The seasons

Right now we are heading into, what I call, the wettest season.  That would be November and December, where you are lucky if you get to see the sun.  Last January it as so beautiful with temperatures in the 80’s and sunny days.  It stayed that way until about April.  In April it does start to rain again, but that much.  As the months go by you start to get more and more rain.  This past July we had quite a bit, but in August it wasn’t that bad.  September wasn’t too bad, but now for October we have had a good amount.  My neighbor told us that when his grandfather moved to the area about 40 years ago it would rain every day for almost 6 months and you would never see the sun during that time.  I have had so many people tell me also that there is not as much rain as there used to be.  That we are drying out here, in the rain forest.  We have even had areas of drought!  This is scarey to think about.  But back to how much rain we do get.  I live in the Sarapiqui area and for a yearly average we get close to 14 feet of rain!  That’s a lot of rain.  So, if you plan a trip down here, the prices you pay will be based off the time of year you visit.  If you visit in what they call the green season, which is when it rains a lot, your prices will be cheaper.  There are not as many tourists that time of year, with the exception of Christmas break.  In the dryer seasons, prices do go up as demand goes up.  There is not a big difference in most cases, but there are in a few of them.  Nothing closes down for a little rain, or even a down pour, life still goes on.  I have seen people out working in the pouring down rain and still doing their daily routine.  They have learned to adapt here and I admire that.  So, January through April is nice, sunny and warm.  May through September is a little rainy but not that much, hot and humid.  October through December is pretty to extremely wet and can get rather cool.  Right now I am in long pants and thinking of putting on a long sleeve shirt.  But don’t let the weather detour you from ever visiting.

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Butterflies

Costa Rica has around 3,000 different species of moths and butterflies!  That is roughly 18% of the worlds different species!  That is a lot of butterflies in this tiny country.  Costa Rica also supports 7% of the worlds biodiversity.  To put the size of this country in perspective for those of you in the States, this entire country is about the size of West Virgina!  It is that small, but it is absolutely amazing how much is here.  You can look at it from a map and think, oh it won’t take me long to see the whole country, think again.  Once you step inside it is so big.  Our national butterfly here is the Blue Morpho, when you see this one flying it is like looking at a flashing blue neon light.  They are very large also.  I have seen many, but it is almost impossible for me to get a good picture of one.  Every once in a while I will have one flutter it’s way through my yard.  When you see them, you just stop what you are doing and admire them.  The first time I seen one, it took my breath away it was so beautiful.  There are many places here where you can go and see them, they are called butterfly gardens and they are all over the country.  They did have one at the National Museum, which we did go to and I highly recommend.  It still amazes me to think of how tiny this beautiful country is and how much nature and wildlife is here.  If you get the chance, you need to see it for yourself.

Traditional clothing and dancing

While at La Selva on Sunday they had a group come in wearing the Latin American traditional clothing and preforming some of the traditional dancing.  Unfortunately I did not get the name of the group, but they were wonderful.  It was so much fun to watch the young people still get into this sort of thing and cherish their roots.  Even when it comes to Independence Day, the youth is very much involved.  It’s nice to see a place that involves it’s youth so much when it comes to celebrations and festivals.  It doesn’t matter if it is raining or sunny, they will get out and celebrate.  They don’t let tropical forest rains slow them down!

Tapir

These guys are so ugly they are cute.  They are actually endangered, but their numbers are on the rise thanks to a lot of people doing conservation.  Their numbers declined in part of deforestation and hunting.  They are herbivores and love the water.   I have only been to La Selva twice and seen them both times we were there.  They are usually pretty docile creatures and I have only heard of one attack on humans.  They can get pretty big, depending on which species it is, there are several.  So, if you do happen to any of these while you are out do keep your distance as they can run quite fast.

Poison dart frog

On my hike this past Sunday at La Selva I got to see a few of these guys.  This is one of many different types of Poison Dart Frogs.  This one has often been referred to as the Blue Jean dart frog, for obvious reasons, looks like he is wearing blue jeans.  When you see these cute little frogs, what ever you do, don’t pick them up.  Yes, they are poisonous.  When they are breed in captivity they do not produce the poison.  There is something that they eat in their natural habitat that causes them to secrete the poison.  The Golden Poison dart frog is the deadliest of them all.  Natives used to take the tip of their spears across the back of those to make them even more deadly.  The poison from the Golden is lethal, the poison from the blue jean is not as bad, but still quite toxic.  So, look but don’t touch.  Rule of thumb when down here, if you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it.  There is even a type of plant that if you get it’s sap on you and rub your eyes, it can cause blindness.  So, always go with someone who knows the area and is knowledgeable with plants and animals.

