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First, get your boat

First, get your boat

When visitors think about Things to Do in this area they don’t often think of a trip to Gandoca Lagoon. Of course there are loads of different trips and activities on this coast and so this one often remains in the background — but it shouldn’t because an afternoon spent at Gandoca Lagoon could be the highlight of your trip. It is certainly one of my favourites.

Take a couple of beers for your rowers and wildlife spotters: Thanks Junior & Roger!

Take a couple of beers for your rowers and wildlife spotters: Thanks Junior & Roger!

Sit back and enjoy the scenery

Sit back and enjoy the scenery

Easy to arrange, an interesting drive from Puerto Viejo and off the tourist track, this trip can hold all sorts of nature and wildlife surprises such as watching pelicans fishing at the end of the lagoon, egrets in mangrove swamps or even a manatee…

Egrets in the mangroves

Egrets in the mangroves

Fishing families at the end of the lagoon

Fishing families at the end of the lagoon

Pelicans fishing at the beach at the end of Gandoca Lagoon

Pelicans fishing at the beach at the end of Gandoca Lagoon

If you feel like spending a lazy afternoon in gorgeous natural surroundings, spotting wildlife whilst being rowed quietly along this pretty lagoon, then this is the trip for you.

20. Small birds on log: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica13 Bird on log: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica9 Monkey: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica 5 more wildlife: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa RicaGandoca Lagoon is like a miniature Tortuguero, but without the crowds or the travelling. Each time we’ve been to Gandoca Lagoon we’ve been the only people there and have always spotted plenty of wildlife and birds. If you want to photograph wildlife and birds, this is a wonderful place to capture some great shots. It is quiet, serene and as the sun sets, simply magical.

6 Birdlife: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica4.Spot the wildlife: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica 7 Pelican: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa RicaAlthough these photos hardly do it justice, the beauty and tranquillity of Gandoca lagoon is remarkable. If you want to get off the beaten path, this is the trip for you.

Trees silhouetted at Gandoca Lagoon

Trees silhouetted at Gandoca Lagoon

Sun setting on Gandoca Lagoon

Sun setting on Gandoca Lagoon

Time to get back to the Jungle: Time for a Wildlife Week

Time to get back to the Jungle: Time for a Wildlife Week

Need to put some Wild in your Life?
When you’re planning your next holiday or vacation have a think about a Wildlife Week or two at Geckoes Lodge!

When we first arrived in Puerto Viejo, one of the greatest pleasures was the variety and amount of wildlife around us. That remains a daily joy and every morning I breakfast with the toucans in Geckoes garden. I laugh at the Howler monkeys who pelt me with miniature figs and Agnes, our resident Agouti hangs around near the kitchen eating fruit scraps.

Monkey Party at Geckoes Lodge

Monkey Party at Geckoes Lodge

Caribbean Costa Rica is not only famous for spectacular beaches and great tracts of rainforest but also for loads of wildlife. Think Howler Monkeys, Sloths, Agoutis, Night Monkeys, Armadillos and of course a plethora of birds and butterflies.

Agnes, Geckoes Lodge resident Agouti

Agnes, Geckoes Lodge resident Agouti

The Caribbean coast is simply the best place in Costa Rica to see a variety of wildlife without giving up comfortable places to stay, great restaurants and jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches.

Gorgeous Arrecife beach. Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Imagine a week or two where you can live a different Caribbean wildlife adventure each day and every day see something new and fascinating. We’ve put together a Wildlife Week Menu with choices to suit every age and inclination. There’s more than enough to see and do on this coast — if you want a different wildlife experience per day, no problem! In fact a Wildlife Week may not be long enough — you could fill a couple of weeks and still not see it all.

Toucan eating Palm fruit, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Have a look at our Wildlife Week Menu:

http://www.geckoeslodge.com/wildlife-week/

Of course anyone even thinking of coming to this coast are wildlife enthusiasts but kids universally love it! In today’s world where daily life is full of technology, a Family Wildlife Week gives you all the chance to unplug and have fun together in amazing rainforest and on incredible beaches.

Ziplining through the canopy Puerto Viejo, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Staying a Geckoes Lodge you are surrounded by wildlife and our rainforest villas are designed to make viewing easy and luxurious… you can simply wildlife spot from your plunge pool, hammocks, living area, kitchen and even your bathroom or bed!

Casa Bromelia 2 bedroom house Plunge pool, terrace & Outdoor dining

A Wildlife Week can be just the antidote to the concrete jungle and you’ll return home with not only thousands of photos but great memories. Make your life a little more Wild today — plan a Wildlife Week at Geckoes Lodge and get back to nature 🙂

Pelicans fishing at Gandoca

Here's looking at you Senor Howler

Here’s looking at you Senor Howler

Sloths: who doesn’t like sloths? Adorable, apparently cuddly, permanently ‘smiling’ and doing everything in slow motion. They are extraordinary in many ways and the first time I saw one in close up was a thrilling moment.

