Thursday, December 8, 2022—After Getting Worse, It Gets Better

I slept on and off through the night, experiencing more atrocious symptoms of the terrible virus. Thankfully, I gradually began to feel a bit better—there was nothing left in my stomach or intestines. I ate a very light breakfast of dry toast, after which we traveled to a Macaw Rescue Center. The Macaw Farm is a private initiative that has turned into a successful breeding center for both the Scarlet and Great Green Macaws. The Great Green Macaw was near extinction in some places, but populations are now coming back, thanks to private initiatives such as the Macaw Rescue Center. We were delighted to see and photograph Macaws in flight, even if they were flying, in the wild, between feeding stations.

Scarlet Macaw
Great Green Macaw
Scarlet Macaw
Great Green Macaw

We were then treated to fresh pineapple (I ate none for obvious reasons), and observed White-faced Monkeys swinging from limbs in nearby trees.

White-faced Monkey bouncing from limb to limb
White-faced Monkey, anyone can love this face
White-faced Monkey
White-faced Monkey
One of my all time favorite photos…
Even Monkeys need hugs

Back at the Selva Verde Rainforest Lodge, a few of us hung out at the feeding station to observe and photograph many colorful species of birds.

After lunch, we had a guided walk in the dark jungle at the Selva Verde’s property. It was so dark, in fact, that it was near difficult to get decent exposure on photographs.

Selva Verde exists today because of one woman’s desire to make a difference. As a pioneer in the business of ecotourism, Giovanna Holbrook traveled the world creating unique adventures for avid naturalists. In 1982, Giovanna arranged an ornithological field study in Costa Rica for the National Aviary. At the last minute, accommodations for the explorers fell through and they found themselves without a place to stay. Giovanna raced to Costa Rica to rectify the situation. A full day drive from San Jose, over barely passable dirt roads, found her deep in the county of Sarapiquí.

During her stay, Giovanna discovered a large tract of old growth forest that was up for sale. The land was facing an uncertain future and may well have been purchased for logging or agricultural purposes. Giovanna placed a deposit on the property and embarked on making it a world class ecotourism destination. However, shortly after purchasing the property, Giovanna discovered squatters staking claim to her land. She enlisted her good friend Dr. Tom Emmel and with the help of a local conservationist, confronted the squatters. After some intense and heated negotiations, a deal was struck. If the squatters agreed to vacate her property, they would be offered jobs once the project was completed.  

Over the next several years, Giovanna continued to travel back and forth between the US and Costa Rica as the dream of Selva Verde began to take shape. Soon the original house was hosting visiting researchers and plans were underway to build additional guest rooms and a dining hall. More than 30 years later, Selva Verde is a world renowned eco-lodge committed to advancing the practice of sustainable tourism.

During today’s excursions, even a Howler Monkey made an appearance.

Howler Monkey

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