Friday, March 14, 2008

Costa Rica 40

NOTE: not all of the attached pictures were taken at the butterfly garden.

With full bellies and still thinking of the wonderful chicken we had just eaten, we decided to grab a cab to our next adventure. We weren’t sure how far away it was but we knew it was in the mountains overlooking the town somewhere. We were going to a butterfly garden!

Ok, I admit it. I was about as excited to go look at a bunch of butterflies as I was to poke a sharp stick in my eye. But it was something to do to fill the hours. We could have gone back to the room to take another nap I suppose, but that just didn’t seem like a valid use of our time.

We arrived at the building, which was nestled into the side of a hill, purchased our tickets and waited for the English speaking guide to gather enough people to start the tour. Finally, with the masses amassed, we entered into the first room. It was some kind of educational room with various species of bugs and caterpillars and spiders on display.

By on display, I mean in little glass, open topped aquariums or trays. Our guide was in the center area in a space made by tables all around her. The first thing she did was reach into a tub and pull out this huge tarantula. While she explained what gentle, docile creatures they really are, it was busy running all over her hands, trying to get away. Truthfully, if she had asked if anybody wanted to hold it, my hand would have been one of the first ones to reach out. This fact surprised me to no end. Guess I don’t feel the same way about spiders that I do about SNAKES!.
But she never offered this creature, or any of the others, to the crowd. Except to shove stuff at your face if you got to close to her. Like gross cockroaches, caterpillars and other beetles and bugs that I have long since forgotten the names of.

Tour and initiation into the wonderful world of bugs and crawly things over, we headed out for the butterflies. But first, a stop at a leafcutter ant village. We finally got to ask all the questions that had popped into our minds while watching them cross the jungle path so many days ago in Cahuita.

The butterfly exhibits themselves were nothing short of amazing. They had four different buildings, each one just a little bit higher on the hill than the one before. You had to go through double doors to get in so that none of the inhabitants flew out. You also had to check your clothing and that of the people around you before you left. Just in case there was some stowaway wanting to get out! Each one of the buildings represented a different level of ecosystem and was climatically controlled. They went from sea level to the highest level of the cloud forests.

The whole thing was a fascinating piece of business. I was truly amazed at the diversity and beauty of all these different butterflies. And our guide was truly well versed in each and every one of them. We lingered longer than usual in the fourth and last building. Perhaps reluctant to leave this tiny bit of paradise, populated by so many interesting butterflies.

I went into this little side trip with a definite ho-hum attitude but it turned out to be one of those special little surprises that one doesn’t expect. I would recommend it to anybody.

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