We arrived at La Cusinga Rainforest Lodge after dark, and all that could be heard were the waves crashing below and the sounds of night. Here there is not only the wildlife you hope to see, but a variety of insects unimaginable. There are huge praying mantises, bright green grasshoppers, and lots of other unidentifiable creatures.
La Cusingaâ€™s range of initiatives in sustainability include construction that fits well into the natural landscape, built with natural materials including the wooden lampshades, solar panels for electricity and water heating, extensive contribution to conservation and support to local schools, organic food grown onsite, and efficient water and energy conservation.
Our first walk in the morning greeted us with an abundance of wildlife. Only a few minutes onto the trail that leaves right from the outdoor dining area and main viewing deck, a family of howler monkeys were hanging lazily in the trees. They didnâ€™t move an inch and let us watch them for quite a while and take pictures. The call of these small black monkeys can be heard, especially in the morning, in the distance and it sounds like a bunch of angry gorillas. When you see how small they are it is surprising that they can make such a loud, growling noise.
Next on the way we saw the rare and endangered green and black poison dart frogs. They are tiny but beautiful creatures. They even stuck around for us to take more pictures on the way back.
Down the trail towards the waves crashing on the rocks, our young guide told us he sees turtles every time he comes to this spot. We waited a few minutes, and sure enough, we saw the round brown shells just under the surface, and then a couple of heads pop out just enough to make it easier for us to see them. You canâ€™t get close up to them here as they are down below swimming around the great big rocks but knowing that they are there and getting a small glimpse is exciting enough.
We ventured down another trail that led us to the beach which is part of the 800 acre nature preserve that makes up La Cusingaâ€™s property.Â The beach is wild, no amenities or development of any kind. Just you, the dense forest as a backdrop and the big, warm, waves.Â We crossed through a cavernous tunnel under the rocks to a smaller cove to take a dip in the almost hot ocean waters.
On our way back the monkeys were still hanging about, not wanting to move in the heat we figured.
Then we were off for lunch, and we ate at a nearby cooperatively-owned ecolodge called Canto de Ballenas (Call of the Whales).Â I have a friend who works there so he got the kitchen to whip us up a filling and tasty lunch of flavorful vegetables, rice & beans, and my favorite, garlic fish fillets.Â Of course we had frescos of banana, pineapple and orange juice and fresh, strong coffee.
After lunch we continued down the road to the entrance to the National Marine Park, and â€œwhaleâ€™s tailâ€ where the long stretch of beach goes into a point shaped exactly as a whale’s tail. Pretty coincidental considering this is the part of the country the hump-backed whales visit each January and February as they migrate up the Pacific Ocean.Â We walked along the beach to the end point where we sat down to take in the beautiful sunset.
We capped off our last night at the best restaurant in the region, called Citrus. It is absolutely beautiful, with luxurious details, outdoor candle-lit tables, mozaic tiles, pre-Colombian inspired art, not to mention delicious food and surprisingly good prices. Oscar, our great driver and I both had fish ceviche in coconut milk and cilantro, Jim and Usha shared a hot goat cheese salad and an eggplant lasagne and we toasted with a glass of wine to a wonderful week in Costa Rica.
– Kelly Galaski