Arenal Hanging Bridges

Mark is continuing to work his way through the myriad of symptoms of illness…. Last night he went to bed early and had a bad night, with quite an alarmingly high temperature…. In the early hours of the morning he developed a cough, which he’s kept going throughout the day, adding occasional sneezing bouts into the mix later on.

Mark being Mark though, he woke up this morning determined not to have a day off and do nothing / recuperate…. apparently he needed to “go out adventuring”. We decided to go to the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park about 20km away as that wouldn’t involve any real physical exertion. This is a privately-owned ($29 each – good value by Costa Rican standards) 600 hectare area of rainforest with a trail just over 3km long running through it. Six big steel suspension bridges take you across valleys / ravines etc at a gentle gradient whilst at the same time getting you up to different levels in the forest canopy where you’re more likely to see birds etc than at ground level.

We had a great time bumbling along very very slowly. Our wildlife count wasn’t great – lots of butterflies and tiny tweetie birds, a squirrel, a spider, and a big bug (genetically modified grasshopper?). The first picture is Mark poking a leaf with a very large web attached. Luckily no giant man-eating spider seemed to be at home…..

We were disappointed not to have seen any toucans (me) or monkeys (Mark), but you take your chances with these things…. We heard monkeys, though not particularly close, and met one guy back at the visitor centre who was keen to get back to a shower as a monkey had pooed on his head (!), so they were definitely out there… As is often the way, there was more wildlife within spitting distance of the car park than we saw on the actual wildlife experience…… We got back to the visitor centre and went into the café for a coffee. We’d barely sat down when two large toucans flew past the window….. There were more birds hanging around the picnic benches outside:

Just to really take the biscuit, we then found out that there was a sloth in a tree. We’d had no hope really of seeing a sloth in the wild. We had enough trouble finding the sloths in the sloth enclosure at Zoo Ave a few days ago…. but there indeed was a sloth, sat looking just like a koala in a not particularly leaf-endowed tree not a hundred yards from the car park. It was too far away for our cameras but I’ve got a snippet of footage on the video camera.

On the way back to La Fortuna, we rounded a corner to find cars at all angles and a troupe of very cute coatis in the road. They seem quite common, but I just can’t imagine that the novelty could possibly wear off in the time we have in Costa Rica.

We got back to the hotel mid-afternoon and Mark pretty much headed straight to bed, having exhausted his energy reserves for the day. It’s now 7.30pm and I’m not expecting much life out of him for the rest of the evening…. tomorrow’s plan really depends on Mark’s state of health come the morning.