November Eco Report by Dennis Atencio
Excertps from www.wikipedia.org
Named for the noise that they emit by the "hum" of their rapidly fluttering wings, all 342 of these amazing little birds are found only in the"New World" from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in South America. Aztecs wore hummingbird talismans, the talismans being representations as well as actual hummingbird fetishes formed from parts of real hummingbirds: emblematic for their vigor, energy, and propensity to do work along with their sharp beaks that mimic instruments of weaponry, bloodletting, penetration, and intimacy. Hummingbird talismans were prized as drawing sexual potency, energy, vigor, and skill at arms and warfare to the wearer Colombia is the country with more hummingbirds with 160 species but Costa Rica has more by square Km with 53pecies.
Hummingbirds drink nectar, a sweet liquid inside certain flowers. Like bees, they are able to assess the amount of sugar in the nectar they eat; they reject flower types that produce nectar that is less than 10% sugar and prefer those whose sugar content is higher. Nectar is a poor source of nutrients, so hummingbirds meet their needs for protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, etc. by preying on insects and spiders
With the exception of insects, hummingbirds while in flight have the highest metabolism of all animals, a necessity in order to support the rapid beating of their wings. Their heart rate can reach as high as 1,260 beats per minute, a rate once measured in a Blue-throated Hummingbird.
These little birds do not spend all day flying, as the energy cost would be prohibitive; the majority of their activity consists simply of sitting or perching. Hummingbirds eat many small meals and consume as much as twelve times their body weight in nectar each day. They spend an average of 10–15% of their time feeding and 75–80% sitting and digesting. Hummingbirds are typically very territorial when it comes to food; once a hummingbird finds a consistent source of food such as an artificial feeder, it will fight off other hummingbirds to maintain complete dominance over the food source.
Here Crocodile Bay Resort are found around 10 species of this colorful birds including the endemic one (only found in Costa Rica) Mangrove Hummingbird that was nesting the other day next to the entrance of the pier. Also other trees and plants are visited by these hummingbirds every day making a good and close spot to photograph them.
A Beautiful Day in the Rainforest
July Eco Report by Dennis Atencio
I can't understand why we almost always refer to a rainy day as a bad day. All days are different and sometimes we just need to adjust our perspectives a little to make every day a special one. Take today for example, with Mrs. Shelley Freitag who wanted to do a rainforest eco tour and witness the amazing diversity that the magical rainforest environment has to offer.
We departed at seven o’clock and it was a clear day, but before we left Shelley asked me if it was a good idea to bring a rain coat and I told her she would probably be fine without one but decided to throw two umbrellas in the back of the 4x4 just in case.
Along the way we saw some graceful white birds hanging around with the cows called "cattle egrets" who came from Africa thanks to a big storm that brought them to south America. From there the cattle egrets started to expand and developed a symbiotic relationship with the cattle of waiting for and eating bugs that wanted to bite the cattle or were attracted to the smell of their droppings.
Baby Cattle Egrets
Further on near to the River Tamales we saw 12 bright red macaws enjoying their time with family and this presented a spectacular photo opportunity for our guests. Sadly there are few of these magnificent birds left in the world. In fact, the Osa Peninsula, home to Crocodile Bay Resort, has the largest population of nesting scarlet Macaws in all of Central America - the Scarlet-macaw is also the National bird of Honduras.
After some great photos we continued on to Matapalo, and still not a drop of rain but more great photo opportunities. Before arriving at our destination, we stopped to observe some adorable horses that Shelley was very fond of. She told me that she had a horse for the last 10 years that has travelled with her everywhere she has lived. We spent about twenty minutes there with the horses while I took photos of a juvenile Mangrove Hawk that came very close to us.(pictured below)
We finally arrived at our destination and the guests were already thrilled with what they had learned and seen along the way. We arrived at the primary Rain Forest and were very exited to get out the essential gear - camera, a machete and binoculars the tools neccessary to explore this mighty evergreen forest.
Inside this massive primary forest one can witness hundreds of species of trees and thousand of tropical plants. We came across a very long vine that extended out of site into the upper layer of the rainforest canopy. This vine is refereed to as a “Monkey ladder” and is a member of the bean family.
Inside the forest we were enjoying every second looking around at the composition of one of the most important primary forests in the world.
Considered one of the jewels of the planet and the world's largest pharmacy because of all the medicines that people use, seventy percent come from the Rain Forest.
We decided to explore some more and then the real fun started. The Rain - and it was an intense heavy rain. But being there inside the rain forest it was spectacular for us to see all the plants and trees shimmering and sparkling from the fresh down poor. Although my camera is not waterproof, I could not help but take one photo of a unique garlic tree sparkling from the moisture of the rain.
After the photo we took the car and decided to check out the long stretches of beach and monkeys at Matapalo point. As the rain continued, it didn’t seem to deter the monkeys from coming out in the open and we even saw one two-toed sloth with her baby. Sadly she was to high for my camera but we took a nice look through the spotting scope. For Shelley it was unforgettable moment because it was her first time to see a sloth in the wild.
After the sloth sighting it was time for lunch so we returned, spotting a myriad of birds and monkeys along the way. Shelly was very pleased with the tour and even more to feel the rain in th “Real Rain Forest” with real rain.
Crocodile Bay Monthly Eco Report - Learning to Surf in Costa Rica,
By Dennis Atencio, Eco Director
Costa Rica is a popular destination worldwide for its wealth of natural resources and is visited by thousands of tourists from around the world every year. Most of these visitors come here looking for quiet, secluded places like the many primal rainforests or the miles of pristine beaches.
