Sunset at Tortuguero
Final Update: The class arrived back in Pittsburg on May 31 to the news that Marietta had won its (5th) National Title in Baseball. A great end to a great trip. This page will be updated as I work through the roughly 8,000 image files (113 GB) taken over 3 weeks. Other pictures will be worked into the main Costa Rica Pages.
Sunday May 29th was a full day. We went snorkeling all morning and hiking all afternoon in Cahuita National Park. We head for San Jose on the 8AM bus tomorrow, then back to the US and Pittsburg early Tuesday:
MaLisa's hand, again for scale.
Sunset at Tortuguero.
May 22-25 - El Zota Biological Field Station
This great little field station up by the Nicaraguan border in eastern Costa Rica is a lot of fun. We stayed here in 2009. Our contact is Israel Mesen, who is a really great guy who helps us with a lot of the logistics of travel. The station is owned by Hiner Ramirez, who always shows us a good time - and this time he outdid himself. We were also fortunate this time to meet more of Hiner's family as well as a herpetologist, Tom LaDuke, who helped set the station up.
In keeping with our invertebrate comparable in size to MaLisa's hand theme, we offer you the Harlequin Beetle (Acrocinus longimanus), one of the largest insects in the world, at least measured by legspan. This is an adult male.
He tries his tarsi at photography...
He was about 7cm long.
Here we present a female Rhinoceros Beetle, MaLisa's hand for scale.
And here the female is joined by the male of another species. Both were attracted to lights at the field station (which just got electricity a few weeks ago).
Above - Strawberry Poison Dart Frog ( Oophaga pumilio)
The Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas)
The Bullet Ant ( Paraponera clavata). Note the stinger, which gives the ant its name.
Look closely - this is a spider, not an ant! It looks remarkably like the bullet ant, a fact that probably gives it some protection from predators who don't want to mess with the formidable ants.
A Conehead Katydid. These have a painful bite.
A Nightjar, with babies.
Two Fruit Bats under palm trees at the station entrance.
It's not all amazing wildlife. The students performed a second transect in the secondary tropical rainforest at the station. With the data they collected on tree density, size, light and temperature, they will be able to compare both tropical rainforest and tropical dry forest, as well as make comparisons to earlier years.
Great Green Macaws at El Zota
May 20-22 - Volcan Arenal
We stayed in the town of La Fortuna, which lies in the shadow of Volcan Arenal, an active volcano that is still growing. While we were there we heard several eruptions, but couldn't see much as the top was shrouded in clouds most of the time. We did hike on the lava flows from the 1968 eruption and looked at the regeneration of the forest that has occurred since. We also hike down to a catarata and swam in the pool at the base of the waterfall. Not as blue as the waterfall at Tenorio, but more refreshing since you are actually allowed to swim here.
Sorry, no pictures. All of the pictures from this segment are still on a camera waiting to be downloaded.
May 19-20 - Volcan Tenorio
The Costa Rica field trip has never visited this small national park before. We should have. We stayed at some cabinas in a field 1km from the park at Rio Celeste, then went into the park on the morning of the 20th. It was not a long hike, only about 6 km, but it was amazing - waterfalls into pools of water stained blue by dissolved minerals, hot springs, a river with deep blue pools, and a wide variety of wildlife.
Above - the cabinas where we stayed.
The class in front of the waterfall. Note the blue color of the water.
May 16-19 - Monteverde and Santa Elena
From Guanacaste we have moved up to Santa Elena and nearby Monteverde. Here we are at about 4,000 feet elevation. It is cooler, and, in theory at least, moister since we are in a cloud forest, but it has been very dry, Volcan Tenorio was fantastic. We're in La Fortuna now, albeit with slow internet. On the 17th we hiked the famous cloud forest reserve at Monteverde.
Meeting with a native of Monteverde to get a local perspective on the impact tourism is having on the local ecosystem.
The day's food group shopping for breakfast and lunch for the subsequent day.
The whole group on a platform just west of the continental divide in the Monteverde Preserve.
Night hike in Monteverde. Our guide, Fabricio, points out some of the wildlife that comes out only at night.
A large predatory snail found in Monteverde on our night hike. This snail eats other snails. MaLisa's hand for scale.
May 12-16 - Guanacaste
We were in the dry Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica for 4 days. During that time we explored Santa Rosa National Park, climbed the active volcano Rincon de la Vieja, and explored the beach at Bahia Jobo. We stayed in the small northern town of La Cruz, with visits to the northern city of Liberia.
Above: Sunset at La Cruz from a point only 25 yards from our hotel. The sun is setting over the Pacific.
Doing a transect in the tropical dry forest at Santa Rosa National Park. A transect is a series of biological measurements taken along a line. The students measured tree and canopy density, as well as tree size, light and temperature. These readings will be repeated at a lowland tropical rainforest. We have made measurements at this site in 2005, 2007, 2009, and now 2011,
View of Rincon de la Vieja from Santa Rosa. This active volcano is 1895 meters (over 6200 feet) high. We will climb it the next day.
View from 1 mile up on Rincon (it was cloudy at the top). The first bright area you see on the horizon is a geothermal plant near the park entrance. We hiked up from there, a distance of 8km and an elevation change of several thousand feet.
Posing by a large tree on the way up.
Elfin forest at the treeline on Rincon de la Vieja. We took the trail straight ahead, which pretty much went straight up.
Lunch above treeline on Rincon de la Vieja, We stopped to eat lunch just below the summit ridge, which was cloud-covered and windy.
Profile of our hike, The miles scale is a bit misleading, as it comes from a GPS track that included a lot of driving. From the time we got out of the van we hiked 4.6 miles to the high point at 5386 feet (then back down). We went the 4.6 miles from the ranger station to the high point in 3 hours, 40 minutes - a little over 1 mph (but almost straight up in places). Round trip was 6 hrs 25 minutes back down to Poza Rio Blanco.
The final reward of the day - ice cream at the Heladaria in Liberia!
On our last day in Guanacaste we drove down from La Cruz to the beach at Playa Rajada (or Bahia Jobo - the maps do not agree).
In addition to swimming, there was the beach, a mangrove swamp and tide pools to explore.
A local couple brought their children and their two Golden Retrievers to the beach. Here, one of the students makes friends with Suzy.
Sunset on the beach.
Planning Meeting; April, 2011
Emergency Contact - Marietta College Police - (740) 376-4611
Updated 10/16/09 by DMC