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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Costa Rica Adventure--Part I

Eco tourism is great but doesn't scale well. There just are not enough tourists around to save the whole planet. I'm hoping effective carbon trading schemes will be worked out that will make it profitable to protect ecosystems. Time will tell.

My family took a trip to Costa Rica a few years ago. I was like a kid in a candy store and shot a lot of (poor) footage. Don't expect National Geographic quality. I have never posted it on the Internet so I thought it was time I did. I will be writing about the trip in sections with new wildlife footage in each post. Today's footage covers reptiles. I didn't see any snakes. All of the lizard footage was taken on the wonderfully overgrown grounds of the rundown hotel we stayed in. Eleven species were found on about a single acre of land. Biodiversity is a hallmark of tropical rainforests.

I didn't get a shot of everything I saw. For example, one day I was exploring along a road and picked up a dirt clod. I broke it open and found a very large, very lively earthworm. I was thinking, "Man, these Costa Rican night crawlers are spunky." It wasn't until it burrowed back into the soil that I realized I had just seen my first caecilian!

The people of Costa Rica recognize that tourists come to see animals. It is profitable to leave them alone but they draw the line with snakes, which may explain why you won't see many of them. This may also help explain why I saw so many lizards and frogs. There aren't many snakes (at least on hotel grounds) to eat them. I've talked to other travelers who say that animals get scarce when you get away from the tourist hot spots.

We really lucked out with our hotel selection. It must have been very popular in its heyday. The pool was clean but rundown. Everything, the weight room, squash court, outside bar, was in an advanced stage of disrepair and overgrown. I loved it. We were traveling with another family and were the only guests in the whole place. The night watchman would show up after dark, coasting with his motorcycle engine off down the winding road into the hotel complex and just disappear with his night vision binoculars.

We could walk down a concrete path through jungle and swamp to a fantastic uncrowded beach. I've never been on a better vacation.

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