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Found 7 results

  1. There are five species of tapir around the world one in South East Asia and four in the Americas, since I’ve been lucky enough to have seen three of them I thought I’d start a tapir thread. So if you have any photos or videos of any of the following species please add them to this thread. Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) Is the largest and perhaps oddest looking species with its distinctive black & white colouration, this rainforest species is distributed along the Tenasserim Mts. from the borders of south eastern Burma and south west Thailand south along the Malay Peninsula and on the neighbouring island of Sumatra in Indonesia. There are no confirmed records from elsewhere in the region, it’s sometimes suggested that this species once occurred in Cambodia, southern Laos and southern Vietnam and is now extinct there; however the forests where tapirs were reputed to occur are too dry to support this species. They’ve never been reported from the wetter forests of the Annamite Mts. on the Laos/Vietnam border where tapirs could survive so it’s likely that the species was never found in any of these countries in recent historical times. Range map Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) This species is the largest of the American tapirs and the largest native mammal in Central America where it is distributed from southern Mexico south to the far North West of Colombia west of the Andes in South America. Range map Mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) This small species also known as the woolly or Andean Tapir is found in cloud forests between 2000 and 4000 metres, alpine meadows and páramo grassland in the northern Andes in Colombia, Ecuador and a very small area of northern Peru. It has disappeared from the north of Colombia and may once have occurred over the border in western Venezuela but if it did it’s extinct there now. Range map Lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) Also known as the Brazilian tapir this species is found throughout lowland tropical South America east of the Andes Range map Kabomani tapir (Tapirus kabomani) This the smallest of the five species is also known as the little black tapir, remarkably this species found in the Amazon in southern Colombia and southwestern Brazil was only recognised in 2013. Despite the fact that native Amerindian peoples in this region have always known that there are two distinct tapir species, not only that but Theodore Roosevelt on one of his hunting trips to Brazil back in 1912 shot one. At the time he believed that the animal he’d shot was different to any of the lowland tapirs that he had previously shot, that the skull in particular was noticeably different and that it was probably a new species as he was aware that the natives recognised two species. However the American Museum of Natural History in New York where this specimen still resides disagreed and decided that Roosevelt’s tapir was just another lowland tapir. Throughout the 20th Century zoologists continued to ignore the views of Amerindian hunters that there were two distinct tapir species in lowland South America. It wasn’t until this century when Brazilian palaeontologist Mario Cozzuol started to really examine tapir skulls that it became apparent that the Amerindians and Roosevelt were right. Scientists make one of the biggest animal discoveries of the century - a new tapir
  2. "Why Costa Rica ? What's there to see ? How expensive ? Not letting you blow your money again !!", said, She Who Must Be Obeyed "How about Zika? ", asked my eldest daughter, up to date with latest news "Where is that place ? ", asked my younger daughter. Hers was the easiest question to answer I have been targeting a proper rainforest and swampland experience for a while, especially after reading so many excellent reports of Pantanal and Brazilian Amazon. But it is not a cheap experience. I'm willing to spend some cash within reasonable limits but for four of us (the girls are treated as adults for most purposes now) with private guides it was costing an eye watering amount. The same with Grizzly Bear viewing in Alaska, which I was discussing in another thread today. And it was not possible to leave the kids behind, not yet, just a few more years to go !! So I started looking for alternatives and Costa Rica was heavily promoted by my good friend Xelas who also happens to be a Destination Expert on CR in Tripadvisor. So I guess he knows a thing or two about CR. I started researching and came across a few excellent reports from @@Alexander33, @@SafariChick , @@Atdahl and of course from @@xelas. Tripadvisor is also a good source of planning, if you know how to traw through thousands of same queries. I started feeling that spending 3 weeks in CR would give me a reasonably comparable experience at a lower cost. Of course I was aware that jaguars and a few other species will not be present, but one can't have everything. And most importantly it was possible to self drive with help of guides when needed. I generally do not like the idae of being driven around. So armed with my knowledge I tried to sell CR to my family members. One big plus point was that BA had just opened a