In Search of the Master
|Ifigenia Garita Canet es bióloga tropical de profesión y en la actualidad realiza una maestría en Manejo en Recursos Naturales con énfasis en Desarrollo Sostenible en la Universidad para la Paz. Tiene 15 años de vivir en nuestra comunidad, desde su llegada se ha dedicado a crear una organización no gubernamental llamada ASCONA. Hace cinco años empezó su propia empresa de turismo responsable, OSA WILD TRAVEL, la cual promueve el turismo local autentico costarricense. Para mas información comuníquese con Ifigenia al correo electronico firstname.lastname@example.org|
TURISMO, Ifigenia Garita
And off we went, with smiles on our faces and a hop in our step to Proyecto Ecoturistico La Tarde. It was Saturday early afternoon and the happiest of all was surely Jessica, our Sales Manager who got locked up the office; we were headed off to see something way better than a computer screen and emails. We took the 1:00 pm Neily bus and got off at La Palma, where Berni, one of the workers at La Tarde picked us up for the 8 km remainder of the trip by car.
La Tarde is a hot spot of biodiversity located just outside the northern boundary of Corcovado National Park. From the highest point on the road, three km past Guadalupe, we stopped to admire the magnificent park overlookof Corcovado Lagoon, a pristine ecosystem surrounded by a special type of palm locally called yolillo, known to tropical botanists as the raffia palm, or Raphia tedegeira.
Some members of our team forgot one of the most important things you need to take when visiting this pristine place: rubber boots. Jessica, Vero and Luisda all had to borrow boots; luckily it seems there were enough for everyone. At La Tarde you can observe an outrageous amount of snakes. If you go for a night hike, you can encounter many fer-de-lance (Bothrops asper). On the preceding night’s tour Berni reported spotting twelve of the feared vipers!
Amador was ready to take us to the spot where this incredible species was seen in such abundance. But It had been 8 years since the La Tarde owner, Eduardo, had last seen the king of the Costa Rican vipers, the awesome black-headed bushmaster. We carried drinking water, binoculars and a spotting scope and began our journey. The hike was great; Quebrada La Tarde is an absolutely beautiful stream surrounded by tropical rainforest . Huge trees and stunning sounds accompanied us on this pleasant hike.
It took us less than 45 minutes to get to the place where more than 8 other passionate naturalists and herpetologist were waiting for the perfect light to shoot a picture. Among them, my teacher, father, friend, and one of the most important persons for me in our community, Mike Boston is a snake specialist who has waited for more than 18 years for this particular moment to come. He received us with great enthusiasm and we all stayed for at least one more hour admiring the beauty and taking about its ecology. Lachesis melanoceophala is a member of the Viperidae family, one of the most specialized predators among all snakes. Their long, hollow, retractable fangs stab and inject lethal venom into prey animals, typically rodents and marsupials. This is the only viper I know that lays eggs (oviparous) and that is endemic to the southern part of our country.
We share our gratitude to Eduardo and his family, who have taken many naturalistguides and nature-lovers to see this breathtaking reptile, thankful for the care he takes for the the land and in educating more and more people about the ecological importance of such extraordinary reptiles as this one, which is known locally as the matabuey (ox-killer) and plato negro (black plate).