Fortunately for the guests of Crocodile Bay Resort, they may enjoy both without having to be far the rainforest or the warm waters of the sandy beaches of the South Pacific Coast.
The surfing, fishing and biodiversity are the most important attractions for Crocodile Bay's home, the Osa Peninsula, which has more than 80 percent of the remaining primary forest in all of Costa Rica.
If you're looking for an active vacation and the excitement of learning something new like surfing with the stunning low land rain forest as a backdrop, we have the perfect beach - Playa Pan Dulce wich means “ Sweet bread”.
This amazing beach is located only 18km northwest from CBR in an area named Mata Palo, the waves there are perfect for learning to surf, they are long and not too fast.
Our bilingual instructor will give you step by step, easy to learn instructions on how and where the waves are and how to ride them standing up in the soft top boards(provided by Crocodile Bay). Our instructor(s) will also be with you in the water making sure that you are following every single step to get that unparalleled feeling of “riding a wave”
After that our staff will have an ice-cold cooler stocked with bottled water, juices, sodas, beers and fruit to reward you for learning this new skill that you can take home with you and enjoy for years to come.
This beautiful surf spot is also populated by several unique rainforest birds and animals such as the scarlet macaw and monkeys who visit this beach all day long in different groups.
Crocodile Bay Monthly Eco Report,
By Dennis Atencio, Eco Director
Corcovado National Park by Air
In October 1975, 45,757 hectares of land were taken from the Osa Peninsula to establish the area as a National Park. This has been one of the most important decisions in favor of protecting our country's natural resources and the planets rainforst systems to date.
We now know that Corcovado National Park has more biodiversity than anywhere else in the world of the same geographic size. With an enormous 2.5% of the planet's biodiversity, this ecologically intense area has become the crown jewel of Costa Rica leaving an ecological wonder for future generations to enjoy and protect.
Corcovado has 5 monitoring stations including the Sirena station which is located deep in the forest. This is also the primary destination for all visitors who love nature such as recent guests Jimmy and Carlos who are lovers of orchids, bromeliads and palms.
The Martins were eager to see one of the most visited National parks in Costa Rica to enjoy all of it's biologiclall wealth. Visiting Corcovado can be done by land, water or air. A plane ride is the most efficient choice to get to the heart of the park quickly and have enough time to walk the trails of the Sirena station where there is more opportunity to observe some of the wildlife in a single day.
The flight from Crocodile Bay to Sirena is 12 minutes and during the trip one can be seen the dense vegetation that extends from the mountains to the cobalt blue waters of the Pacific. You can also see the large number of river systems and the beautiful lagoon of Corcovado.
Once in Sirena, we began our 7 hour hike, walking along its lush twisting trails. Jimmy and Don Carlos were fascinated by the different species of orchids and bromeliads of the primary rainforest and we were lucky to view several animals including two red-brocket deer and anteaters very close to us. After 5 hours of walking in the rain forest we arrived at Rio Claro where we had lunch and we took a refreshing swim in its clear water.
The day was beautiful without rain and the return on the plane was pretty amazing because of the spectacular views along the coast including pristine beach and large rock formations jutting out along the coast.
We arrived back at Crocodile Bay to Puerto Jimenez at 3:30 am physically very tired but very happy to have been in "the most ecologically Intense Place on Earth"
Crocodile Bay Eco Report - January 2012
by Dennis Atencio
Crocodile Bay is much more than a sport fishing destination, we currently offer over 20 exciting eco-tours that allow you to explore one of the most ecologically intense places on the planet, Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula! Below are some photos and descriptions of two of our most popular tours, The Monkey Tour and the Tour of Costa Rica's "Sweet Gulf" (Golf Dulce).
One of the most popular tours, the Monkey Tour, allows you to explore a beautifully coastal forest full of wildlife. Afterward you enjoy a short hike to a thundering waterfall (pictured below) where you can cool off in the exhilarating temperatures of its water. Of course you will also find many types of animals such as Monkeys (Spider, Howler, Squirrel and White Face), Scarlet Macaws, Toucans and several other exotic birds species. You will also have the opportunity to see beautiful secluded beaches and many other interesting places. Come and amaze yourself!
The Golfo Dulce is one of the most beautiful and charming spots in the Costa Rica's southern region, enjoy the warm temperatures of its water. Taking any of our boat tours you will have the great opportunity to explore it above water, snorkeling or just taking a boat excursion to the gulf, where dolphins will appear and make an unforgettable experience for you.
Crocodile Bay Eco Report -November 12, 2011
Excerpt from Wikipedia - Photographs by Dennis Attencio
The Pearl Kite, Gampsonyx swainsonii, is a very small raptor found in open savanna habitat adjacent to deciduous woodland.
This tiny kite breeds from Panama, Colombia and Venezuela south to Bolivia and northern Argentina, with an isolated sedentary population in Nicaragua. It is expanding its range and was proved to breed on Trinidad in 1970. First reported in Costa Rica in the mid-1990s, now fairly common along Pacific slope, to 1000m.
The Pearl Kite is 8-9 in length and weighs 2.8-3.3 oz. This raptor feeds mainly on lizards, especially Anolis, but also takes small birds and insects; it usually sits on an open high perch from which it swoops on its prey.
