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Costa Rica Jungle

Posted by Susanna On January - 23 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Like one of my friends Greg said there is a kind of simple lodge in the jungle on the border to Corcovado National park. I and him and two other new friends went there today to check it out. It is difficult to reach since you normally first take a bus then wait (sometimes for hours) for a pickup van and then you hike up to the lodge for about 30min. So I took only a few things and my camera equipment with me. The hike was tiring but the jungle amazing. Blue morpho butterflies and various birds and macaws flew around. After choosing our beds we decided to hike to the view point where we had a great view over the forest up to the sea.

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Pura Vida in Costa Rica

Posted by Susanna On January - 22 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

After border crossing yesterday this was my first day in Costa Rica. Since I don’t have much time (10days) until my flight to Miami I just want to spend as much time as possible at a nice spot not traveling in buses. So I had heard of the Corcovado National Park supposedly the area with the highest biodiversity on earth. At least this is what National Geographic said. I am staying at ‘The Corner – La Isquina’ hostel with Ronnie and his family. They were excellent people and my friend and I could even cook in their kitchen. Later Ronnie went with us to the swamps for feeding the crocodiles. It was like at Isla Parida feeding the caymans. Most crocodiles were similar seize but one was massive. Another small one missed already a part of its tail, a leg, an eye and looked totally scared over. We observed as well various types of birds. Since it was still raining there was not as much time to explore outside.

Puerto Jiminez Crocodiles

Puerto Jiminez

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The Boquete hot springs

Posted by Susanna On January - 20 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

People say there are great hot springs around Boquete. A few guests of the Bambu hostel in David decided to go so I thought I might as well. But only 30min later I regret… It is difficult to reach them… After the bus drops you of somewhere in nowhere you have to walk for hours or hope you find someone who takes you hitchhiking. Since we were four of us it seemed a mission and halfway I almost gave up. Finally we got to a simple field in the forest with some springs owned by a family. They took US$5 and then you could enter. I already saw some horses and ask if they rent them for my way back. Yes they did and so at least on my way back I could enjoy riding a horse. The hot springs were great and actually helped my skin disease on my legs I still got from the amazon.

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Boquete Flower Show

Posted by Susanna On January - 18 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Leaving Isla Parida feels like awaking of the best dream you ever had! It was such an amazing time so even the Flower and Coffee Show in Boquete can not top that. The show happens once a year in the beginning of January. It is mainly about flowers since I haven’t seen any coffee. But very pretty flowers. It is interesting if you in that area but not as exiting as I would have expected… For the Panamanian people mostly the fiesta at night is the big happening.

Orchids

Cactus

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Leaving paradise

Posted by Susanna On January - 17 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Is it possible to live after being in such an amazing place? I guess. But Isla Parida is probably one of the most beautiful islands… Just a few impressions before leaving around 7am. So far this was one of the best weekends of this trip!

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More Macaws…

Posted by Susanna On January - 16 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Parida is such an amazing place – I do not even know what to do first! First Michelle introduced all the parrots and macaws. All are individuals with their own personality. On Parida living five different types of  macaws: The Green -Winged Macaw (biggest of all macaws) , the Scarlett Macaw, the Blue and Gold Macaws, Buffon Macaws and the Hyacinth Macaw. The native macaws like the Scarlett Macaw and the Buffon Macaw will be released at the island. Michelle she told me that they chose their mate and two couples of Scarlett macaws swap partner and are happily ever since.
Only the real rare Hyacinth macaw mates for life and if he loses its partner it will stay alone until death. Hyacinth macaws having the hardest beak of all macaws. They are even able to crack the hard shells of coconuts and macadamia nuts!
One of the macaw couple is even mixed a green and a red one – but they love each other.  Michelle got beautiful parrots and macaws on her own. Her favorite is the pretty Hyacinth ‘Precious’. Later I explored the island, slept for about 1h at the beach.

