Night walk tour at Río Celeste Hideaway Hotel
The group meets at sunset to head out to explore our surroundings at nightfall. We have all heeded recommendations to wear walking shoes or boots and long pants and sleeves for our excursion. Our guide introduces himself as Johser Vargas, a naturalist guide from the area. Guests visiting from North America, Europe and one local all chime in. Flashlights are handed out and we head off.
The Frog Pond
First stop is the frog pond, located along one of the pathways that connect the guestrooms to the main building. Guests walk past it every day, some not noticing all the activity that goes on there. Some quiet observation leads us to discover several different species of frogs, ranging in size from 1 cm to over 10 cm. From the brown pale colors of the masked tree frog, to the burst of colors adorning the body of the red-eyed tree frog, variety is king. The guide´s voice sounds excited, an uncommon discovery of a pair of pale yellow pygmy frogs, both male and female on adjoining leaves.
The Armadillo Trail
As we walk along, we start heading towards the Armadillo Trail, which leads all the way down to the water´s edge. We are entering thick rainforest here, and the guide reminds us to walk slowly, lighting our path, being careful of our steps, as we head down the trail. He not only wants us to avoid a fall, but also avoid stepping on a snake along the way.
There are a variety of sights, sounds and smells that invade the senses. Giant trees, the gurgle of the river below and the crisp cool air, it´s worth a stop to take it all in, and look below and above you. The dew on the leaves, branches and moss makes them look crystalline. We pass a grasshopper that seems frozen in time, mimicking the leaf he poses on. Stick insects and spiders of varying sizes are pointed out by our guide, who leads the procession.
Again, excitement from our guide, his enthusiasm for the flora and fauna is truly contagious, as he spots a yellow eyelash viper, bocaracá, curled up on a leaf. Its small size and beauty is mesmerizing, and we observe within a respectful distance, she is poisonous after all. As we continue down along the pathway, another snake, this one a Pit Viper, terciopelo. A small young specimen, well inside the trail, curled up and intently watching us.
Well, the night had been good to us, and we head out of the trail, admiring the thick trees, and dense canopy above. We taste some edible flowers our guide points out as we all excitedly recount the events of the evening.
Rio Celeste Hideaway offers a daily Night Walk tour to guests, free of charge and weather permitting. Depending on group size, the hotel´s expansive pathways and trails will be explored, or guide might head out of the property if alerted to a Tapir, danta, on neighboring grounds. Take advantage of this opportunity and bring your hiking boots and camera for an experience you will not soon forget.