I try to make a dedicated herp trip each year, usually as the wife, money and time allows. I was hoping to return to Arizona with Carl, and hike some of the ranges we scoped out a few years back now. I had been to AZ in June (post to come!), managed to turn up some neat animals, and wet my appetite for more. For various reasons, the trip fell through early on. I have mentioned before my brother Brian was in Costa Rica for 2.5 months, and what better way is there to kill a week of vacation than a trip to the tropics?
Brian had finished his summer project, and had a couple weeks left in the country. I flew into San Jose on Sat morning, met him at the airport and off we headed on our adventure. We had a loose itinerary, and had planned on some wiggle room. Various plans fell through, for better or worse, and I think we both learned many lessons in traveling in a 3rd world country. After getting lost numerous times in San Jose, we finally got out of the city and on the road. Our first destination was a lovely B&B south of San Jose in the mountains. We really should have skipped this, if only due to location, but the possibility for montain species such as godmans vipers, palm vipers and black milksnakes lured us in. The property owners were extremely helpful, pointed out all the haunts of the various serpents they had seen in the past 1-2 weeks. We enjoyed wonderful food, great conversation and some nice hikes. Unfortunately, we only had scenery, birds and a lone frog to enjoy.
I have a fond spot in my heart for Akita's, and enjoyed Kuma immensely.
And our lone frog, Craugastor crassiditus
Along the way, we turned up a tragic DOR, Drymobius margaritiferus
( Let me take this opportunity to apologize for the large number of DOR pictures to come. I honestly can say I would much rather show live shots, but information can still be learned from DORs. Unfortunately, many of the diurnal snakes this trip only made appearances as DORs. )
Brian had never seen a croc before, and we were anxious to get to a popular spot. Unforunately, I failed to notice the speed limit go from 80kph to 60 kph and got nailed going 85. About $550 later we were furiously on our way again. DO NOT SPEED IN COSTA RICA.
The rest of the day went from bad to worse. We caught the ferry, got lost many times on small back roads, ended up traversing washed out bridges in the middle of the night, saw few to no herps, and lost many hours. Our 6-8 hr drive was sitting around 12 or 13 hours and we still were a few hours from our destination for the night when we finally started to get back on pavement and near a decent sized city. We pulled over at the first motel we saw, sadly hit the sack, and vowed to have a better day tomorrow...
A couple Smilisca baudini showed up prior to us turning in, as well as an Incilus coccifer.
Two tough days down, and spirits are running low. Did we make a huge mistake? Our we wasting our time and money? Or do we need to just get out of the car (we want to believe me) and hit the trails?
Until next time...
Check out Costa Rica Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V.