To find this nice bird of prey we only drove from Crocodile Bay for 15 minutes down the road to a community call the Palma, and the raptor was perched on a power line looking for something to eat. At first when I saw the bird I was nervous about scaring it away, but with the passage time it got used to me and the camera. I spent about thirty minutes watching and taking pictures of the kite until I saw it flying from the power line to the savana wich was about 200 feet away and catch a nice lizard,
Multi-Tasking- Notice the pearl kite is under attack by other birds while
simultaneously eyeballing his prey....nice concentration!
after that the raptor flew back to the line with lunch in its claws!
Species intro from Wikipedia and Dennis Atencio- Photographs by Dennis Attencio
Crocodile Bay Eco Report -October 12, 2011
By Dennis Atencio - Eco Director
Golfo Dulce Poison Dart Frog
November 1st. Crocodile Bay Resort will open its doors again to all those who want to visit Costa Rica's most ecologically diverse and beautiful region, the Osa Peninsula. During October, the Eco Tour Department prepares all the tour equipment and locations to ensure our activities are safe while still providing an exciting and educational experience - like some of our tours found in the pristine community of Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre (Tiger River).
Here in one of Costa Rica's last traditional gold mining communities (a scenic 25 minute ride from the hotel) we provide our most extreme tour, Waterfall Rappelling! In this small town there is an amazing waterfall by the name of clarita (meaning clear!) and to get there we enjoy a 1 hour hike through the tropical rainforest with our equipment to climb and then rappel down the majestic waterfall.
A few days ago my partner and I went to inspect the condition of the trail and the stream and on the way we saw an interesting amphibian endemic to Costa Rica, the Golfo Dulce Poison Dart Frog.
This small amphibian of only 28 mm in size could be heard more than 200 feet away. Once I got closer to the frog he kept quiet making it more difficult to for me to locate him, but minutes later the frog got comfortable and again, began to croak and we were lucky enough to observe him closely and get some great photos.
This variety of poison dart frog is known scientifically as Phyllobates vittatus and belongs to the family Dendrobatidae, this frog is endemic to Costa Rica and is only found in the Southwest Pacific, especially in rainforests around the Golfo Dulce, their diet is mainly insects and arthropods.
These frogs are called poison dart frogs because there is a species in Panama and Colombia that some Indians use in their arrows to hunt their prey. This frog from South America belongs to the same family as the frog of the Golfo Dulce. But the venom on our local frog is not as strong as the frog from South America (however we still prohibit our clients from handling OR eating them :).
This beautiful frog loves the humid places and it can be found near the streams. But when its time to lay their eggs they do not put them in the water directly, the female finds humid leaves on the ground and puts them there for 13 to 16 days, after that the tadpoles start to hatch and the male will allow some or all of his tadpoles to crawl up on his back carrying them for 1-2 days, to a water source, in the wild, this consists of a small forest-floor puddle, or water in a fallen palm frond or a tree-hole.
On the way back of the inspection of the trail my partner Julio saw another frog, but this one had tadpoles on its back.
Look closely and you can see the developing eggs on the frogs back!
So if you want to see this amazing frog, feel free to join the rappelling tour and do not forget you camera! You will also have a chance to see a wide variety of animals here in Costa Rica's diverse Osa Peninsula.
Crocodile Bay Eco Report - August 29, 2011
By Dennis Atencio - Eco Director
Some Jewels of the Osa Peninsula Rain Forest !
The tropical rain forests contain most of the worlds species of all types of organisms. The rainforests close to Crocodile Bay are no exception - The Osa is considered the biologically diverse place per square meter than anywhere else on Earth! That means if you walk one kilometer you will have the possibility to see more different animals and plants here than anywhere in the world.
At each visit to the forest you will find something different, no matter if it's the same place every day it is unique and there is always something new and interesting to surprise and delight.
It certainly is the healthiest place of the planet with 100% pure air, a place where all your body's senses are really tuned in and ready to explore and learn something new!
Here are some photos from August Eco-Tours at Crocodile Bay Resort, taken by Dennis Attencio, Eco Director!
Three-toed Sloth with baby
Green and Black Poison Dart Frog
The food chain in action, a vine snake catches a gecko
Whales have been plentiful in the golf as of late - nursing
their calves and teaching them to dive.
Hope to see you soon at Crocodile Bay Resort!
Crocodile Bay Resort
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica Eco Report July 28, 2011
Dennis Atencio - Eco Director
Visit the Crocodile Lagoon During your Next Visit to Crocodile Bay and witness the struggle for life in a spectacular ecosystem!
What would a place named Crocodile Bay Resort be without it’s very own “Crocodile Lagoon”? This beautiful work of nature is very important to the surrounding ecosystem; there are many species of animals and plants who endure a constant struggle for survival each day. From the powerful alligators and crocodiles, colorful birds,timid turtles, lizards that walk on water, many fish to even small crabs - all these creatures have a common purpose, to be part of a food chain while trying to ensure the survival of their species. Towering tropical trees circle this pristine wildlife sanctuary creating a barrier to protect and maintain the water levels and reduce evaporation by the intense Costa Rican sun. This lagoon is only a few steps from our resort (don’t worry..its’ a safe distance!) and along the way you will enjoy the beautiful plants in our gardens that play host to a variety of exotic birds such as macaws, toucans, tanagers, creepers, humming birds (more than 60 species) and sometimes a rare mammal like the anteater who sometimes walks by looking for a trail of juicy termites or fire ants!
