Arenal Frog Sanctuary and Ecocentro Denaus Night Walk
If you've read any of my other Costa Rica posts you may have gotten the impression that I like frogs. The impression is correct. As a kid I visited ponds to catch tadpoles which I'd raise; I had a terrarium with a couple of frogs; I've got a poster of a red-eyed tree from a trip to Australia; and if there's a frog exhibit somewhere I will likely go to it – maybe even twice. So you can imagine that I'm going to enjoy night walks in Costa Rica's frog-filled rainforests!
Frog Sanctuary with Inhi
First up was a visit to a frog sanctuary with Inhi, a Costa Rican resident that actually moved from Spain. His background is as a veterinary, but his work in zoos didn't satisfy his desire to work with wild animals. And so after learning English he headed to Costa Rica and became a guide primarily for visitors from Spain. He's now the main guide for the Frog Sanctuary in Arenal.
Ecocentro Denaus Night Walk with Mayron
One of my favorite tours was at the Ecocentro Denaus. All of the pieces came together – private tour, good weather, and a great guide, Mayron, who was both knowledgeable and enthusiastic. On this walk we saw the Blue Jeans Dart Frog (these are the one species of frog in Costa Rica that is active during the day), Hourglass Tree Frog, Fleishmann's Glass Frog, Common Dink Frog (of course), and the universal symbol of the rainforest the Gaudy Leaf Frog.
Emerald basilisks, Jesus Christ Lizards, Slender Anoles, Spectacled Caiman, and one of the few snakes I've seen in Costa Rica, a Northern Cat-Eyed also made it onto the list.
On the warm-blooded front, we came across a Two-Toed Sloth, Four-Eyed Possum (has two fake eyes in addition to its two real eyes), Boat-Billed Heron, and a Purple Gallinule.
Denaus also has a butterfly sanctuary and I've never walked through one of these at night. Sure enough all of the butterflies were hanging underneath leaves sleeping. This made taking pictures easier although the wings were always closed. Still, for butterflies like Blue Morphos and Great Owls, the outside of the wing is pretty spectacular.