Please enlighten a naive young man

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Herpaderp
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Please enlighten a naive young man

Post by Herpaderp »

I'm going to be traveling in Costa Rica and Panama starting in early February of 2015 for a couple of months. I would like to make the trip mostly about volunteering, with a bit of me time here and there, but the focus of the trip is definitely the fauna, particularly the herpetofauna. I understand that the months I am going to be there are the dry months and not as conducive to herping, but I was hoping you fine people with experience in Costa/Rica and Panama during that time of the year could impart some knowledge if you have a minute.

Here is my proposed itinerary in terms of the locations I am planning on visiting

1) Guanacaste in NW Costa Rica
2) Tortugero in NE Costa Rica
3) Bocas Del Toro in NE Panama
4) Golfito in SW Costa Rica

the dream would be to make it as far south as Darien National Park on the Colombia/Panama border but this is going to be my first foray into jungle herping and I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. How safe is Darien? should I gain experience in more predictable areas before attempting it, or is that an overestimation of it? or an underestimation? is it in another league entirely in the way of biodiversity/scenery?


My Volunteer work is going to be centered around animal rehabilitation, and hopefully a couple weeks at the Cano de Palma research station in Tortugero. I'm open to any and all suggestions/modifications of my proposed itinerary.

Thank you very much in advance!

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Rothdigga
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Re: Please enlighten a naive young man

Post by Rothdigga »

Make sure you visit Hacienda Baru. It's just north of Dominical and has plenty of trails and herps to find on the property. You might want to shoot them an email as they may be able to give you some volunteer work there in exchange for a room or something. Not sure. It's a wildlife refuge as well as great place to stay.

While in that area, visit the Parque Reptiliandia up the road towards San Isidro. The owner and worker there (Quetzal is owner) can point you in the right direction locally or maybe even guide you towards some stuff as he has helped me in the past.

Herpaderp
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Re: Please enlighten a naive young man

Post by Herpaderp »

thanks a lot rothdigga.


I will definitely look into that!

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VanAR
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Re: Please enlighten a naive young man

Post by VanAR »

If you are driving on that trip, try to check out El Valle in Panama. There's a serpentarium there run by a guy named Mario who is usually up for taking people herping. It's a great spot with a lot of diversity in the surrounding hills.

Markus Oulehla
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Re: Please enlighten a naive young man

Post by Markus Oulehla »

I definitly can recommand the area around the Rara Avis Rainforest Lodge near Horquetas, beautiful place and loads of citters around :)
check here for some pictures, also from the area near Golfito: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=17557

and stop at the Rio Tarcoles bridge ;)


regards
Markus

Kfen
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Re: Please enlighten a naive young man

Post by Kfen »

Guanacaste is going to be VERY dry at that time, so focus your efforts around any water you can find. If you can get on a boat while there, sea snakes can be found along the slicks. The further south you go, i.e Golfito, and further onto the OSA, the wetter it will be so the herping will be better. Not sure what "a couple of months" means exactly, but you can get a good amount of rain in April. I have not been to Tortuguero or Panama. I second the Rio Tarcoles Bridge (for crocs) and Reptilandia as points of interest. Even though it is the dry season, you should be able to find lots of cool wildlife spending that much time there. Have fun!

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VanAR
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Re: Please enlighten a naive young man

Post by VanAR »

Tortuguero should be pretty wet, regardless of time of year. It's a great place to just walk around whatever lodge you stay at and spotlight frogs and snakes at night. Then do the same during the day for lizards, birds, and monkeys.

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numpty
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Re: Please enlighten a naive young man

Post by numpty »

Herpaderp wrote: the dream would be to make it as far south as Darien National Park on the Colombia/Panama border but this is going to be my first foray into jungle herping and I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. How safe is Darien? should I gain experience in more predictable areas before attempting it, or is that an overestimation of it? or an underestimation? is it in another league entirely in the way of biodiversity/scenery?
I went to Darien NP a few years ago, and - apart from the slog through waist-deep mud - it wasn't too arduous. (My memory's a bit hazy, so I hope I don't mix up names, etc.) At the time, the road went as far as Yaviza, and then you had to hang about and find a "public" speedboat to El Real. From there you could hire a guide, if you thought it necessary, and hike south along a muddy track from there to Rancho Frio inside the park. At Yaviza or El Real - I can't remember which - you had to register with the cops/military, but they were mostly interested in people crossing into Colombia, and weren't too bothered by park visitors. I opted not to take a guide, but the trail was a bit woolly at the end, and I had to ask a local for a bit of help getting onto the right track.

Hope this helps!

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