Frogs, Snakes and Tarantulas - Our Last Day in Costa Rica
Our last day in Arenal and once
again we woke up to rainy and cloudy skies. It was clear that no more hiking
will be done so we quickly jumped on our laptops to figure out a plan for the
day. Our friends found out about a nearby self-sustainable farm and decided to
go there. I have no interest in pigs and cows so we hung around the house and
played ping-pong for a bit.
Not wanting to drive far in the rain, we decided to visit the Arenal Eco Zoo – a
serpentinarium that was just a few miles up the road from our house. The Arenal Eco Zoo is a fairly
small place owned by a local man named Victor. He greeted us at the entrance
and sent one of his guides, Frank, to take us on a tour. The place was almost
empty at the time so we got a personal 2 hour tour to the delight of everyone
as we were able to see and hold so many animals.
The first part of the zoo were
the snakes – they had a vast collection of snakes in their natural habitats and
it was amazing to see how well these creatures hide. Even though we knew there
was supposed to be a snake in each enclosure sometimes we stared at it for 5
minutes before being able to spot it. The vine snakes were the best at it –
they just look like leaves and branches – but seeing all the snakes up close
and personal we were sure glad that we saw none of them outside the zoo.
is a home to a large variety of snakes and it is very important for the local
people to know how to spot them and what to do if they are bitten (do not try
to suck the poison out and do not put a tourniquet around it as this will only
result in having to amputate the arm or leg where you were bitten). Basically,
you have about an hour to get the antidote and all you can do is try to remain
calm so that you heard pumps slower and the poison moves slower through your
body. Yeah, right…I could see myself keeping calm alright J
The second part of the exhibit
were the lizards and small snakes – we were able to take them out of the
enclosures and hold them since they were not poisonous. I am not a big fan but
Victor squealed with joy when an anole jumped from the cage and right on his
head. I just about had a heart attack when I saw it but Victor thought it was
the funniest thing ever.
Last part was the frogs – Costa
Rica is most often depicted with a picture of a cute colorful tiny frog (most of
which are actually poisonous). But the red-eye frog is not and we were able to
hold one of them in our hands and he was so incredibly
cute. His tiny paws were soft like jello and he was super-friendly and not
scared of us at all. What an unbelievable experience on our last day!
That afternoon we made another
visit to Ecotermales hot springs to soak a bit more in the volcanic waters and
after dinner it was time to pack and get ready. We said our goodbyes to Emilce
and her husband Luis who took care of us so well on this trip. They did not
speak a work of English but between our few words of Spanish and their smiles
and food we got along perfectly.
The next morning we woke up at
5am and drove across the mountain again back to San Jose to catch our 12 pm
flight back to the US. This time we decided to avoid Rt 702 and, at the advise of our chef, took Rt 35 and Rt 1, which are a bit longer in distance but are not as windy or steep. I have to say we were very glad we did that because the road was really nice for the most part except about 45 miles through the actual mountain. Everything was cloudy and congested for a long time and then all of a sudden we got above the clouds and everything around us turned green. What a great way to remember Costa Rica plus we managed to get back to San Jose in about 3 hours.
A little village above the clouds. Nice road but lots of traffic
This truck was so big he could not make the turn so they had to stop all traffic until he turned
Back down through the clouds
While waiting at the airport we asked the kids what was
their favorite thing about Costa Rica and they said the hot springs and the
monkeys. For me, it was being able to spend time with friends in a gorgeous
environment and to have the kids experience a new place and a new culture. Yes,
there were some meltdowns, and yes, there were kids screaming and crying, and
yes, it was sometimes too loud and crazy, but this is the best school we can
give them and if we can drink a few tequilas and hold a cute red-eye frog on
the way, then it was a great trip after all.