As we pulled up to the Selva Verde Lodge, a man ran out to open the gate, and Enrique backed the bus into an open-air carport attached to an open-air lobby. One guidebook called this accommodation the "Sheraton of the Jungle", but it was more like a Disney World attraction with the friendly uniformed staff and lush decoration.
The lodge was started in 1985 by Giovanna and Juan Holbrook of Holbrook Travel (then of Miami, but now in Gainesville, FL), as a way to save 500 acres of primary forest with 70 acres of secondary forest. It was one of the first eco-tourist ventures in Costa Rica. It has rustic lodges of rooms elevated on wooden platforms, connected by covered wooden walkways to the main lodge, restaurant and bar, and a conference room.
|Selva Verde rooms|
|Peek at river from our room|
|Brynne in hammock (Photo by Kent)|
As we headed to the dining room for 1:00 PM lunch, Linda & Jerry pointed out a Green Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons), which took a lot of pointing and directional cues to find against the jungle greens.
|See the basilisk? (Photo by Kent)|
|How about now?|
Also spotted an iguana.
|(Photo by Brynne)|
|Tamiko & Brynne - Aaah! (Photo by Kent)|
|View from the terrace of river and suspension bridge|
|View down the river|
At 1:30 we were ready for our orientation on the terrace with Ivanni. Learned about the facilities and the activities available. Selva Verde Lodge is designed for minimal impact and participates in Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST), a program setting standards in key aspects of sustainability including environmental impact, community impact, and building environmental awareness. It is a voluntary program monitored by the Costa Rica Institute of Tourism.
We checked out the gift shop and purchased stamps to send postcards back home. Many people went to use the pool, but we toured the facilities and wrote postcards.
When we went to meet for the 4:00 PM hike in the Selva Verde primary forest, we heard that the others had seen a Green and Black Poison-arrow Frog (Dendrobates auratus) along the path. Jerry Anne pointed out where it had hopped into the underbrush, and it was still there!
|Green and Black Poison-arrow Frog (Photo by Brynne)|
|Suspension bridge entrance|
We heard, then hunted until we found, a Semi-plumbeous Hawk (Leucopternis semiplumbeus) and a Chestnut-mandibled Toucan (Ramphastos swainsonii). Heard Great Green Macaws (Ara ambigua) and saw them fly high overhead. Linda spotted the tail end of a black snake and a bullet ant. Just before we crossed back over the bridge, a large butterfly flew past us and landed on a post.
|An Owl Butterfly (Caligo sp.)|
After dinner was a "lecture" by Jerry & Linda in the conference room. The room was open and we had to shush the teenagers tramping by. We had two great power point presentations on the mutual symbiosis of neo-tropical ants and an introduction to rain forests.
The Stumpes went on a flashlight hike on walkways, looking for eyeshine. Near our room we saw a tiny green shine (a spider?). Then we noticed that it remained shining after the flashlight was turned off. A lightning bug? We found a lightning bug in our room.
We had a water pitcher and glasses in our room and there was an ice machine and filtered water station along the walkway.
Brynne had ants in her bed. We brushed them off and surrounded her bed with a perimeter of bug repellant. She didn't have any more problems the rest of our 4-night stay.