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica Eco Report June 18, 2011
Dennis Atencio - Eco Director
To The Rescue of a Spectacled Owl Chick!
One of the most spectacular owls in Costa Rica, and one we can see on the Osa Peninsula, is called the Spectacled Owl. Its scientific name is Pulsatrix perspicillata, and it belongs to the broad family of Strigidae, the most common owl species. On the farm of Antonio Valverde, a distinguished citizen of the neighborhood, one of these impressive birds showed up. It was discovered by his grandson, Dennis Atencio, who is the current director of EcoTours at Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica. Some time after the sighting, Dennis became aware that there was not just one owl, but a family of three: a father and mother together takíng care of a chick. The baby shared the general characteristics of the family, with a mostly black round face, white plumage, and coffee-colored greyish wings.
In general, owl parents of this species stay with their chick for about a year, first feeding it and then teaching it how to fly and hunt for prey. The chick‘s first atempts to fly don’t go very well; it flies clumsily, bumps into branches, and even falls to the ground. But the parents watch attentively, confident that the chick will learn to fly as professionally as they do.
On making his discovery, Dennis told his family about it, and gave them instructions on how to provide basic care and protection. But not too long later, some people visited the Valverde farm selling shoes, something they did at all the farms in the area in the community of La Palma. When they were leaving, they spotted the owl chick, thought it was beautiful, and decided to catch it - hoping eventually to sell it. Dennis’s aunt witnessed the capture and decided to call him right away and give him the bad news. But he lives in Puerto Jimenez, where the Crocodile Bay Resort is located, and that‘s almost 15 miles from La Palma. So Dennis decided to call a friend, Ayder Santamaria, a Corcovado National Park ranger, and gave him a description of the car the poachers were driving, their description, even who they were. Ayder called other park guards, they all got in their car, and they easily found the robbers - who, on seeing the park guards, had no choice but to give back the chick. The guards then drove to Antonio’s farm and took the chick back to its parents.
Later, visiting the family farm, Dennis was able to see that the chick was in good shape, back again under the watchful eyes of its parents as it continued to learn to fly.
Costa Rica Eco Report, March 2011
By Dennis Atencio - Eco Director
Costa Rica is well known for its great variety of birds and here in the Osa Peninsula there are over 400 species.
Crocodile Bay Gardens are full of plants very important for food and nesting of these wonders of the air.
These are some of these amazing and beautiful birds that you can see by just walking around the gardens.
“Wild Cats Presentation at Crocodile Bay Resort”
Costa Rica is home to 6 species of wildcats. Due to poaching and habitat loss all wild cats are severely endangered and mainly live in nature reserves or in remote and mountainous areas. On the Osa Peninsula five species of wild cats can be found: margay cats, ocelots, jaguarondis, pumas and jaguars.
The largest carnivore in Central America is the Jaguar (Panthera Onca or Tigre) which can grow to over 2 meters length. The magnificent feline which adorns so many advertisements about Costa Rica is actually very rare and its population continues to decline dramatically.
Despite this sad reality, there are some groups of people who dedicate their skills and time to fight for the protection of these amazing animals. YAGUARA, the non-profit, non-governmental organization promotes bio-diversity and conservation in Costa Rica to preserve and enhance the environment, ecosystems, and habitats of endangered species.
"Yaguará" is the native word for jaguar. They chose this name for their organization as a symbol of how important they consider the jaguar is to link their scientific work with local people in order to conserve the jaguar and many other species in an effective way. By preserving the original name, they show that they respect its origin.
Some of the conservation methods they employ are: Camera traps, telemetry and environmental education.
Here at Crocodile Bay Resort we are always happy to support the YAGUARA members who make very interesting educational presentations ones a week with amazing photos of cats in the wild from their field cameras.
Do not miss the opportunity to enjoy and learn about these amazing animals here at Crocodile Bay.
More Photos Taken This February 2011 by Dennis Atencio!
Animals and Adrenaline
The Osa Peninsula has long been an area that has attracted different types of people for different types of reasons. As this area is considered by most to be the least developed area in the country, it is appreciated by both animal lovers who prefer to view the wildlife in their natural setting as opposed to inside cages, as well as individuals who believe life is simply more exciting when we have enough open space around us to get a little crazy without making others nervous with our own animalistic shouts of enjoyment- regardless of what causes them.
When we first started doing business in this area, one of the things the adrenaline junkies did for fun was to find the tallest strangler fig which is a vine that slowly but surely encases the host tree in vines which grow to the soil, take root, and kill the host tree, which will eventually decompose, which creates the largest natural jungle gym known to man. These hollow trees come ready to climb with many hand and foot holds, which make a wonderful proving ground for those who are overcoming their fear of heights.
Then when we got a little more formal and started importing legitimate climbing gear into the area, people started using the clean rock faces of the waterfalls to rappel from. This combined the picturesque scenery involved with waterfalls with the hair raising excitement of backing off a hundred foot rock wall with only a rope to save you from death.
A few years ago, a company started up in this area who constructed the Osa’s first Canopy Tour. As many of you might know, this is a system of cables that connect wooden platforms high in the trees, and using a harness, one literally flies from one platform to the other, hundreds of feet above the forest floor. This was greatly popular here as it is in other parts of the country, which is why one year ago, another Canopy Tour company was created and began competing with first.
