Cloud Forest

By Rob Packer

One of Costa Rica’s most famous attractions is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, a four-hour bumpy bus ride away from San José on the Continental Divide that divides Atlantic and Pacific drainage basins throughout the Americas. The reserve is mainly made up of primary cloud forest: primary because it’s said that the trees have never been cut down and cloud forest because it’s covered with clouds for most of the day. Cloud forests contain an incredible amount of water and are covered in moss everywhere you look. We arrived early before the daily rain in Costa Rica could drench us, which also meant that we left before a lot of the clouds had moved in though.

The cloud forest's clouds start to form

The view from the top over the Continental Divide

Mossy trees

Read more of this post

Ranas y Sapos

By Rob Packer

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I was ill for my first few days in Costa Rica and that my two hospital trips in two days kept me under—what felt like—quarantine in San José before the conference I came for started on Wednesday. As I got better during the week, it became more and more obvious that I needed to get away from San José and head to the natural landscapes that the country is most famous for: and I got my nature-fix in Santa Elena and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, 4-hours from San José including an unpaved hour uphill after leaving the main highway. I have no idea why I associate frogs with Costa Rica: it’s not that Costa Rica doesn’t have some amazing frogs (see the photos), but more that I’d remember it. Maybe it was the red eyes or the blue jeans…

One of the attractions in Santa Elena, the tourist town near Monteverde, is it’s ranario, a Spanish word I know no translation for: frog farm, frog zoo, frog museum? Regardless, it contains a showcase of Costa Rica’s best and most colourful frogs and toads (the warty ones), and from my limited experience of frog-spotting, seemed a much more sure-fire way of seeing these hard-to-spot amphibians than hours in the forest in the rain.

Red-Eyed Tree Frog

Frog on a stem

Read more of this post

Saturday afternoon anthropology

By Rob Packer

I’m now starting my fourth month in Mexico City and I’ve been an embarrassingly bad tourist in the city. It’s not that I really feel that I should be spending my weekends with guidebook in hand, ticking off the sights; but if anyone ever comes to visit, it’s a little awkward if you don’t know where anything is. In my defence, I have visited the city several times before, but with one trip to the Centro Histórico and zero visits to museums, I was starting to feel a like a bad visitor. To make up for lost time, I went to the Museo de Antropología (Anthropology Museum) yesterday for the first time in four years. The museum is enormous and, in my opinion, one of the best in the world in terms of ancient, and some modern ethnological, artefacts. Here are the photos:

%d bloggers like this: