In Search For a Toucan: My Costa Rica Cloud Forest Tour
Some people don’t like rain. I don’t know why…but they just don’t. From what I’ve been told it goes something along the lines of being “depressing”. Why should rain be depressing?
To me when it rains I see it as a chance for the earth to wash itself of all its filth.
Kind of like a reviving but much healthier and more awakening. When I woke up in my lumpy twin sized hostel bed to the sound of raindrops, I immediately smiled knowing that the earth and this town was just that much cleaner.
Waking up to the sound of raindrops is always a pleasant thing for me. Especially if it had been raining all night…these are the nights that I sleep very well and I’m sure that any traveler can tell you that getting a good nights rest in a hostel can sometimes be a very difficult thing.
Here’s our blue chariot into the Cloud Forest.
Stepping out of bed and getting dressed, I went to the hostel room on the other side of the hall to wake my friends for our early bird nature tour.
I was pretty excited to view the wildlife in this area for the first time but as soon as we were ready and stepped out front to meet our guide, the howling winds and rainy weather immediately created second thoughts about proceeding with this tour.
I got to see this beautiful bird while looking through the telescope lens!
The weather didn’t scare me by any means…it actually excited me as I was presented with an opportunity to walk through a cloud forest during a unique time compared to most tours however I knew from previous experience that we may not see anything…but then again…I was willing to take that chance!
And good thing I did because the life was particularly rich in this area…
Leaf Cutter Ants are quite meticulous in picking their leaves.
Leaf cutter ants pranced in an orderly fashion across the moist jungle floor carrying chopped up leaves on their backs, toucans were floating from limb to limb in search of a mate and the trees seemed to sing out to each other harmoniously in the harsh winds.
The way I see it is that most people are too closed minded to look at the details in things. Just because a monkey isn’t trying to steal your camera or a toucan isn’t sitting in a tree above you doesn’t mean that wildlife is not around you…in fact it’s everywhere!
You could almost feel this vine making it’s way to the top of the tree.
In this portion of the rainforest you could find literally hundreds upon thousands of bugs let alone other animals. I was fond of the herbal life myself.
The bird of Paradise glimmered against the cloud forest in a passionate firry red.
I love the beautiful colors of each exotic flower ranging from the tropical reds of the Bird of Paradise to the gnarly vines of the strangler fig and everything in between.
This Yellow-Throated Euphonia joyously hopped from limb to limb in search of an easy meal.
As we continued our little excursion through the jungle, our guide continuously trotted from tree to tree pointing out different types of plants and animals.
You could tell he was an avid bird watcher because he seemed fond of picking out different types of exotic species from our feathery little friends who looked down upon us from the canopy.
The strangler Fig is a vine that literally chokes it’s host to get to the top of the canopy.
Walking into someones backyard, he pointed out a Strangler Fig that I thought was really interesting. He informed us that although these look like a tree, they’re actually vines. Throughout the course of the vines life, it attaches itself to a tree and begins climbing to the top of the canopy in search of sunlight.
Take a look inside of a strangler fig…it’s hollow all the way to the top!
Over several years the vines begin to “suffocate” the tree until it eventually dies. Once the tree dies, it begins to decompose until eventually nothing exists inside, therefore making it hollow.
The view from inside was gnarly as hell and I was SOO tempted to start climbing it but a glance from my buddies gave me the hint that it wouldn’t be cool with our guide…it was difficult resisting the urge but in the end I pulled through and settled for this shot at the base!
The Orange-Bellied Trogan perched upon a power line.
During the rest of our tour he continued pointing out different forms of birdlife. I honestly feel that I could have found the wildlife myself without even going on a tour.
Another beautiful bird perched on a limb…
Everything he pointed out was easily spotted and half the time I was pointing things out to him and asking him what it was. Either way, it was still a pretty neat little excursion through the forest.
I’m glad I didn’t step on this dude barefoot!
At one point I was even privileged enough to have spotted a toucan! We were walking down the road heading back to our jeep that brought us here and right at the moment I felt the urge to look up.
Good thing I did because for a split second one had just passed by overhead floating beautifully from one tree to the next in search of a mate! I had just enough time to yell it out to my friends so that they could see it until it vanished into the mystically intwined cloud forest.
Life is abundant in the Cloud Forest!
At the end of our tour we had a brisk walk through a trail in hopes of finding more wildlife but luck just wasn’t on our side that day.
Even though we didn’t see that many animals, I still really enjoyed myself as did my buddies. I would highly recommend anyone to venture into such a dense & exotic location!
Moral of the story:
Bird watching with three others guys can be a lot of fun!
Ronald Robbins is the Founder of Active Planet Travels adventure travel blog and Clicta Digital, a digital marketing agency based out of Denver, Colorado. He has found most of his professional interests in being an adventure travel blogger, photographer & bizarre food enthusiast.