Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 2: Monkeying Around El Parque Nacional Corcovado

One of the many perks of staying at the Drake Bay Rainforest Chalet is that your hosts will book all your desired excursions for you. Our first tour was of El Parque Nacional Corcovado, which has been called "the most biologically intense place on Earth" by National Geographic.

While we spotted so much wildlife, I must admit I was rather disappointed with my photos. If you come here, I recommend that you bring a very powerful zoom to capture the beauty you will encounter. My 18-200mm just didn't cut it.

I ended up handing my little pink point-and-shoot to our guide, so he could snap photos through his spotting scope. Our guide was really possessive about his scope and would not allow me to snap myself. Sadly, he did not have steady hands and always zoomed in beyond the optical zoom capabilities of my dinky point-and-shoot.

But this is how life goes sometimes. I'm glad I have photos at all. Below is a mix of my real camera's photos and my point-and-shoot's photos through a spotting scope.

Chestnut-mandibled toucans.
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These were a lot brighter in real life. Please use your imagination.

Spider monkeys.
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Here are the first of four kinds of monkeys we spotted.

White-lipped peccaries.
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We tracked these guys by following their horrible stench. When they spied us, however, they made a mad dash.

Crested guans.
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Very noisy birds with an unmistakable call.

Cup fungus.
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Don't they look just like suction cups?

Scarlet macaws.
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It was neat seeing these in the wild.

Howler monkey.
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This guy is even louder than the crested guan. He can be heard for three miles.

White-faced capuchins.
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So cute. So smart. So mischievous. So Mr. Nilsson.

Three-toed sloth.
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This guy is super slow but is a surprisingly good swimmer.

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It figures that the one animal that was really close was a scary one. I took a few steps to get even closer and almost had a heart attack when my boot got stuck in the mud.

Walking along the beach.
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One guy on our six-person tour took pity on me and lent me his massive 500mm zoom for this crocodile shot. I had severe envy of his huge gear-filled backpack, but I was also glad I wasn't hauling all of that through the muggy jungle.

Squirrel monkey.
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This is the rarest of the four monkeys. Our guide told us we were really lucky to see it.

Saw this plane during our lunch break.
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Apparently, if you're rich enough, you can fly directly to the park.

Helicopter damselfly.
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If you're the largest dragonfly in the world, flying to and around the park is free.

This is what you see as you travel by boat to the lush park.
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Really amazing stuff, even though these photos don't do it justice.

Next: Snorkeling and exploring Isla del Caño.


  1. still amazing. and the sloth is surprisingly cute.

  2. I hiked into Corcovado to stay at the ranger station (13 miles, ugh). So tired on the way out I didn't even take out my camera. The trees of macaws there was by far my favorite thing that I failed to take a picture of but like you wouldn't of come out well anyways. Love the pictures, my trip was a cheapo college trip.

  3. Even your "bad" photos are pretty great! Seeing so much wildlife in one day must have been amazing.

  4. your "worst" pictures are still far superior to my "best."

    looks fabulous! so colorful!

  5. I love reading about your animal exploration adventures. Did you and Mr. Monkey share this passion before marriage or is this something you discovered you loved together? (Just curious.)

  6. How fun! Love that the rainforest is so full of life.

  7. Isn't our planet just AMAZING? GORGEOUS!

  8. I am so jealous you saw so many monkeys!

  9. That was great! So much amazing wildlife... so glad you still have all your limbs intact :)

  10. We saw a lot of the same stuff in the Amazon and you're right, it's amazing to see these animals in their natural habitat. Your pictures are so way better than mine - big shocker, my little point and shoot was a POS during the trip. :/

  11. beautiful. Costa Rica is so incredible!

  12. I wonder how a toucan tastes. That is all.

  13. DH also found he had a love/hate relationship with his camera equipment. It's nice to have but such a PITA to bring it everywhere and cart it all around. Plus he wans even more lenses.

  14. love. the sloth looks like someone i work with ;)

  15. I still think the photos are awesome even though you didn't have all your gear. Thank you for posting! I love monkeys. :)

  16. I love seeing all those animals! Thanks for sharing! That toucan is beautiful.

  17. Wow -- so amazingly beautiful!!

  18. I love the spider monkey and the capucin! So cute! Looks like a fabulous vacay.

  19. Wow. Just wow. I know you prepped us with "biological intense," but it seems unreal in this day and age that there still exist such places of... um, nature. You know what I mean. :P

  20. Very fitting that you saw rare monkeys. =D And ditto wan - you put my pictures to shame.

  21. Eeeee I would love to be a sloth in my next life. They look all cute and cuddly. And lazy. Totally me.


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