• Caitlin McAninch

Costa Rica Jungle Night Hike

Updated: Feb 16, 2019

So on the Thursday of our first week in Costa Rica we had a tour planned for the beautiful Rio Celeste. It’s this magical place where the water is beyond blue, and it’s extremely Instagramable.

This is not the blog about Rio Celeste. This is the blog about us NOT going to Rio Celeste, and doing something else instead. So. Read on for more.

Our Attempt at Rio Celeste

Our driver and tour guide picked us up at 7:45am, it was approximately an hour and a half away from our hotel. We drove, and drove, and then turned off some bumpy dirt road, where we stopped and saw this sloth:

Then we kept driving, and arrived to the main entrance of the hike that takes you up to the waterfall. But. Park rangers stopped us. Who told us the storm from the night before had damaged the pathways so badly, that the park would be closed for 15 days! So clearly we would not be going to Rio Celeste.

And yet, we still paid for that tour. What would we be doing instead?!

Our tour guide quickly came up with a second idea: doing La Fortuna Waterfall and then doing a night hike in the evening.

Night Hike in La Fortuna

Our driver and guide picked us up around 5pm, because ya know, it gets dark by 5:30pm in Costa Rica. Oh, btw. From this point on, all images for this post were taken on my iPhone 7 Plus, in the dark. I am pretty surprised at how awesome all these shots came out!

We drove right outside La Fortuna to a man’s farm. From what the tour guide told us, the tour company, Sunset Tours, is looking to partner with the land owner to do tours because of the diversity of frog species on his farm. But, they’re having a hard time finding a way to open the area and keep it protected. He told us we were the first tourists to get to see the area. We felt very honored.

And really, it was amazing.

We saw so many frogs: including two crystal frogs, one with his eggs, multiple rain forest tree frogs (they’re the one with the red eyes), two poison dart frogs, and lots of toads! I spotted a snake. And we saw a giant lizard called a basilisk.

The image above is a toad and a poison dart frog, with a close up of the poison dart frog two images above.

This was by far the coolest. Our guide spotted that blog above from atop the leaf, and then by bending down and looking underneath, he found us a glass frog with his babies!!! These little guys are actually clear, but he appears green because he is on the leaf! So cool, right?

AND! On the same leaf as the glass frog and his eggs was this hornets nest above!

Then we saw a second glass frog, below!

This giant lizard is called a Basilisk!

And this cute little frog below is a classic Rainforest frog, with red eyes and a green and blue body!

More hornet's nests.... ew.

And no joke, I walked right into this snake above. I screamed. Loud. Apparently he's just waiting patiently to catch one of these cute frogs...

Look at this little guy's hands!

The plants here were really cool, too. We saw red ginger, and a number of crops including pineapple, ginger, and all these trees with big fruits.

Lady Sloth!

It’s actually a really interesting area; the farmer has two houses, one that he and his family live in and the second he uses as an Air BNB. Then there is the farm land that we walked around during the night hike.

But, in the yard of the two houses he has built a fortress for a female three-toed sloth! He has built her the cutest fortress, connecting multiple trees with rope. We saw her before we started the hike, and as we left. She was just climbing around on her ropes! So active in the evening! I actually have a short clip of the sloth in this video:

Also, this is my first attempt at making a travel video... Not too bad, right?

Why our hike was so special.

Like I said, the company wants to regularly give night hikes here, but it’s hard because many of the areas that have tours like this get too commercialized and the animals leave. For example, the glass frog that we saw, on any given night hike there is only a 50% chance of seeing one. In this area that is not commercialized, we have 100% chance of seeing at least one – and we did! We saw two!

It was also a bit different because it was 100% down pouring. We were soaked the entire time. We had our raincoats on from REI, stupid purchase. My shirt underneath was absolutely soaked. But, even through the rain, we had such an amazing time.

If you ever have the opportunity to go on a night hike in the jungle, I highly recommend it. The wildlife was beyond awesome, and I still am giddy thinking about all the animals we saw that night.

The night hike was incredible, but so was everything else we did on our trip, so be sure to check out my other blog posts about Costa Rica:

Costa Rica

Distance: 3,844 miles

Driving Time: 76 hours

#Activities #CostaRica #Abroad