Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hiking Corcovado National Park to find a Tapir

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The morning of our trek into Corcovado National Park was a seriously early morning, even for us :-). When we were discussing with William what time to leave he said the earlier the better, but that we could leave whenever we wanted. I told him we don't mind getting up early so let us know what time is the best to leave and we would be ready...so, 4:30am was it!
National Geographic has said that the Osa peninsula is "the most ecologically intense place on earth" and we wanted to be sure we did everything we could to ensure we took advantage of our time there.
We drove for about an hour in the dark on a bumpy dirt road to get to a little beach and then had to walk the rest of the way into the official entrance of the park. The sun was coming up just as we got started and it was absolutely gorgeous! It was actually almost a teeny bit chilly as well, but it didn't last long.
Almost immediately William spotted something in the jungle trees lining the beach and set up his little telescope for us. When we looked in there was the cutest little coati posing perfectly for us way, way up in a tree.

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I think after that beginning the kids had an even better attitude for the day. We had warned them the night before that we would be walking a long, long time and that we did not want to hear complaining like we did on the walk home from the beach (that was rough at times). Of course we tell them things like that all the time and it doesn't seem to make a difference though, so Mike and I were so pleasantly surprised at how well the day went! The kids were seriously AMAZING. There was not a single complaint except wanting to sit and rest a few times during the entire hike, which lasted almost 7 hours in total and covered around 10 miles. It was hot at the end, like really hot, and we were thirsty because I didn't bring enough water, but the animal spottings helped them persevere...that and the promise of cold sodas as soon as were back to civilization ;-). We were definitely proud of them!
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William spotted this little hermit crab while we walked on the beach who had made his home in an eye-dropper type lid
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teeny tiny hermit crabs
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tapir tracks!
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We saw so many cool things, but the highlight for all of us was definitely getting to see a tapir, one of Costa Rica's endangered animals. We saw some of his tracks along a little creek at one point and they were much bigger than I was expecting (they can get up to 900 lbs!!!)! William was able to track him into the forest where we found him sleeping on the side of the mountain. I had no idea they were nocturnal so I was worried we would scare him away with our loud, leaf-crunching steps, but it was totally fine and he was just chilling hidden in some trees.


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later we found more tapir tracks and hermit crabs eating it's poop :), we also found a banana tree knocked down and most the bananas chomped off by it which was cool!
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I really, really would have loved to hang out at this perfect beach all day!
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Also spotted during our day were lots of toucans and scarlet macaws (we had been so worried we wouldn't see toucans so that was another highlight for sure), fruit bats, a black hawk, iguanas, a couple crazy spiders and capuchin monkeys. I will admit I was honestly a little disappointed that we didn't see more, especially sloths, but William told us they actually like the area near our home more. I think we had just been so spoiled by all the wildlife we were seeing right around us every day!
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It was a great feeling when we popped out onto the beach and recognized we were near our starting point. We hopped in the car and started the drive home with a pit stop at a teeny little bar where you could get drinks and empanadas. EVERYTHING in Costa Rica was made of corn, including the empanadas so I was in heaven :-)! And the cold sodas and hammocks were definitely a treat as well.
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As soon as we got home we changed and went down to the ocean to cool down a little before showering and getting ready for dinner, which Leda came to prepare for us one more time. And we witnessed the crazy tides Josh had told us about the day before. The water was sooo low and the kids had a blast in the tide pools.
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A little bit later when we were getting ready we started to hear a lot of commotion in the trees around the house and when we went to get a closer look we found them full of spider monkeys eating mangoes! For me this was probably the best part of the day!!! They were sooo cute and so smart and I could have watched them for hours. Dinner was amazing because we were especially hungry and we ended our day with a continuation of our Phase 10 game. At this point I was already starting to get sad that our time was coming to an end at Casa Linda :-(. I didn't want to leave!

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