March 20th, 2003
At the end of the morning we went by boat from Golfito to Puerto Jiminez and went with a colectivo, a local small taxi van to Carate. We first informed in Puerto Jiminez at a locat travel agency if Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp still had vacancies and made a reservation. This tent camp is located close to the border of Corcovado National Park. The most lodges are located a little further from the park, or at some private parks next to Corcovado.corcovado001.jpg From Carate we had to walk about 40 minutes in the full sun along the beach to the ten tcamp. Our luckage would follow later by horse and wagon. As we arrived at the Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp, it turned out it there were no vacancies. Reservations go by San José, as there is no telephone, everything goes by radio or computer. But if people who are already at the tentcamp and decide to stay longer, you can have a problem, like we had now. So we got a little fed up, the lodge did not want to help us, to look for a solution. Then a guy who passed by and heard us said, next to this tent camp, closer to the park, there is another tent camp, they just opened (La Leona), a little less luxurious, may they have still some vacancies. And they had enough space, just 2 tents were occupied. It was a quite cosy tent camp, much smaller with very helpful local owners. A little later, we were laying in a hammock with a welcome drink enjoying the sunset above the sea and all of a sudden you saw many basiliscus basiliscus appear from everywhere, all in search for a sleeping-place. It looked like everyone had his own tree, mostly palm trees, first they remained close to the ground, but when it became really dark, they climbed a little higher. A lovely sight.
March 21th, 2003
corcovado002.jpgIn the morning we first hiked the trail behind the Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp, we had heard last night from 2 girls that they had seen in the trees little green and black frogs. And indeed after 10 minutes walking we saw an auratus, a little further another one, then 3 together, all visible from the path. We found them all at the foot of large trees, one climbed very fast up. We had brought a thermostat with us, to measure the temperature and humidity. At all places where we had found poison dart frogs, the temperature was between 25 and 29º C and a humidity between 75 and 80%. We found them at an altitude between 100 and 300 m. We also saw many spider monkeys, a hawler monkey, although you heard many hawler monkeys. A nosebear followed us for over half an hour. The last part of the trail was the same as in the beginning, so again several auratus. One was sitting in front of a beautiful hollow, so I was laying at the bottom to get a good picture, when Han said, get up a snake at your right side. He was searching with a stick at the bottom for other auratus and one meter aside me he found a large snake. Han searched for a larger stick to see what kind of snake it was. He was quite big, about 2 ½ m long, dark grey/black, but we could not see its head as he crawled further under the leaves. As we did not know what kind of snake it was and as he was quite large, we left him in peace. Back at the tent camp, we checked what kind of snake it was, a mussurana (clelia clelia). We showed a picture, without its head, to the owner, he also recognized it immediately as a mussurana.corcovado004.jpg The mussurana is a snake eater, he eats mainly fer-de-lances, who you can find here in great numbers. The mussurana is not that poisonous, he bites its prey just behind their head, spurts some poison so the victim gets a little stupefied and then he strangles them. Costa Rica has about 130 different snakes, 17 are very poisonous. We did a nightexcursion, but we had a bad guide, Pedro, he run the camp. At the border of the campsite he found a poisonous snake from which he did not know the name and the rest of the hike we saw no animals. It was a heavy hike to the top. At the end, when we were exhausted, just before we entered the camp we passed a small lagoon. As we had started our excursion here, we would have seen more. He knew we wanted to see especially reptiles and amphibians.
March 22th, 2003
corcovado005.jpgToday we went into Corcovado. We had asked yesterday for a guide for today, that was Pedro, but after last night we were not that happy with him. Fortunately he was prevented, he wanted to give us another guy as guide, but that guy went last night also with us at excursion. We also had no confidence in him as a good guide. You pay a lot for a guide, and if you see more by yourselves, you better can go on your own. You need guides like José or otherwise none. We walked from La Leona Rangerstation, a few hundred meters from our camp to the Madrigalriver. Just after the entrance we found a beautiful lizard, a diploglossus monotropis, sunbathing. We saw many Golfo Dulce anoles, but now we could photograph one with his beautifully orange/yellow throat fan. Normally he is a simple brown anole, but he's really impressive with his large coloured throat fan. corcovado006.jpgThe males are quite territorial and defend often an domain of 30 to 65 m², where only females are welcome. The females are not that territorial, their domain is just about 7 m². Almost at every step you took, you saw an ameiva running away, mostly a festiva or undalata. At one moment we saw a young iguana iguana laying next to the path, he looked death, but as he was still so pure, no flies on it, I lifted him a little with a small branch. His eyes were clear and open, but he did not move at all. When I wanted to take a picture as he was really gorgeous, he all of a sudden came alive and ran away. The path was parallel to the beach, with no paths inland. At the Madrigal river we saw a path inland, but this one just stopped after 500m where we found a field laboratory of the rangerstation. Back at the main path we saw a guide with 2 tourists and asked if there were no trails inland. Not before Sirena, a rangerstation 13 km further along the path. So we followed the trail further to Sirena. Here we saw many spider monkeys, but the were difficult to photograph. On the way back we saw a tiara (eira barbara), high up in a tree, he looked like a big marten. corcovado003.jpgHe was quite shy, when we stepped on step from the path to get a little closer, he jumped away. Later back in the camp, we heard you seldom see them. They are out there, but even the guides see seldom one. 4 Years ago, at Monteverde, we also saw one, they had said the same. So again we were lucky. We also saw many nosebears, at the ground they are hard to photograph as they are so lively, putting their nose in everything. When I got a little too close, some jumped into a few trees, the moment for taking great pictures, while they were making threatening noises and swaying their tails, to scare us.