Bats after Breakfast

By Susan Mahr

The howler monkeys started at 5am, and the scarlet macaws were squawking by 5:30, and various other birds joined in the cacophony until it got light about 6. It was warm and humid (72), while it was near zero back home. This morning we had plenty of time to relax or go exploring around the lodge before our midmorning departure. Jeff and Susan hiked out to the old farm house to look for the bats that live in it. Along the way they saw a black ant shrike, a small group of coatis, a blue morpho floating around in a clearing, and some other butterflies and insects. The wooden building was still in reasonably good shape, with long nosed bats (Rhynchonycteris naso) clustered together in large groups on the wooden rafters under the tin roof, and an unknown species of sac winged bats roosting singly on the walls of the building. There were also some huge, mottled cinnamon-brown cockroaches on the walls. Although we were warned that it would be stinky, there wasn’t a lot of guano inside and really didn’t smell much at all.

Abandoned farmhouse (L) and bat colonies inside (R).

Abandoned farmhouse (L) and bat colonies inside (R).

Cluster of longnosed bats (L), a group of another type of bat (C) and a lone one of those other bats (R).

Cluster of longnosed bats (L), a group of sac winged bat (C) and a lone sac winged bat close up (R).

By 9:30 we were assembled at the dock to load the boats for the half hour journey back to Golfito.

The group on the boats to leave Nicuesa (L), the boat ride toward Golfito (C), and the second boat arrives at the dock at Golfito (R).

The group on the boats to leave Nicuesa (L), the boat ride toward Golfito (C), and the second boat arrives at the dock at Golfito (R).

There we reconnected with Ricardo for the drive back north to Quepos. Much of the area between there and Quepos is agricultural now, with some extensive tracts of oil palms, but there are some patches of native plants here and there. This used to be banana country, but black sigatoka disease (caused by a fungus) pushed production to the eastern side of Costa Rica.

Palms and bromeliad-encrusted trees line the road from Golfito to Quepos in places (L); native Calathea lutea (C); oil palm plantation (R).

Palms and bromeliad-encrusted trees line the road from Golfito to Quepos in places (L); native Calathea lutea on roadside (C); oil palm plantation (R).

We stopped for lunch near the ex-pat beach community of Uvita to eat in a local air restaurant, enjoying arroz con camarones(shrimp with rice), fajitas, spaghetti, or other dishes, along with sodas or juices. The big screen TVs in the place showed footage of the road washout that had forced us to take a detour a few days ago, with only one cracked and crumbling lane left on the steep mountainside, and water and mud still trickling downward (another story showed the end of yesterday’s Super Bowl).

The group heads into Marino Ballena Restaurant (L). Enjoying lunch inside the open air restaurant (C) including a plate of fajitas (R).

The group heads into Marino Ballena Restaurant (L). Enjoying lunch inside the open air restaurant (C) including a plate of fajitas (R).

We arrived at Si Como No, a luxury resort located on the mountainside overlooking the ocean in Quepos in mid-afternoon. The rest of the day was free to relax, enjoy one of two pools each with a swim-up bar, or wander around the steep grounds until dinner time. Several people enjoyed the water slide down the slope to plop into the deep end of the family pool!

Jeff admires one of the pool at Si Como No overlooking Manuel Antonio National Park and the Pacific Ocean (L); Cindy and Judy are really happy with the view from their room (C); the adult pool with everyone congregated around the swim-up bar (R).

Jeff admires one of the pool at Si Como No overlooking Manuel Antonio National Park and the Pacific Ocean (L); Cindy and Judy are really happy with the view from their room (C); the adult pool with everyone congregated around the swim-up bar (R).

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