Three days and three exotic animals in Costa Rica
It’s not that I don’t enjoy checking out the flora and fauna of the places I visit, it’s more that I move a little fast at times. In general, I spend my time walking through towns where I can pause for a moment to take in the view and then keep moving. Sometimes I’ll spend my time getting to know the locals or figuring out what brought other foreigners to this spot. And, of course, there’s always the rum. So for the eco-tourist, I’m sure there’s plenty to do in Costa Rica. For me, it was a bit surprising to come across three unique animals in Costa Rica in three days.
The Doomsday Whale
I was seated at the front of this boat, full throttle and nose almost straight in the air when I spotted this whale just off the shore of Gulfito, Costa Rica. The whale surfaced like a bubble of air and didn’t seem to care one bit that he was right in our path. We were about 100 meters out and I tried to get the attention of the pilot over the roar of the engine. He slowed enough to let the nose drop so he could see, but the whale had submerged again.
The pilot stared for a minute, first at me then out over the water, then back to me like I was crazy. Then the beast surfaced again, spitting and spouting. My original intent was to make sure we didn’t hover over the whale and end up capsized. I’m all for a little wrasslin’ but this monster was big enough for me to not tempt fate. And I had my laptop and iPhone on board. Instead, the pilot got the rest of the passenger’s attention and chased the whale for 20 minutes allowing everyone to take pictures before resuming course.
Needless to say I was 20 minutes late meeting my host for this leg of the trip. Sorry, Maria.
No Sooner had Maria and I jumped in a cab to get to the beach house she manages for her family (website for the beach house) than we were stopping next to a guy pulled over with his bicycle. From the back seat of the cab it looked to me like the guy had a flat tire. The driver started talking gibberish and Maria deciphered it to be that there were monkeys in the tree. I looked around for a spot on the window clean enough to see through. After a moment of looking at them I snapped a couple photos and we went on about our business.
A Bird! (I’ve been told it’s a Scarlett Macaw)
I was flying out of Puerto Jimenez on the third day heading to San Jose. Maria and the taxi driver dropped me off at the airport and I checked in for my flight. I was the only passenger and the guy behind the desk didn’t seem certain that the plane would be there on time. Not being one that’s very good at sitting around, I walked outside to look at the advertisements at the airport. All of a sudden I started hearing loud bangs coming from a car nearby. They seemed to be fairly regular and I couldn’t see anything in or around the car.
That’s when I noticed a nut fall from a tree and land on the roof of the car with a loud bang. I looked up, and there was this colorful bird. He was just hanging out and eating nuts from the tree. He would shimmy over to a new nut, crack it, eat it, and launch the shell at the car. Boom! Shimmy, crack, boom, repeat. This kept me entertained until my flight arrived only 15 minutes late.
And there you have it. My experience with three cool animals in Costa Rica!