new route of direct flight from London Gatwick to San Jose, thus avoiding the dreaded US customs. San Jose caused more confusion with my family as they thought we'll have to fly to USA Anyway for people who are not very familiar with Costa Rica , here are a few fact checks. Let's start with the map to show tiny the place is !! The national flag Now some important info which I was hoping would clear all the confusions of my family members and generate interest. Because of my profssion I'm very used to public speaking and I mentioned chocolate every other sentence to keep the interest going Costa Rica : The Rich Coast. National motto: Pura Vida (Pure Life), a very appropriate motto indeed ! Pura Vida means everything here. The Land of “ Tico” and “Tica” : nickname for Costa Ricans. Capital : San Jose, Juan Santa Maria Airport, not San Jose California !!! My kids know one of my favourite songs is Dionne Warwick's : " Do you know your way to San Jose ?" so they immediately started making fun of me !! Time zone: 6 hours behind UK. Flight time : 11 hours, So expect serious jet lag !! Language : Spanish. It is now time for girls to show that the money I am spending on their Spanish classes at school is well spent. It was indeed helpful as I was struggling after Buenas Dias and my exprssion suggested Mui Mal English spoken but mostly in touristy places. Currency : Colones. US dollars readily accepted in big touristy places and we found ATMs in all touristy places. National Food : Galo Pinto : rice, beans and meat combination. Great dish, I vouch for that !! Delicious !! Chief exports : Coffee, chocolate and banana and Tourism. High emphasis on Chocolate Tourist routes: Pacific Coast , Caribbean coast and the Central mountains ( least explored region). Large number of Volcanoes ( several active ones, one of them decided to vlow a few weeks before we were due to rravel) and many waterfalls. Osa peninsula : the richest Biodiversity in the world, even more than Amazon rainforest. Don't just believe me , check Nat Geo. Ha Ha Pantanal : in your face !!! Very dense rainforests and cloud forests with rain more than 300 days a year. And I can again vouch for that after wearing wet socks for 3 days!! Main attractions : Resplendent Quetzal bird and hatching of Olive Ridley turtles ( in May-June) and frogs, insects, beaches and rainforest in general. Weather : cold and dry in mountains all the time and rains in July in most of the areas. Sadly July is the only time that we could go. Famous people (actually the only Costa Rican I knew of) : Kaylor Navas. Currently the best goalkeeper in the world, plays for Real Madrid. Football to us, soccer to you guys across the pond. Costa Rica is the only country with no regular army. That appealed hugely to my vegetarian Jain wife, who hails from the same place as Mahatma Gandhi !! And my family members were all sold , so it was time for me to make some serious preparations. I guess that is enough for a prologue and let's meet the Prince of Costa Rica now
  3. It was our 2nd trip to Costa Rica, and not the last... After the 1st one we decided that when time will come to retire, we'll retire in Costa Rica, because we fell in love with its beauty, its people, beaches, mountains, food, birds...everything. Really, I can't find anything that we don't love about it. Well, maybe some roads, but even those are fun I was afraid that the 2nd trip will be a disappointment, and the retirement dream will die. Thankfully, it did not! And we only went for a week, and the weather was not great. Can you imagine how good it would've been with a longer trip and great weather??? We still want to retire in Costa Rica. We only stayed in 2 places: Savegre, with its cloud forest in the highlands http://www.savegre.com/ and Rancho Naturalista, with its rain forest in lower lands http://ranchonaturalista.net/. The flight was ok - we left an hour later, so we landed an hour later. Of course, no complimentary food on United...flying gets a worse and worse experience every year. But in the end we were in Costa Rica, and this is how it looked like:
  4. http://www.seattletimes.com/life/travel/in-costa-rica-photographing-jaguars-to-help-save-them/ ~ This article, originally published in the New York Times, explains the use of an extensive camera trap network in Costa Rica to photograph such larger cats as puma, margay, ocelot and jaguarundi. On the Osa Peninsula the diminished jaguar population is also monitored by the 80 camera traps. Local farmers view jaguars as threats to their livelihood hence kill them.
  5. I could easily come up with all kinds of excuses – some legitimate, some pseudo-legitimate, and others outright white lies – as to why it’s June and I’m only now getting around to my trip report from January. Instead, let’s just say that, “Life intervened,” and then quickly move on to a much more interesting subject: the week we spent this past January at Bosque del Cabo Lodge at the tip of Costa Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula. I truly am indebted to Safaritalk, and, specifically, the generous trip reports posted in recent years by @@xelas, @Safari Chick and @@Atdahl. Without their revelations, I likely would never have heard of the Osa Peninsula, much less Bosque del Cabo Lodge.
