to keep the fungus growing. The adult ants do not eat the fungus, but eat plant sap instead.

Howler Monkeys

Our visit to the rainforest would not have been complete without a sighting of some howler monkeys. These monkeys make loud vocalizations that can be heard up to three miles away. They also have a great sense of smell that allows them to locate their food, fruit and nuts, up to 1 1/4 miles away. Another noteworthy characteristic is a very strong prehensile (grasping) tail that they use to pick fruit or hold on as they move through the treetops.

Monkey Business

Check out these howler monkeys in the rainforest canopy.

Rose Plantation

Our guide knew someone who had a rose plantation. Although it is not generally open to the public, he managed to get us in to look around. The owner's wife walked us through their greenhouses and proudly explained the process of growing massive amounts of roses to supply to florists. It was a very interesting tour.

On to Monteverde

Caught a small plane that took us to our next destination, the Monteverde Cloud Forest. The rainforest here has an almost constant cloud cover due to its higher altitude (almost 5,000 feet). The clouds catch on the trees of the upper canopy and then condense and drip onto the plants below.

Birds and Blooms

The morning was spent at a hummingbird sanctuary. We enjoyed watching the hummers in action and also were delighted by the beautiful orchids. A golden toad made a brief appearance before hopping off into the brush.

Zip Lines

Our next adventure gave us a very unique look at the Monteverde cloud forest. We traveled along about a dozen different zip lines that took us from one platform to another in the forest. We were zipping through the upper canopy which was a different habitat than what we saw when trekking along the forest floor.