Tortuga Lodge Night Walk with Angelo

The wildlife you'll see at night differs than what you'll see during the day and that's why I look for opportunities to do night walk / hikes wherever I go. At night though it's far easier to get lost so I'll typically enlist the help of a guide familiar with the area. As an added bonus, a guide is more likely to know where certain animals tend to hang out night after night.

So through Tortuga Lodge, where I was staying, I arranged a night walk in the rainforest trails just behind the lodge. The first thing I noticed was that there were mosquitoes and plenty of them. In almost 2 weeks in Costa Rica this was the first significant mosquito encounter I had to contend with. Luckily I had brought my mosquito head net – yes I looked goofy, but at night who's going to see you!?

Once I was comfortably protected from bug bites I was able to enjoy the walk. Before the light of the day completely disappeared we spotted Spider Monkeys and Mantled Howler Monkeys. Not enough light to take a picture, but cool to see nonetheless. As with other areas in Costa Rica, frog sightings were a staple of the evening including the Blue Jeans Dart Frog, Glass Frog, and Hourglass Frog.

One of the cooler things I saw was a Great Potoo Owl. These are big birds and I've seen so few owls so I was pleased. I also saw a Boat-Billed Heron settling in for the night. And although I've seen them before, I was happy to come upon a Great Owl Butterfly sleeping upside down under a leaf – spotting a butterfly at night is another rarity for me.

All in all another good walk despite the mosquitoes — I wouldn't dare go in without proper cover though. And once I had walked around with a guide, I felt comfortable enough to go out on another night by myself to see what else I could find.

It might be obvious, but bring your own flashlight. I recommend one of the newer LED flashlights. The one I packed was brighter than any of the flashlights that the guides I was with had. I even ended up swapping with a guide on one night hike. Do note that high-powered flashlights can be harmful to night creatures which have eyes designed to work off of low-light levels so avoid holding your light directly on a night-creature for an extended period of time.

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