Audrey on the beach

For our first Saturday in Costa Rica, we decided to do a 10 km hike through Cahuita National Park, just north of Puerto Viejo. This section of the Carribean coast has a famously consistent and powerful shore break, known as the Salsa Brava, which formed a constant background to the day’s adventure. After rounding the last curve of shoreline, the beaches turned volcanic, with dark black, almost purple sand. Lorelei managed to smear it all over herself and look like a coal miner!

big hermit crab There were tons of hermit crabs on the beach section of the hike! Whole families would scurry down the path as we approached.

snail bindi Audrey trying to get her snail bindi to stick

shaking coconuts Listening for coconut water

The last 3 km were a boardwalk straight through the heart of the jungle or bosque. We were completely surrounded by the noises of the jungle– birds, frogs, insects, howler monkeys and who knows what else!

family shot

Along the way we saw a ton of animals, including capuchins, spider monkeys, and howlers; sloths; and innumerable spiders. One of the spider was as big as our hand. Lorelei almost grabbed it as it was snuggled up under one of the hand railings eating a meal, right at her eye level.

howlers Howlers in the trees

racoon Raccoon

sleepy sloth Sleepy sloth

monkey Capuchin

monkey jumping monkey mid jump

At one point we heard an amazing racket, long, loud, and almost musical. We looked up, way up, and finally found the source of the noise: a group of green parrots at least 200 feet up in the canopy.

boardwalk through the jungle

camoflauge Lorelei working on her camoflauge skills

holding hands

spider string Investigating a string of baby spiders

At dinner that night we showed our waitress the giant spider’s picture and she was convinced it was a Brazilian Wandering Spider, one of the deadliest in the world, known for pouncing on people that it feels threatened by. I guess we are lucky it was preoccupied!

Brazilian Wandering Spider with Lo too close A Brazilian Wandering Spider with Lorelei way too close!

spider Was it preparing to strike? I think we got lucky!