 

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Sensory overload at Isla Parida

Posted by Susanna On January - 15 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

As Daniel had said yesterday we were picked up in the morning. Unfortunately my alarm went off but he was very kind and waited. I did not know what to expect but I had the feeling it would be wonderful, maybe like my so far favorite island Nananu in Fiji. From the mainland it took about 30-40min by boat to reach Isla Parida. The weather was great and the sun shining. The water glinted. I was so exited! And then there was the private island. Beautiful! Marvelous. Like a jewel in the ocean. From the side we arrived at to the other side Daniel used a golf cart as transportation vehicle. That was so fun! Especially cruising along the over 1km beach…

After inspecting the wonderful property I got to see the first time in my life pygmy marmoset. These are probably the tiniest monkeys of the world around the same seize of a tarsier maybe. They had three – two males and one female. And they had even a story: They all including another male belonged to a private zoo in Panama what needed to close. So the owner was looking for a place for the four. Finally they found one and all four pygmy marmoset were divided in two each between two new owners. Isla Parida got two males. And the female with another male came to somebody else… But the female behaved strange. People said every morning she was looking out for someone or something calling… Nobody understood what was going on. After six months her companion the other male died of a scorpion sting and the new owner suggest to reunited the remaining female with the two other males of Isla Parida who she already knew from times back in the zoo. And can you imagine what happened? As soon as the female met the two others she got exited and so happy. And it became obvious why she was looking for someone everyday – she had missed her choses partner! He was one of the two males of Isla Parida. When the four had been divided people did that just randomly without thinking that even a tiny monkey could have chosen a partner for life! So a big happy end for the pygmy marmoset couple!

Then I saw the macaws. The owner of the private island own over 20 macaws and lots of other parrots. They breed them and goal is to release the to Panama native macaws on the island. At the moment of my visit there were already a few couples flying around wild. Michelle a lady from the states takes care of them and brought her own parrots as well. It was an amazing experience to see these magnificent and intelligent birds that close. So wonderful. And each of them has their own personalities, habits, likes and dislikes.

Furthermore the owner had Panama deer, two females and one male. There were so tame that I could go close and pet them. I felt like in paradise sine I love animals so much. Close to the deer was the monkey tree! On that tree live five female spider monkeys. As soon as I entered the place one of them got very excited. Her name was Bella. She loved the attention and the cuddles. She was one very communicative monkey and all time she did a sound what was similar to the twitter of a bird. Another monkey was Lucy. She was curious and shy at the same time. Even while looking at her photos you realize the two different personalities of the monkeys. The other monkeys stayed on the tree. Outside the monkey tree was a kind of angry whitefaced capuchin. He was supposed to be caught and brought of the island because he was alone and aggressive. Supposedly he had killed a few tamarind monkeys. But he is just a very smart monkey and since he was escaped a trap he is now difficult to catch.

And if you think that is enough of overstimulation for one day – you are wrong!
With Daniel and his family I visited later the other side of the island or maybe just another island? I am not sure. Anyway at that place his mum and dad lived. It was beautiful! The mum had few wild caymans as pets who she fed everyday. Wow! What an experience! I had never seen that before but it was real! The place was wonderful as well and I really don’t know what was the best on that day. I have seen so many miracles… If there is a paradise it will look like Parida!

I am very thankful that I had met Daniel and for his great invitation to Parida. It was really one of the best things I ever have experienced traveling. For everything I had witnessed today one day was not enough….

Isla Parida

Pygmy marmoset

Panama deer

Spider monkeys

Whitefaced capuchin

The other side and feeding the caymans

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Thank you!

