Update on Costa Rica and many other things!!

Cdfortin(GA)March 24, 2005

Greetings! ItÂs been several weeks since IÂve been able to write in the forum. Between my return from Costa Rica and the many complexities that life enjoys creating, I have been very busy. So, I might as well use this as an opportunity to update you all on several things.

Costa Rica:

Fabulous! Sites explored include San Jose, the Arenal volcano region, Monteverde, and Quepos (Manuel Antonia National Park).

 San Jose: culturally interesting, a bit dangerous, only spent a day here

 Arenal Volcano: active volcano (erupts daily!) and surrounding tropical forest were beautiful. The Tabacon hot springs were fantastic. Day trip to the Cano Negro Preserve (swampland)

 Monteverde: fantastic cloud forest. Every type of epiphyte you could imagine (an old tree can have over three hundred species!) Went on the sky walk and zip line and, of course, tours through the forest.

 Quepos: went to Manuel Antonio National Park (on the coast). Beautiful beaches, tons of wildlife.

To view pictures: http://share.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=EeBN2zFu1cN3XA

Recent Plant Order:

Today I received a plant order from Black Jungle. Tillandsias were beautiful and very healthy! Based on SahoyÂs experience I only ordered two terrestrials and IÂm glad I did. They were puny! IÂm sure theyÂll grow fast though. Also ordered a jewel orchid which was a nice size and in very good condition. BTW, can anyone tell me how to plant the jewel orchid?

300 Gal Terrarium:

A while back I mentioned that I had a 300 gal terrarium. I must admit that was a white lie. I am in the process of building it-but it is nearly complete. This week I purchased epoxy paint to finish off the interior.

To view pictures: http://share.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=EeBN2zFu1cN3TQ

Red Eyed Tree Frogs:

TheyÂre on the way! I am receiving a shipment of 6 Nicaraguan captive bred sub adults tomorrow to put in my newest terrarium (not the 300 gal one-theyÂll go there later). Of course I have done tons of research but I would greatly appreciate any advice, especially from those who keep their frogs in vivariums.

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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Sounds like you had a great time. Amazing how much there is to see in such a small country.The altitude changes and tropical convergence zones create so many habitats.
I think when i visit the next time I'm going to include Panama.At least the western part .Would love to see the east where it joins Colombia but I hear it's too dangerous.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 5:42AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Sounds like a really great trip! As for the jewel orchid, they are pretty easy, and can even grow in potting soil, as long as they're not kept soaking wet. Which one did you get? Ludisia discolor? Macodes petolata? I hear the Macodes can be more difficult, but I don't think that applies to growing them in terrariums. More likely to be pot culture, that they dry out too quickly. RETFs are so cute! Post pics when you get them!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 3:40PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

oh. . . my. . . goodness! I just looked at all those photos you took, and am completely blown away! I have decided that one of my life goals is now to go to Costa Rica! The sheer beauty! The birds! The butterflies! The plants! I am in total awe. I do have to ask though, were there also unpleasant things, like really huge spiders or centipedes? Did you find any in your bed or in the shower or anything like that? That would freak me out so bad. . . but I think I'd still go. I honestly cannot thank you enough for transporting me to paradise for a few minutes. It really makes me not want to look out my window and come back to reality. =)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 12:49PM
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Thanks for the kind words! It really was how you describe it-fantastic. There was nothing bad there like you say. In fact, there were no bugs!!!!!!!! No misquitos!!! Even at the Cano Negro swanp of all places, there was not one single misquito!!! The temps varied from the mid 60's to the mid 80's, but the majority of the time it was in the mid to high 70's. Of course this is farenheight (sry my knowledge of celcius is terrible). It didn't rain once when I was there (they have a 2 month dry season-the rest of the time it is soaking wet).

Of course, if you look hard, you can find the centipedes and spiders. I saw one centipede in the forest at Monteverde and it basically just sat there and did nothing. The only spider I saw was a small tarantula, but that was also in the forest and our tour guide had to fish it out of a deep hole for us to even catch a glimpse of it.

The hotels (I stayed in 4) were not the "jungle shacks" I thought they would be. They were very clean, had air conditioning, locks, safes, purified water (although I still drank bottled water to be on the safe side), and maid service. I would imagine it is relatively easy to end up in a "jungle shack" by accident, as there were quote a few there, so you want to do research before you go. I used American Express travel service.

Let me know if I can tell you anything else!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 7:37PM
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BTW I did have one problem with Costa Rica: that I couldn't take home any of the thousands of epiphytes that grow like weeds there (especially in Monteverde)!!!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 7:53PM
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What an amazing set of photos, it must have been a wonderful trip. I really enjoyed the photos of the Basalisks and other reptiles. The sloth was adorable. The plant life is just beautiful. Do you know if the plant in image number 95 is a fern or an Epiphyllum cacti species? Whatever it is, it's really cool.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2005 at 1:10AM
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Everyone thought I was crazy taking individual plant pics but I knew that you all would appreciate them. To answer your question, I honestly don't know. It's amazing how bad I am with plant names. All I know is that it is for sure an epiphyte.

There were literally hundreds of thousands more types of epiphytes in Monteverde, just mind blowing. Unfortunately I only had time to take a few pics. They (scientists) discover 3-10 new species of plants (mostly epiphytes) daily in Monteverde. Interestingly, there isn't too much rain there. Instead, because it is deep in the mountains, clouds literally pass through the forest and the plants just wick up the moisture in the air. If it does rain, only about 5% of the water ever makes it to the forest floor because the majority is immediately absorbed by the plants in the trees. There are other amazing statistics, like the fact that 3 (dry) tons of epiphytes can live in a single old tree, but I can't remember them all.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2005 at 4:21PM
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