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  • Kyle Werner

Toucans, Why You Should Hate Them


Our tour of Costa Rica is nearing it's end. This country's beauty has amazed us to say the least. In seemingly every direction, the flora and fauna of Costa Rica's landscape has been utterly breathtaking. You could almost say the entire place seemed too good to be true. Then, our guide Eric with Red Lava Tours told us the sad truth about the toucan...



We all know the beautiful toucan, with its incredibly colorful beak. They're a gorgeous bird! Out of all of the animals on our trip, they might have even been our second favorite find behind monkeys, of course. We'll get to that later, though. That is until Eric told us that they senselessly murder every animal they can get their oversized, blood thirsty beaks on.


Dramatic? Maybe a little. But let me explain why we're a little "hurt" by these a**holes. Toucans, the all so lovable bird, romanticized by everyones favorite cereal, cannot build a home for itself. That's right. Those beautiful beaks? Useless. So where do they stay, you may ask. In the homes of woodpeckers. After- of course, sometimes eating their children. Their ferocious nature doesn't stop after taking desperate measures for shelter, though. They also kill for sport. Eric told us that one time he saw two toucans pulling apart a lizard for fun. I'm sure you can see where our newfound disgust comes from for the toucan.


Toucans weren't the only animal we saw along our tour. Red Lava Tours puts together an incredible experience. If you are in Fortuna, you would be foolish to not book a full day tour with them. We were blown away by how much fun this tour was. Our guide, Eric, was so knowledgable about every single aspect of the local ecosystem. Our tour with him was fun, educational, and full of positive energy. Having a guide that truly cares about his career and the guest experience makes an incredible difference.


Along our rainforest hike, Eric pointed out toucans, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, birds, red eyed tree frogs, a tarantula, snakes, and many other unique animals. We climbed a rocky lava flow, (placed there by the last eruption of Arenal Volcano in 1968) and stood where a town once was prior to that eruption. From the top of this peak, we had a stunning view of Arenal as Eric gave us some of the surprisingly interesting history of this beautiful location.



After lunch, provided by the tour, we ventured again back into the mysterious rainforests surrounding Arenal. Eric lead us to a hidden waterfall where we swam and leapt from the rocks into the crystal clear water below. We visited a small pond within the forest where we discovered several tree frogs clinging to the leaves by the water. Eric told us about the dangers of using sprays such as bug spray and sun screen in fragile ecosystems such as this one. Sprays may seem harmless, but they move through the air and cover these tree frogs. While we may not see the negative impacts, for these frogs, one gust of bug repellent could mean the difference between life and death. Their abilities to camouflage from predators and cling to the underside of leaves are both destroyed.


Ensuring we understand the impact we have on an environment is crucial to that environment's protection and longevity. When travelers ignore these negative effects, we damage environments beyond repair for the animals that need them. Sadly for one of these tree frogs, the negative effects had already taken hold, as the spray from a past travelers sun screen or bug spray had destroyed his ability to function the way he needs to in order to survive. On our walk back to the van, our guide found a pecan like pod filled with fluorescent orange paste. Looking for volunteers, he locked-on to Court knowing for sure she'd be willing! He then wiped the paste that was once used by natives for paintings and colorful cuisine into a pattern on her face.

As the sun began to set and we made our way back to the van, Eric told us to get ready for one of the best parts. How could the tour get any better? I'd been having an incredible day fulfilling my dream of adventuring through a rainforest and climbing a volcano! We pulled up to a small parking area as the sun completely set, and by way of flashlight, we began to descend into the jungle once more. We quickly came across a river. This place was unique, however. The water we came across stays a consistent 98 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to heat released by Arenal.


We settled into the warm river water and were quickly joined by several other groups. The location at first seemed rather crowded, but was transformed into a neat little party as Eric and the other guides handed out drinks and illuminated the area with flashlights. The whole experience was remarkable.


With Red Lava Tours, you are well taken care of. We were picked up from our hotel, and retuned there at the end of our day. We enjoyed an incredible adventure and a relaxing jungle escape all in the same day- with everything included. Our guide Eric and the rest of the Red Lava staff were an absolute delight. Courtney and I cannot wait for our next experience with them!

Travel Tip:

- Do something exciting and adventurous on your trip. We all have different ability levels. Luckily, tours exist at any skill level to fit your needs. Challenge yourself a little, and gain so much more!

We know we threw a lot at you with this post, but to recap... Toucans are the worst. Volcanos are cool. Tree Frogs don't like sprays. And if you are around Arenal Volcano, do not hesitate to book a tour with Red Lava Tours (and ask for Eric)... The experience is one you will never forget.


Thanks,

Kyle Werner

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