  6. We recently returned from our second family trip to Costa Rica. The first trip was in 2011 and we visited the areas of the Arenal volcano near La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio, which is a typical first timer itinerary. We loved the trip and ever since have thought of returning, but this time I wanted to visit the wilder area - the Osa Peninsula. There are two main areas of the Osa Peninsula and most people choose one or the other in which to base themselves. Me being me and being unable to give up anything, I decided to try to tackle both in one trip. There were reasons I wanted to visit both areas of the peninsula, and I wasn't sure if I would get back to this area of Costa Rica again so I thought it better to try to do it all. I wanted to go in dry season since the green season can have very hard rains. Also we had other vacation plans already for this summer, which would be the main time we'd have been able to go on vacation if we wanted to go during the green season so going in the dry season made more sense in order to spread out our vacation time. The dry season on the Pacific side of Costa Rica runs from December to April. Like other destinations, Christmas time is crowded and more expensive, so we decided to go during our kids' spring break from school in April. This meant we only had about 9 days - a week with two weekends on either side. I packed those days quite full of activity! Although it was very busy, especially the first few days, it was a successful and fun trip. Also: HOT! Dates of travel: April 4 through April 13 Itinerary: 3 nights Drake Bay (Bahia Drake) area though one of those was camping in the Corcovado National Park 4 nights at Bosque del Cabo lodge near Puerto Jimenez We took a red-eye flight from San Francisco on Friday night April 4 - that had been the kids' last day of school. We flew on Delta and flew from SFO to LAX, short layover, then straight to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. From there, we had a couple of hours layover, then flew on one of the two local airlines - Sansa - for about a one-hour flight to our first destination - Bahia Drake (Drake Bay in English). Drake Bay is a collection of mostly small bed and breakfast type places with a few high end "ecolodges." The streets are not paved. While many streets in Costa Rica are rocky, these were some of the rockier. The town such as it is consists of a couple of restaurants and a couple of tourist service places. Most people use Drake Bay as a base for activities exploring the wildlife of the bay and the most famous attraction in the area, Corcovado National Park. Most activities are arranged through your bed and breakfast or lodge. However, we'd arranged our first activity on our own. I had read an article about Shawn Larkin, something of a "dolphin whisperer", and was very intrigued. His was not the only dolphin tour offered in the area, but he sounded much more intriguing to me than the others. In fact, he really doesn't seem to advertise; he didn't have a page at Tripadvisor like the others; yet he's guided the likes of Jacques Cousteau film crews and Bono of the band U2. I felt a strong desire to have him guide us on what he calls a Pelagic Safari - a journey to the pelagic ocean waters at least an hour's fast boat ride from shore where he's been known to locate "superpods" of dolphins sometimes numbering 1,000. I contacted Shawn months ago via email and set up a private pelagic safari for the morning we arrived. This meant that we had taken a red-eye flight of about 5.5 hours from LA, then flown to Drake Bay, then taken a bumpy 10-minute or so car ride up to our bed and breakfast, checked in and dropped off our things, quickly changed clothes, then were driven back to the village and the beach where we met up with Shawn and jumped onto his boat. It was a little more hectic than was ideal but ultimately worked out really well. The only problem was that our younger daughter had started to feel queasy before we even got on the boat. We'd all taken Bonine an hour before we were to get on the boat but she'd gotten nauseous from the slightly bumpy small plane to Drake Bay and the very bumpy ride from the airport to the bed and breakfast. Before we even got on the boat, I think she had thrown up once. Things didn't improve for her the entire boat ride - if she kept her head resting on her knees or arm and if we didn't sit still and rock, she was stable, but a couple of times she lost it again. We felt really bad for her but she managed to do ok most of the time. She says she did manage to see some of what we were seeing even though she didn't raise her head up and look around that way. Up next: more about the actual pelagic safari.
  7. Encouraged by the warm and positive reaction to my Namibia trip report, I have decided to try my luck once more. This was our third trip to Costa Rica; we love this country, so very different than Namibia yet so similar. Friendly locals, great nature, good infrastructure ... self-driving and exploring on your own is easy and rewarding. A recent trip report by @@SafariChick was very detailed, so I will not try to repeat much of what is already known about this country. As always, photos can describe much better than my words. This was our itinerary: 20.6.2013 VCE-FRA-NEW-SJO Alajuela Adventure Inn 21.6.2013 Alajuela - Santa Teresa Santa Teresa Otro Lado Lodge 22.6.2013 Santa Teresa Santa Teresa Otro Lado Lodge 23.6.2013 Santa Teresa Santa Teresa Otro Lado Lodge 24.6.2013 Santa Teresa Santa Teresa Otro Lado Lodge 25.6.2013 Santa Teresa - Tarcoles Tarcoles Cerro Lodge 26.6.2013 Tarcoles Tarcoles Cerro Lodge 27.6.2013 Tarcoles - Cabo Matapalo Cabo Matapalo Bosque del Cabo 28.6.2013 Cabo Matapalo Cabo Matapalo Bosque del Cabo 29.6.2013 Cabo Matapalo Cabo Matapalo Bosque del Cabo 30.6.2013 Cabo Matapalo Cabo Matapalo Bosque del Cabo 1.7.2013 Cabo Matapalo - Uvita Uvita Tiki Villas 2.7.2013 Uvita Uvita Tiki Villas 3.7.2013 Uvita Uvita Tiki Villas 4.7.2013 Uvita Uvita Tiki Villas 5.7.2013 Uvita - Alajuela Alajuela Adventure Inn 6.7.2013 SJO-IAH-FRA-VCE Highlight of the trip was Bosque del Cabo. It is a special place, and this is reflected also in its prices. Luckily we were invited by some Fodor's fans who have their biannual GTG there so we were able to get their special rate also. Driving is a way to explore Costa Rica. We rented from Thorsten at Wild Rider for the third time and again his services were up to his reputation. The car was a Hyundai Tucson. If there are any questions, just ask. I am a DE for Costa Rica on Tripadvisor so I have to be well informed and always willing to share with others !

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