Posted by Susanna On January - 14 - 20111 COMMENT

This was a very special day! With a friend I left cold and rainy ‘Lost and Found‘ looking so forward to the sun in David. We went down the hill and took the easy but longer way. It was raining again. But who cares I thought, will be in a warm bus in a bit! But No! Guess what, not even one public bus stopped for us. And it rained and rained. I was soaked to the bones. I started to freeze. I had not expected that public buses can deny to take you! Was it because we were two and there is not enough space?! Out of a sudden more two more traveler from ‘Lost and Found‘ arrived and I got worried. I told them to stay somewhere else since I imagined our chances get less and less with four people trying to get into the bus. We already stood for over an hour in the rain! As expected they were a bit annoyed but I really was sick of staying in the rain. My last bus attempt was even to stop one with jumping in front of it so it would have to stop or drive over me. The only thing I got out of this was a: “Loca!” and they kicked me out again… I decided to try to even stop cars and hitchhike… Lots of cars passed by but nobody took us… Maybe travelers had a bad reputation? For sure I knew that people who took people in the back of a truck had to pay a high fine of US$150! So surely nobody wanted to risk that… Then a truck stopped. It was loaded with the biggest plastic boxes you could imagine! Very big and blue and with a fitting lit to them. The driver offered us to hop in and as I understood he wanted to bring us to David if we would be quite and sit in the boxes. Very funny! That was what we did until he stopped after maybe 20min and told us to leave… Again back on the streets at least in the sun. After waiting another 20min finally a car stopped. It was a young Panamanian named Daniel with wife and kids. He offered us to drop us of in Bambu Hostal in David! Thx god!!! The saviour! After he had lunch with his family he came back to the car and ask if we had anything planned this weekend. Of course not! “You want to see something else?” And he invited us to join him and his family to visit a privat island with lots to see…

Back at the hostel I found out two of my photos won the GCT competition for the calendar 2012. I am so happy but I know without my great friends I would not have made it! That’s why:

Thanks to everybody who had supported me for the contest of getting a month in the official Galapagos Conservation Trust calendar 2012! My photos won and I am delighted to tell you that sea lion and Galapagos hawk won. Therefore I will be in the calendar with two of my shots 🙂 Thanks to everybody who believed in me and took a few minutes to vote me! I am very lucky to have friends like you!

Leon Dormida - Sleeping sea lion at Lion Rock

Leon Dormido - Sleeping sea lion at Lion Rock

Galapagos hawk at Espanola Island

Galapagos hawk at Espanola Island

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The best Coffee is from… PANAMA!

Posted by Susanna On January - 13 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Did you ever visited a coffee farm? Or do you know where the best coffee comes from right now? I gave it a try and visited the organic coffee farm of Don Cune and learned about the process of growing coffee over harvesting it up to the final roasted product.  Don Cune is one of the growing numbers of organic farmers in Panama. He grows mainly coffee but sells as well fruit liquors. He knows lots about plants and even healing plants. The most expensive coffee right now is Geisha coffee from around Boquette in Panama. Also Don Cune is growing Geisha. He showed the way of sugar cane juice making as well as various ways of dealing with the coffee cherries / beans. Unfortunately his farm got lots of sand flies who bite me again even though I had used high deed repellent. I should just have know at that point that the best way to prevent their bites is actually coconut oil because they are so tiny that they will drawn in it while trying to bite.
At the guesthouse they showed me a very rare salamander what is barely known to science and i took the second photo in history of it…

Don Cune’s coffee farm

Olingo

 

 

 

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Rainy cloud forest

Posted by Susanna On January - 12 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

The place ‘Lost and Found’ sounded so great. It offered fantastic hikes and wildlife. But in reality it was overrated. I arrived the night before in darkness and rain taking even the more difficult route since the bus dropped me there. They were no private rooms and the dormitory had three level bunk beds and five of them. Furthermore it was so messy I did not know where to step first. I had expected more. The advertisement had looked promising and the ‘Lonely Planet’ recommended it. They had a Kinkajou (Honey bear) but I had no chance to take pictures of and that was one of my main reasons I came. If you stay two nights you get the third night free. Since the weather was so bad and it rained and rained all hiking paths were muddy and slippery. It was seriously no fun to explore outside. It was cold and besides the TV room there was no possibility to hang out inside… I really had loved the hot showers though! They were extremely hot and I enjoyed them very much. However there are more volunteers than wildlife. I only observed a Olingo and a Cocomistle coming out in the evening and looking for food at the platform.

The Olingo

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“Man's feelings are always purest and most glowing in the hour of meeting and of farewell.”
by Jean Paul Richter
 

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