Click on picture to enlarge.

Internet was down

This past Saturday night we had a serious storm blow through.  You could feel the electricity in the air it was so bad.  Everything is plugged into surge protectors and it still fried our modem.  We actually heard the thing sizzle!

Sunday we went to La Selva, it is a biological research station in the Sarapiqui area where we live.  They had an open house for the locals.  It was free to get in and we did a guided nature hike.  I didn’t last very long, my back started hurting so bad I had go back, but my husband went on with the tour and we got some great pictures, which I will be posting later.  They had booths there where people were selling stuff that they made, including homemade soaps.  Everything was either made from all natural or recycle materials.  They also had some young people there in the traditional dress dancing.  It was a great time.  I am so glad that we went, even if two days later I am still paying for because of my back.  But we are glad to be back online and will have some great photos for you soon.

Leaf Hopper

This is a leaf hopper, not to be confused with a dragonfly.  They are much smaller and when they land their wings fold together on their back.  Their body design is very similar to that of the dragonfly and many people confuse the two.  If you see a dragonfly you will know, they are much larger and when they land their wings stay open.  The last house I lived in, before buying this one, I could watch the entire life cycle of the dragonfly.  There were so many different colors of them as well.  They are a truly amazing creature.

Ants

In this picture is a bullet ant.  The reason they call them bullet ants is because when they bite you, it feels as if you have been shot.  This is not the biggest one I have seen!  Just last night we found one in our kitchen, it was about two inches long!  The cats wouldn’t even go near it.  I always keep an eye on the cats, when I see them jump down and run it usually means they are going after something.  This is what they did last night, and when I looked they were a good two feet away from it.  Luckily though when we see these things there is only one.  I have never seen more than one at a time.  The coin in the picture is a little larger than an American quarter and that ant is longer than that.  Also, they have wings.  So, if you are ever down here and see one of these things, kill it.  There are plenty of them around.  Since I have lived in this house, now 8 months, I have only seen 4 or 5 of them.  Last night was the first time I have seen one inside and I hope I don’t see anymore inside.  I am already allergic to ants, I found out the hard way and that is just the little ones, so if I were to get bitten by one of these my husband would call an ambulance.  I just hope that never happens.  Another reason why you don’t ware sandals every where you go.

Babies

This is one of the many creatures that I find in and around my house.  I do believe that this is one of the many types of geckos here.  I had to wrestle this one away from my cats.  Poor little things was traumatized by the whole event.  How I managed to catch him, I still don’t know.  They are definitely quick!  He was just out of his egg when the cats were trying to eat him.  But I rescued him and turned him loose outside.  I hope that he is doing well.  Every night when I take a shower I can see two to three geckos on the outside of the window catching bugs.  They know that when the bathroom light comes on that it attracts the bugs and they climb onto the window and wait for them.  When I turn on the light there is never anything on the window, but withing two minutes I have my geckos.  So, they have actually learned how to get an easy meal.  Glad to help them out.

Costa Rica national bird

Believe it or not this is our national bird, the clay-colored robin.  Of all the beautiful birds that you will find in this country this is the one that they choose, the reason is that it has a very beautiful song.  You will find this bird almost all throughout the country, you just won’t find it in the higher elevations.  You will find around 850 different species of birds in Costa Rica, giving it 1/10 of the biodiversity of the world.  It is truly amazing how many different species of animals, reptiles, insects and butterfly’s you will find in this tiny little country.  The blue morpho is the most beautiful butterfly I have ever seen and I occasionally get to see them flying through my yard.  You look at a map a see this teeny tiny little country, but once you get here and step inside, it’s like being in a whole other world, it feels so big.  There is so much to see and do you cannot do it all in one trip.  So make plans to come back again and again.  It is guaranteed that you will fall in love.  Pura Vida!