We were up early this morning for our hike along through the Arenal National Park. We walked along a lava flow from 1992. The secondary forest was beautiful. We were lucky that it was overcast and there was a bit of rain. This kept us cool and relatively bug-free on our walk. We saw so many different types of plants, birds, and insects.
Our amazing driver, Mauricio, spotted a sloth! We were so excited to see this critter who sleeps 18 hours a day!
After our hike, we were taken to Casona Rio Fortuna Cultural Center. We were greeted by the founder, Eli Herrera. She told us the history of the casona. Built by President Rafael Yglesius Castro at the end of the 1800s, the home is now a cultural center that provides education and outreach. Visitors are warmly welcomed to come learn, cook, and enjoy delicious food and music. The proceeds from tourism are used to support local schools. Currently over 230 students are being educated using funds raised.
Soon we were off to Sarapiqui. We made a pit stop at Las Iguanas, aptly named for the dozens of iguanas that call the trees home. We fueled up on delicious ice cream and continued on our way.
We are staying at the Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge along the Tirimbina River. The Tirimbina Biological Reserve is an educational, ecotourism, research site. Students, visitors, and scientists come from around the world to study the incredible biodiversity found here. Upon arrival, we were taken to the conference center and we met Michael who taught us about the diversity of bats and the research being done on bats right now. We set traps to collect bat guano so that we can analyze the seeds in the droppings. Scientists want to find out about the relationship between bats and seed dispersal in the rainforest.
setting guano traps
these traps will collect bat droppings
|we hope to get lucky so we can investigate the seeds in the droppings in the morning|
We had some time to relax before dinner and heading back to meet Michael to set up the mist nets in the hopes of catching bats. We learned even more amazing facts about bats and had the chance to see the Honduran White Tent Making Bat! This is a very rare bat species. It was absolutely adorable and is smaller than your thumb!