Sloth Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

Over the years we’ve seen many Sloths in the garden at Geckoes Lodge. I can be answering my emails and suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I will see what looks rather like a moving branch on a tree trunk. Mind you, you can walk right past a sloth in a tree and not see him or her. The sloths that we see at Geckoes Lodge are the three-toed sloths and their camouflage against a tree trunk is impressive! Only when Sloths move is it easy to spot them.

Sloth in Geckoes Lodge garden Cocles Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

Sloths are extraordinary in quite a few ways: apart from being the slowest mammals on earth, they can turn their heads 270 degrees, only defecate once a week, are so slow that algae grows on their coats and although clumsy on the ground, are good swimmers.

To find out about the strange symbiotic relationship between sloths and moths, take a look at this short video:

If you want to read more on sloths habits, Wiki has lots of info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sloth

When sloths descend from their tree to go to the bathroom ( a weekly ritual) you may be lucky enough to have eye to eye contact. I was walking on a path at Geckoes with Fred, one of our Rhodesian Ridgebacks, when he suddenly stopped in his tracks. There, in a curved root pocket at the base of a tree was a sloth looking right at us. Fred knew not to approach. Sloths may be slow and clumsy on the ground but their claws are large and they will use them in self defence. So we just stood and looked and had plenty of time to get the camera! And after our sloth had posed for numerous photos, she just climbed back up her tree again and ‘disappeared’.

Fred meets Sloth at Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo Costa RicaHe looks comfy! at Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

Sloths on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica have become famous with the wonderful documentary made about the Sloths at The Sloth Sanctuary in Cahuita. Called ‘Meet the Sloths’ it is a must for anyone who would like to know more about these weird and wonderful creatures. Fascinating, funny and seriously cute, you can follow a year in the lives of these Sloth Stars. The Queen of them all is Buttercup who reigns supreme from her own wicker throne. I’ve met her and yes, she is a Regal Sloth.

http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/meet-the-sloths

Of course when you get to this little corner of paradise you can visit the sloths at The Sloth Sanctuary in Cahuita and see all the characters for yourself.

http://www.slothsanctuary.com

And for the perfect finish, a quote from Ghandi which I think many sloths would agree with:

Sloth quote

We often have Howler Monkeys at Geckoes Lodge. We know immediately of course because Howler Monkeys are the loudest land animals on earth. The sound of Howler Monkeys carries almost 5 kilometres in dense rainforest. So you can imagine what that sounds like when they’re in a tree next to your house!

3 Wise Monkeys at Geckoes Lodge.

3 Wise Monkeys at Geckoes Lodge.

Even after living here for 9 years we haven’t worked out their schedule, but they appear in large troupes every few weeks or so. Then they hang around, pelting Geckoes Lodge with half finished fruits, seeds and leaves while they swing through the branches. I still get a thrill from watching them!

Monkey Business at Geckoes Lodge

Monkey Business at Geckoes Lodge

I think the term Howler Monkey is a misnomer because the sound they make is much more a growl, a grunt or a deep bark. They usually make their calls at dawn and dusk, but also apparently if they think it’s going to rain. They also make other noises though and can sound just like chirping birds.

 

 

 

The other day I was at Casa del Bosque preparing for guests when I heard their ‘chirping bird’ sounds. And there they were: a whole troupe just a couple of metres above me. Mothers with babies, big fearsome looking males and juveniles swinging by their tails.

Mama Howler with baby at Geckoes Lodge

Mama Howler with baby at Geckoes Lodge

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's looking at you Senor Howler

Here’s looking at you Senor Howler

 

Sometimes we forget to tell guests about the Howler Monkeys. We have been asked by a white-faced guest or two what huge animal is around at dawn. The Howler Monkey dawn chorus can give guests quite a fright if they don’t know what to expect!

 

 

Just hanging around at Geckoes Lodge

Just hanging around at Geckoes Lodge

Actually Howler Monkeys are not that large and reassuringly they do not come down from the trees. So there’s no risk that you’ll go to make your coffee in the morning and meet a Howler in your kitchen. But of course everyone wants to see the Howlers.

 

 

Monkey Party at Geckoes Lodge

Monkey Party at Geckoes Lodge

Even when they’re not at Geckoes Lodge, Howler Monkeys can be frequently seen all along the coast here. From your bike, you may spot the monkey bridges spanning the coastal road. At Geckoes Lodge we’ve kept most trees so that the monkeys have their wildlife corridor and can move freely.

They are true Stars of the Rainforest and seeing them in their natural habitat monkeying around is a thrill not easily forgotten. Just one more reason to put Costa Rica on your bucket List!

Howler taking a Siesta

Howler taking a Siesta