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A sustainable weekend in Arenal

A part of our team was invited to Arenal last weekend by our long-term partner agency "Eco Terra Costa Rica" for a "Fam-Trip Adventure Tour". On this trip we had the opportunity to get to know different tours and hotels in this beautiful region of the country.


The sun was shining brightly at the sky of San José that Friday morning, when we were greeted by our companions Grethel and Deina in front of the National Museum. We got into the minibus and left the hustle and bustle of San José behind us, looking forward to what we would expect in the next two days.



About three hours later, we turned on a bumpy gravel road just before the small town of La Fortuna and overcame the last few kilometers of the track to the La Tigra Rainforest Lodge, our stay for the first night. There we were welcomed by Adolfo, since the opening in 2014 head of the plant, in his Costa Rican warm way and led to a covered wooden veranda. From there, we had a unique panorama over the wide plain of the Arenal National Park.



This sight must have given the scriptwriter of Jurassic Park his decisive inspiration for the blockbuster, because it is easy to imagine how millions of years ago, instead of the condor imposing pterodactyls were likely to cross the rain forests in their place.


In front of this impressive scenery Adolfo explained to us that the operation of the lodge places a high value on sustainable work. That's why La Tigra decided to start a tree sponsorship project and reforest a site near the lodge. The project is part of a pleasing national development. As recently as the 1980s, 75 percent of the national forest population had been cut down. However, the government was able to take countermeasures with stricter regulations and initiate a turnaround in the 1990s.


After the successful welcome we brought our luggage to the huts, which stood in the midst of the rain forest, spartan in his fittings and thus fit perfectly into the concept of the plant. The sleeping area was only separated by curtains from the balcony, the side walls were made of thick green tarpaulins and over the bunk beds mosquito nets were attached, under which at night, safe from tropical bloodsuckers, the sound of the nature could be heard.



Next up on our program was the first culinary highlight of the trip: fresh, self-breaded Yuca, baked over a wood-burning oven, also known as manioc in Germany. Yuca is usually prepared like boiled salt potatoes and are an excellent source of starch and together with a tomato salad a tasty little meal in between. Already the natives of Latin America appreciated the Yuca, long before the potato reached the land together with the colonization.



With the onset of dusk, the jungle, whose sound does not differ that much from that of a German mixed forest during the day, came to life and the calls of its inhabitants filled the night.


It was time for us to set out for the last event of the day. This consisted of a guided night walk, with a focus on the numerous frogs living in Costa Rica and subsequent dinner. The bus took us to the property of a family, which lives half an hour away from the lodge and regularly provides their extensive garden, together with a small souvenir shop, as a starting point for the tours of Eco Terra.


Shortly after the start of the tour we were able to discover the famous symbol of Costa Rica, the red-eyed tree frog depicted on every Costa Rica promotional brochure, as well as some other species. Another impressive inhabitant was the feared "Bullet Ant". This animal is called that way because of the pain caused by its venom equals a gunshot and is officially classified as the most painful in the world. In the culture of the Brazilian Sateré-Mawe tribe, Bullet Ants are part of a test of courage in which a young ambitious tribal chief can earn his respect by wearing a Bullet Ants glove for half an hour. However, the actors do not have any long-term consequences from this ritual, as the poison of the ant does not cause any tissue damage.


After ninety very interesting minutes with our guide, without whose well-trained eye we probably would not have discovered a single one of the well-camouflaged animals, we returned to the property to round off the first day at dinner.


The second part will follow shortly in the newsletter.