As we all know, competition motivates individuals to be creative. After visiting the original site last week, they informed me that they had officially completed construction on their new concept- the Tarzan Swing. As it was explained to me, they found a location where when using the same harnesses used for rappelling and zip-lining, they allow you to actually jump off of a tree platform while your harness is attached to only one cable in another tree, which while it stops you from dropping straight to the ground, also propels you to great speeds, and then lifts you up again on the far end, to again come back down- just like Tarzan..
While the company swears they have tested this system and it is totally safe, we at Crocodile Bay Resort do test any and all activities ourselves before we offer them to our clients. So use this Eco-report as both our advertisement of “new things to come” at Crocodile Bay, or my last good-bye depending on how the “quality control test” goes!!
Crocodile Bay Lodge
What a sweet day!
There are many different types of people in this world. There are coffee people, there are cookie people and we all know a few ice cream people. But one of the classifications we see down here quite often are chocolate people! When we chocolate people need our fix, it is easy, as there are so many of us that most grocery stores stock one form or another of our sweet chocolate vice. But do you know exactly where the coco comes from which gives your favorite treat its rich flavor?
The Theobroma cacao tree (food of the gods) is originality from South America near to the Amazon and Orinoco rivers and it was eventually spread to Central America and Mexico by the exchange of the Indians located there. The mythology said that God came to the Earth and gave one of the pots as a gift. The tribes from the south originally only used it as a fresh fruit; not acknowledging how many other sinful treats could come from the amazing plant.
Those pots or kakas (Spanish name) contain between 30 to 70 seeds or beans all of then covered with a sweet white skin or covering. All the sugar that the seeds contain help the fermentation process and finally the magic flavor will appear in the beans. That process takes no longer than eight days, after that you have to take them to the next step, which is the drying area. These beans have to be under the sun for around 22 days approximately depending on how warm it is.
Once the beans are dried they are ready to be roasted in the oven until they start to make a popping noise like popcorn, that is a sign to take them out, and then to start to peal off the thin cask-like layer that is covering them.
Now you can grind it and make 100 % pure chocolate powder… both delicious and healthy!
To view the process and to taste the real 100% pure and organic chocolate you have to go to the KoBo (which means Dream to the Indigenes tribe named The Guaymis) Chocolate Farm like the Donohoe family from New Jersey who came the last week, and found out first hand that Snickers Bars are now the second best chocolate in the world!
By Dennis Atencio
Crocodile Bay, Costa Rica
Crocodile Bay Resort Costa Rica
Eco Tour Report
A common day…
At Crocodile Bay, we attempt to provide our clients with many different types of eco activities, which allow them to enjoy, and better understand this ecological wonderland that is the Osa Penninsula The Rainforest tour is the best to see and learn about this area as it offers an introductory lesson on all the secrets that this area contains. You take a leasurely drive for approximately a half hour with quaint views passing through little villages (pueblos in Spanish) and crossing very old metal bridges made it by the US Army 25 years ago.
Along the way you will observe what the people grow here agriculturally like rice, bananas, palm oil, cassava, and also pasture fields showing you the local’s way of living. Once the drive is over it is time to hike into a private preserve.
The first 30 minutes is in an especially picturesque area of secondary forest, where you will see beautiful butterflies, colorful birds, leafcutter ants and very interesting plants that can be used for an assortment of medicinal purposes. Later on the narrow trail you will note how the trees are expanding making shade and almost does not let the sun’s light even hit the ground, only three percent of the light will actually complete its journey to the forest floor (yes, this is one more reason sunburned fishermen claim it feels so good to be in the rainforest). The plants have to develop different techniques and adaptations; many of which involve the attempt to climb other trees.
This is the Primary Forest with hundreds of species of trees and thousand of plants making homes for many different types of wildlife like snakes, birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects. Some of the species that we saw on the last trip are:
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)
Leaf-cutter Ants (Atta cephalotes)
Eyelash-viper (Bothriechis shclegelii)
Chestnut-mandibled Toucan (Ramphastos swainsonii)
Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata)
White-faced Monkey (Cebus capucinus)
By Dennis Atencio
Crocodile Bay, Costa Rica
Sandy the Sea Lion
Crocodile Bay's Baby New Year - A Sea Lion
As Crocodile Bay’s reservation office is located in the North Bay Area of San Francisco, we who live in the Costa Rcia jungle, often receive most of current news of “the real world” from this area.
As some might know, one of San Francisco’s many tourist attractions is Pier 39, which for several years has attracted not only many human sight seers from various parts of the world, but also a good number of non-human tourists. For the past several years a certain section of the docks at Pier 39 have been designated a temporary landing zone for at times up to approximately 1,500 sea lions. During the first few months, nobody understood why the animals chose that location, or why they seemed to make that their new home. And just recently, nobody really understood why they chose to pick up and leave. Of the estimated 1,500 Sea Lions that once used those docks as a semi permanent residence, only about 40 currently remain.
Just as our friends decided to inform us of this change, MINAE (Costa Rica’s version of Fish and Game) informed us they had found a young Sea Lion who seemed to be lost swimming up a Costa Rican estuary on the pacific side of the country, and that it was in bad shape as if it had not eaten in a significant amount of time.
As this government agency is the one who supervises and controls much of the animal related interaction in the country, they knew we had the only live bait permit in the country, and hence, contacted us to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner!!
So after a few days of over indulgence regarding room service, this female Sea Lion affectionately known as “Sandy”, was back to tip top shape, and ready to be let free! Because of Sandy’s past confusion regarding her direction and going up to the estuaries, the Rangers asked that we help her get out offshore, so we gave Sandy and a few of the Park Rangers a boat ride 20 miles off-shore, where they fed her a few last blue runners, said some warm good byes, and let her get back to her days in the clear blue water.
