Leaving Evergreen Lodge we started our journey south to Cahuita National Park. We were at the dock at 9.00 in the torrential rain. While we were waiting we watched three Strawberry Blue Jean Frogs eating ants in the leaf litter. With the luggage loaded onto one boat, we headed back to Siquirres pier. Progress along the river was slow because of the low water level. We were in a line of boats all trying to find the best route through the sand banks. There were lots of Caiman on the banks and Cattle Egrets stood among the grazing cattle. Male and female Basilisk lizards lay prone on branches and Tiger Herons stalked their prey. We arrived at the pier and our driver and the bus were there to meet us. We retraced our journey to the Kapok tree restaurant where we had previously eaten breakfast. This time it was a lunch stop. Then it was onwards to Limon and Cahuita.
Sloths at Lunch Stop
We arrived at the restaurant and had an excellent lunch. While we were eating one of the group spotted movement in the trees. We were amazed to see a sloth moving slowly through the folliage. It was a Three Toed Sloth which was amazing to watch. Although it was very difficult to get a good photograph being so high in the tree.
Just as we were getting ready to leave another sloth was spotted. This one was closer to the ground. It was very different from the previous sloth, having longer hair and no mask marking on its face. This one was a Two Toed Sloth rarely seen on the ground. Usually they are nocturnal and are omnivorous sometimes eating insects as well as leaves and fruit. This sloth had come down out of the tree to the ground to empty its bowels and bladder.
After watching the sloth for sometime we had to leave and continue with our journey to Cahuita. Arriving at Atlantida lodge in the late afternoon, we went out to explore the grounds. An Agouti was in a garden area near our room. It was the first time we had seen an Agouti. Hummingbirds flew between the flowering bushes. We decided to eat at the restaurant and enjoyed an enormous pizza and got to know our fellow travellers. Tomorrow we are walking in Cahuita National Park.
Walking in Cahuita National Park
Cahuita National Park has 2711 acres of land and 600 acres of coral reef. After breakfast we were going to walk from the southern entrance to the park back to the town. The track follows the coastline weaving its way through rain-forest and along stretches of beautiful Caribbean beaches. The walk was interesting with lots of wildlife to see and photograph. Near the entrance we saw a Coati walking through the undergrowth while overhead a noisy troop of Howler Monkeys crashed through the canopy.
Further along the trail a beautiful Blue Morph butterfly flew past. As we came out of the rain-forest on to the beach pelicans and frigate birds flew overhead.
Eyelash Pit Viper
A Spotted Sandpiper walked along the edge of the water. Suddenly Johnny stopped as a young couple screamed. They were about to lie down on the sand in the shade of some trees. However, hanging from a thin branch with it’s head almost touching the sand was a snake. It was an eyelash pit viper, a highly venomous snake. The eyelash pit viper is characterised by its many colour variations. This one was a pink white colour. It doesn’t really have eyelashes, they are superciliary scales above the eyes. They are not usually dangerous to humans unless they are threatened or disturbed when their bite can be fatal. Luckily for the couple their preferred prey is small mammals, frogs and birds.
Further along the track a family of raccoons crossed on to the beach. We watched as the mother raccoon and her three young foraged along the debris on the shoreline. It was lovely to get so close to these animals. There are two species of raccoon in Costa Rica. This was a family of Northern Raccoons, who are usually nocturnal and omnivorous.The Crab eating Raccoon is found only in the Central Highlands and along the Pacific Coast.
Swimming Rest Stop
Continuing along the trail we carefully stepped over a trail of leaf cutter ants and a striped lizard foraging for food. Leaving the shade of the trees we once again walked out on to the white sand of the beach. Fortunately we were able to cross a creek and river without getting wet because of low water levels.We found a good place to stop and some of the group went for a swim. while the rest sat and relaxed. Unfortunately an inquisitive raccoon decided to look through the bags in search of food. As the rest of the group had finished their swim it seemed a good time to leave and head out of the park and back to the lodge.
Morning visit to the Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary