|Forest Floor Millipede (Photo by Linda)|
We left Monteverde at an altitude of about 4757 feet in the clouds. Visibility was poor as we passed coffee plantations behind living fences made from cut branches of the Gliricidia Tree (Gliricidia sepium). The leaves of a Coffee (Coffea arabica) plant are large, shiny and veined, and the beans develop only on new growth. In order to decrease cutting down the rainforest to make way for coffee plantations, Costa Rica is working with shade tolerant varieties. Stopped to see a tree full of noisy White-fronted Parrots (Amazona albifrons).
Lots of familiar plants: the Perennial Peanut (Arachis pintoi), flowering Yucca (Yucca sp.), blue Morning Glory (Ipomoea sp.), double Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), Hydrangea (Hydrangea sp.), Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus), Canna (Canna sp.), Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana), Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus), Begonia (Begonia semperflorens and also Angelwing/Begonia coccinea and begonia tuberosa), Mexican Heather (Cuphea hyssopifolia), and Lantana (Lantana urticoides).
|Muscovy Duck & Ducklings|
Saw an Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) and a White-throated Magpie Jay (Calocitta formosa).
At last we arrived at about 1150 feet above sea level and started circling Lake Arenal. Much warmer here. We saw Coconut Palms (Cocos nucifera), Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis), Mimosa (Samanea saman), Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), Mandevilla (Mandevilla sanderi), reddish tank bromeliads, and more flowering trees. Real estate was a big new business and very competitive. Some realty signs had paint splashed on them and the victim company made a statement on a billboard about the mentality of competitors who would damage their signs.
We headed west around the southern end of the lake and then east on the northern shore. Up on a ridge was a row of large wind turbines for producing electricity. An argument against wind power is that it kills birds, but hopefully that is unfounded; roads kill more wildlife. Made a stop to see howler monkeys; New World monkeys are the only ones with prehensile tails.
|Mantled Howler Monkey (Photo by Kent)|
Another pit stop at a German Bakery in Nuevo Arenal. The line to the restrooms was long, so Brynne took us next door to the Austrian Bakery where she had stopped with the Rodriguez family in December. We then bought some goodies from the German Bakery (a cookie with strawberry preserves, a chocolate croissant, and a bobe - pastry filled with coconut, caramel and macadamia nuts: yum!).
We continued our journey round the lake. Saw many cecropia trees and lots of heliconias, like Birds of Paradise plants gone wild.
|Looking south over Arenal Lake|
|First view of Arenal Volcano, as usual it is covered with clouds|
|Volcan Arenal from La Fortuna|
|Lava Rocks Restaurant|
|Glass-enclosed patio of the restaurant|
|Fancy straw presentation|
|La Fortuna Catholic Churcch|
|Classic view of the Arenal Volcano |
behind the church beyond the plaza fountain
- with Jerry, Brynne & Kent