Next time we are visiting back up in San Francisco, we will take a trip to Pier 39, for some clam chowder and we will not forget to stop by to look for Sandy the Sea Lion to see how she fared on her trip through the tropics.
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica
Costa Rica Ecotour Photos from December and January By Dennis Atencio, Eco Director.
Crocodile Bay Resort Costa Rica
Eco Tour Report,
December 15th, 2009
After the first two weeks of being open again this high season, we have been coming to terms with the fact that we - the employees, are not the only ones happy to be back in action. It seems that all of the animals in the rainforest are also happy to have new visitors in the area, and are doing their best to prove why Costa Rica is on the “to do list” of so many naturalists! Two of our first dedicated birders this season were Mr. Paul Olson, and Mr. Joe Benenate. Besides being extremely knowledgeable, they also had a level of enthusiasm that made them instantly loved by our staff and fellow clients alike.
They came to focus on our three day birding package, and after getting off the plane, and settled into their room, I met them in the lobby awaiting the departure of their first tour, and they said “We love watching birds, and we just saw so many passing through your parking lot, that you could put a few chairs out there and we could be happy for days!”
After their first day of tours, they were not the only ones who were impressed, our Head Guide Dennis Atencio was smiling for days knowing he was to be paired with these gentlemen, as it is not everyday he gets to spend time with people who share his same love. Here are a few of the more than 115 bird species that we saw on the bird watching tours with Paul Olson and Joe Benenate between 3 and 6 of December.
Black-cheecked Ant-Tanager ( Habia atrimaxillaris) Endemic to C.R
Golden-hooded Tanager ( Tangara larvata)
Bay-headed Tanager ( Tangara gyrola)
Guest Video of the Month! Watch a Video Clip of 4 Year Old Christopher Sprague on the Rainforest Canopy ZipLine Tour!
More photos from our opening month Dec 1 - 15 2009!
Crocodile Bay Resort
Eco Report December 2009
About two weeks ago, after a few afternoons of rain, an 18-wheeler truck was on its way to Puerto Jimenez, which is the small town on the Osa Penninsula where Crocodile Bay Resort is located. As it was crossing the only bridge into the peninsula in Rincon (origionally installed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers many, many, many years ago), the bridge gave one final sigh and lied down forever- gracefully retiring into the soft mud. The trucker was not injured, other than being officially named by the town’s folk as “the one who killed the bridge”.
In the Osa Penninsula, one of Costa Rica’s, and even Central America’s most un-developed jungle tracts of land, because we live sprinkled amongst the wildlife (clearly outnumbered) it is necessary for us to “read the nature” so to speak. When a cloudy day suddenly starts to produce winds that seem to blow in both directions- we double tie all the boats on the dock in preparation for a serious rainstorm. When we are walking around the property and see a young crocodile hissing on the walking path- we give it a wide berth and sometimes even prepare to run in a “staggered fashion” (which is entirely differentiated from moving in a “staggering fashion” which of course makes the croc think you have been drinking and only makes you look like an easier target…). So when we heard that the 18-wheeler had destroyed the bridge, effectively stopping ALL road transportation in or out of the peninsula, we decided that was a sign that we at Crocodile Bay should completely remove our dependence upon the technologically advanced concept of bridges!
In order to get this done we reviewed all options open to us and ended up buying two brand new Toyota Land Cruisers off the lot, and upgrading them to the die-hard jungle work horses that they were originally designed to be!! When you live in an area so untouched by the rest of the world that you can still consider bridges to be “a technological advancement”, things such as interior carpet, automatic windows, and CD players get exchanged for “burro killer” offensive bumpers, long distance safari style roof racks for spare tires and supplies, winches powerful enough to pull the vehicle into a tree if the need arose, and a “snorkel” air intake which allows the vehicles to cross rivers with water higher than the car windows!!!
So when your planning your next vacation with family or friends, you can always go to another crowded beach, visit some animals at a zoo, or go to the movies to watch an adventure. But if your looking to take a vacation that you will never forget, come to visit us at Crocodile Bay, in the Osa Penninsula, where the only ones crowding the beaches are the turtles and the dolphins, where the animals live life free, instead of locked in cages, and where if you want to take a car ride, you had better have the ability to turn your car into a submarine, because that is just the kind of everyday adventure we see when spending time in the real Central American Jungle!!
Crocodile Bay Resort - Costa Rica
Eco Report - October, 2009
Often we at Crocodile Bay see many of our clients return from their eco tours with a look of pure amazement on their faces. While they always rave about the personalities of our guides, as well as the way in which the tours are handled, the majority of their questions usually revolve around the massive number of varied animal species they see on these relatively short trips. While we do believe we have some of the best naturalist guides in the area, the geographical positioning of Crocodile Bay on the Osa Peninsula has much to do with the continual flow of wildlife we see on a daily basis. Of all the individuals who have written about the Osa, we believe that Daniel Janzen came the closest to our personal feelings about the area in his book Costa Rican Natural History when he wrote:
“Jutting out from the southern coast of Costa Rica, lies the Osa Peninsula, the country’s wildest and most spectacular region. The peninsula is bordered on the east by the pristine Golfo Dulce and on the west, the Pacific Ocean. It is a little more remote than other, more developed parts of the country like Quepos, Dominical or Guanacaste. It is more lush and tropical here than in northern Costa Rica with spectacular wildlife, deserted beaches and virgin forests. Much of the peninsula is still without electricity and four-wheel drive is a necessity here. For those of us that live here, the Osa is what Costa Rica is all about.
