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

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