(Written May 28)
A fellow intern and I got a local connection to get us a discount on a boat ride to Sirena station, located deep within Corcovado National Park. The station itself is just a few huts on raised platforms for a guard and camping areas, but it’s many miles from the edge of the reserve. And the remoteness shows.
The first tapir didn’t even wait until we were off the boat to show itself, in broad daylight, walking along the beach in full view. It didn’t even seem scared, and in fact didn’t give us enough space after we all got pictures and our guide tried to have a little orientation. It just lingered in the background, munching leaves and crashing through brush. After the next three tapirs, it felt a little gratuitous. Hello, tapirs? We already saw you. Give the other supposedly illusive animals a chance.
A tamandua passed right overhead during one of the talks. We watched a crocodile sink underwater and reappear closer several times while we sat on the riverbank. Our guide somehow spotted a chest-high vine that turned out to be an eyelash viper coiled by the trail. And the day was topped off by two ctenosaurs, or black iguanas, sunning themselves on driftwood on the beach.
Most anywhere else in Costa Rica, in fact, all of Latin America, that kind of wildlife is rarely seen, and never in such abundance. Corcovado has been around long enough for animals to adapt to peaceful human presence, for new generations to appear that do not fear hunters. It’s an invaluable natural phenomenon.