The Osa’s unique bio-diversity is made up of eight different habitats including cloud forest and the largest and most exuberant lowland wet tropical forest remaining in all of Pacific Central America. Species density and geographical location make it totally unique. The Osa is home to Corcovado National Park, the crown jewel of Costa Rica’s National Park system and habitat where many endangered animal and plant species still thrive. The largest trees in Costa Rica are found in the forests of the Osa. Corcovado and the surrounding area has been called one of the most biologically diverse places on earth by none other than National Geographic. Truly a paradise lost, it is a place where jaguars still roam the jungles, Scarlet Macaws fly freely around the towns, and monkeys are found in numbers unmatched in all of Costa Rica and most of Central America. Non "mainstream" tourist’s have discovered this previously little known, rugged paradise and come from around the world to experience the "wild side" of Costa Rica and sample some of the world class fishing, surfing and exploring. The Osa Peninsula is unquestionably Costa Rica’s best kept secret! A naturalist’s paradise and an outdoor adventurer’s dream, Outside Magazine calls it... The last best peninsula”
Janzen, D. H. (ed). Costa Rican Natural History. University of Chicago Press. pp.9-41
Crocodile Bay Resort - Costa Rica
Eco Report - September, 2009
While the green season weather is keeping some of us bi-peds inside out of the rain during the one or two hours of “cool down time” here in the jungle, the rest of the animal kingdom here seems to be making the most of it!
We have been noting a large number of new Scarlet Macaws coming into the property, perhaps after noting the many new almond trees that have apparently just reached maturity, offering hundreds of the most revered of tasty nuts, assuming of course you have a nut cracker, or an extremely powerful beak handy to get through that extremely hard outer shell.
Yesterday as I was walking to work, I passed under a troop of Howler Monkeys who seemed for lack of a better word… bored! They took only a minor interest in me until they realized that I was not only alone, but not carrying a camera either, at which time they seemed to forget that I existed all together, and went right back to full time resting. It is as if they too are waiting for the sun to come back out so they can get on with their more energetic monkey business!
The only ones who seem really restless are the dolphins! While I was at the beach a few days ago, and thinking not only of what a beautiful day it was, but also how quiet and secluded it felt out there to be the only person out there- I then realized that I was not the only one out there! Because every few minutes I would see a dorsal fin, or an extremely excited school of baitfish shoot out of the water in unison clearly trying to escape our water based mammal cousins. But the real sign of the dolphin’s energy excess came when I realized that in those few hours, I had seen only 3 boats cruise past the beach on the way to the blue water, and at all 3 times, the boat did not go alone. Instead within minutes of the time the boats caught my eye, they each soon grew a volatile grayish tail, which would randomly jump, shoot, spin, or just glide along on the white water wash behind the boats. Each time I could watch the enthusiasm of the dolphins aerobatics rise in direct correlation to the enthusiasm of the shouts and happy cries of those in the boats, as they screamed their appreciation and support for the free air show!
There are few times in life when you are given such a clear view of the subtle relationship that we humans have with our animal neighbors, but when this view comes it can be both powerful and life changing. As I sat on the beach that day pondering this issue, I came to the conclusion that while I cannot simply “teach” this lesson by describing it to you in words, what I can do is be clear on where you can encounter and learn from this type of lesson on your own. So come to Crocodile Bay in the Osa Peninsula, where the nature is as often the teacher as it is the lesson.
Crocodile Bay Lodge
Crocodile Bay Resort Costa Rica
Eco Report - August 2009
Rainforests of Costa Rica
From 40 to 75% of all species on Earthare indigenous to the rainforests. It has been estimated that many millions of species of plants, insects, and microorganisms are still undiscovered. Tropical rainforests have been called the "jewels of the Earth", and the "world's largest pharmacy", because of the large number of natural medicines discovered there. Rainforests are also responsible for 28% of the worlds oxygen turn over, often misunderstood as oxygen production, processing it through photosynthesis from carbon dioxide and through breathing to carbon dioxide.
The undergrowth in a rainforest is restricted in many areas by the lack of sunlight at ground level. This makes it possible to walk through the forest. If the leafcanopy is destroyed or thinned, the ground beneath is soon colonized by a dense, tangled growth of vines, shrubs, and small trees called a jungle. There are two types of rainforest, tropical rainforest and temperate rainforest.
The lowland Costa Rican rainforest (Osa Peninsula) is home to an amaizing array of plant and animal species totaling about 124 species of mammals; 375 species of birds ; 117 species of reptiles and amphibians; 66 freshwater fish species; and 70 species of marine crabs.
Among the mammals are 4 monkey species, anteaters, sloths, southern river otter, crab-eating raccoon, 5-6 cat species (e.g. ocelot, margay, jaguar), peccaries and Baird's tapir. Crocodile Bay offers several full day and 1/2 day tours that will allow you to see a variety of wildlife during your trip to Crocodile Bay Resort. View all Rainforest Tour Options
Sources: Janzen Daniel H. , 1983, Costa Rican Nature History, 816 p, the University of Chicago Press Chicago and London. Wikipedia
Costa Rica Birding: Basic Recommendations for the Observation of Birds in the Field.
Birds in Costa Rica are found in a wide variety of different places, which vary from natural conditions to altered environments. They are commonly located in forest areas, second growth zones, mangroves, lagoons and rivers, including gardens, buildings, churches and parks in urban areas. Observing and studying birds is an interesting activity, providing knowledge and wonderful surprises.
The observer must have good visual and auditory capacities, patience, discipline and perseverance in order to obtain the essential information on a determined species. One must frequently remain quiet, silent, and attentive during long hours, generally under unfavorable field conditions. Nevertheless, in most cases, these difficulties are amply rewarded with the personal satisfaction of accomplishing the planned objectives and having the unique experience of admiring rare and beautiful birds in their natural habitat.
During Costa Rica Bird watching Tours, it is advisable to move in small groups, walking slowly and carefully, in the most cautious and silent manner. Unnecessary conversation with other companions must be avoided so that the birds will not be disturbed or scared away. In addition, it is convenient for participants to wear the correct clothing to avoid sharp contrast with the surroundings environment, thus disrupting the birds. In order to be successful in identifying birds in the field, it is highly advisable to locate them in their natural habitat at the correct time, according to the behavior pattern and ecological requirements of each species.
In general, most diurnal birds and those associated with forested areas are usually found active from sunrise until 8 or 9 am, and later after 2 or 3 pm. However, there are exceptions, such as aquatic species, which remain active throughout most of the day. In general, knowledge of periods of activity of the different bird species, their preferred habitats and other important aspects related to their behavior facilitates observation.
The minimum equipment necessary to observe and identify birds in the field consists of a pair of standard binoculars, a small notebook, field guides and possibly a telescope, camera or video recorder as optional accessories.If you would like to learn more about these birding tactics, or put some of your own ideas into practice in the jungle, come visit us at Crocodile Bay and show us what you have got!
1. Birds of the Rain Forest Costa Rica. Hidalgo, Carmen
2. . A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica, Stiles and Skutch
Costa Rica Eco Report,
by Alberto Herrera,
The New Monkey Tour
Every year at Crocodile Bay Resort, we insure that when our yearly clients return, that they will find many pleasant new surprises, that were not available on their past trips. The following are some of our new tours we have created specifically for this reason;
The New Monkey Tour The New World Monkeys are split into three families. The largest and most diverse family, with more than 30 species, is the Cebidae, which includes the four monkeys found in Costa Rica. Crocodile Bay Resort is located on the Osa Peninsula, in the southern zone of Costa Rica. This is the only place in the country than you can find all the four Costa Ricans monkeys species together such as the Mantled Howler Monkey, White-Throated Capuchin Monkey, Spider Monkey and Central America Squirrel Monkey.
At present, more than a third of the world’s primate species are listed as threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and about one in seven are in imminent danger of disappearing. This tour was created specifically for those who want to focus on these amazing species of monkeys in their natural habitat, but perhaps choose not to take the entire Rainforest Hike due to physical restrictions or time restraints.
Tour Details: Leaves at 8:00 am and returns by 11:30 am
Osa Palmas Canopy Tour
Costa Rican law protects 25% of its territory through the different Categories of Conservation. But there are many Privates Reserves that use their lands in Eco Friendly Activities. One of our most popular tours in the past year was our first Canopy Tour, due to its high popularity, we started providing it at night, for a new twist... and oh is it ever twisted in the dark! But because some of our clients were becoming addicted to the adrenaline of the activity, but at the same time, wanted a change of scenery, we added a new one!
Osa Palmas Canopy tour is a good example of Conservation in a tour of adventure and adrenaline. Our clients get to experience more speed every time in each of their five zip-lines, at the same time we are passing through and in between renewable plantations of trees, primary forest, secondary forest and wide open areas. Besides that, we have a total of eight platforms with heights from ground level to 36 meters over the ground, at the height of the canopy of the forest.
The great views, the speed and adrenaline, as well as the presence of the flora and fauna of the area make it a great combination of experiences.
Marine Turtles Tour
For the last 50 years, more and more herpetologist and scientists have been concerned with the conservation of land, freshwater, and sea turtles. Finally, centers of protection and study have been created throughout the world, and controlled breeding has made reintroduction possible. Working to “secure a future where humans and sea turtles can live together in balance,” the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) is an innovative, proactive and inclusive mechanism for sustainable development on a regional scale. Since 1981, the WIDECAST network, with Country Coordinators in more than 40 nations and territories, has linked scientists, conservationists, resource managers, resource users, policy-makers, industry groups, educators and other stakeholders together in a collective effort to develop a unified management framework.
WIDECAST has one of the projects in southern Costa Rica, and we are proud to support them, as well as show you how we are doing it. The Osa Peninsula is one of the most important place for nesting of marine turtles in Costa Rica, specifically at Carate Beach. Crocodile Bay Resort is supporting WIDECAST selling their products in our gift shop and developing this tour where you can be a part of the baby marine turtles migration while running to the ocean after hatching.
In the hatchery the marine turtle eggs are safe because the wildlife enemies can’t attack them.
Every morning hundreds of turtles hatch at the beach and the people in charge of this project release the baby turtles at the top of the beach. It’s very important turtles run from the top of the beach to the water by themselves, because on this way they will collect the information about different parameters of the beach, because with this information they will return in fifty years for nesting. Want a hands on experience with mother nature, while at the same time getting to play mother to baby sea turtles? That option is now on the tour list if you do.
Leaves at 6pm and returns at 12 mn (available December to January)