Insights on Travel from Costa Rica Expeditions’ Founder Michael Kaye and his Expert Friends.

Vacation Time Is Precious: Trip of a Life Time. Yowza!

If you are thinking of visiting Tortuga Lodge before you read Patty’s post, I want to make it clear that we do not guarantee Crocodiles in the garden.

Patty Chang Anker

Baby Boa

So we’re happily looking at a mama boa constrictor (her baby pictured above) high up a tree in the garden at Tortuga Lodge (gotta love Costa Rica, where one can say such things non-chalantly) when William, our ever-enthusiastic guide suddenly drops his voice and says “Do you see anything interesting over there?”

Where?  We’re looking…we’re looking…Shannon takes a step forward and William stops her, points: “Right. There.”

There, on the lawn in front of us, perfectly camouflaged against the edge of the canal, is this 6 foot crocodile.  Well, he looks about 6 feet.  I want Max to lie down alongside it so we can get a picture to scale but he won’t do it.  Coward.  Vacation brain is setting in:  it doesn’t really occur to me that this is a wild animal until William says in a perfectly even, calm voice:

“Now listen to me.  If this crocodile charges us, I want you all to run in different directions.”

Whatchoo talkin’ bout Willis?!  Run in all different directions?  So we have a 1 in 6 chance of being EATEN????  I am a yoga teacher.  Speed is not my thing.

Take a look at this crocodile’s teeth:

Yowza!!!  We back slowly away, in awe.

There are poisonous frogs here, venomous snakes, deadly bugs, giant reptiles, wild cats, shark and barracuda infested waters, and what have to be the most bloodthirsty mosquitoes on the planet.  We humans are like fat little babies (new, naive, delicious) in this prehistoric jungle.  Why come here?

For adventure, for nature, for perspective, for this (also in the garden at Tortuga Lodge):

Tilt your head sideways (yeah, technology is not my thing, either) - see the bat rocking side-to-side second from the top?  It’s nursing a baby bat.  Incredible.

It is disorienting, unnerving even, being out of one’s natural habitat.  But the chance to see something truly different, truly mindblowing?  For this Bronx girl, it’s the Trip of a Lifetime.

If you are enjoying Patty’s posts and have not done so already, don’t forget to vote for her blog  on Babble.com’s Top Mom Blog List. All you have to do is go to http://www.babble.com/babble-50/mommy-bloggers/nominate-a-blogger scroll down to “Facing Forty Upside Down,” and click on  .

Last Thursday Patty was number 33.  She is now (Jan 5, 2:40 pm CST) number 30.  If just 70 of the people reading this vote for her,  “Vacation Time is Precious Nation,” will have busted her into the Top 20. I’ll be reporting on Patty’s progress in future posts. One other thing, they don’t say when the voting ends, so please vote right away.

Coming up: “Word!”  We teach local children English, and start a black market for Sillybandz. http://upside-down-patty.blogspot.com/2010/11/word.html

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2 Comments and 4 Replies

  • At January 05, 2011
    4:06:24 pm
    Judie Apple said:

    CHECK THIS OUT TOO..THIS IS WHERE TERRY AND I STAYED…AND WE MADE THE COMMENT ABOUT CROCODILES COMING OUT OF THE RIVER AND WHAT KEPT THEM IN THE RIVER WHEN WE WERE SITTING ON THE LAWN LIKE IN THIS PICTURE…YIIIIIIIIKES..!!!

    • At January 04, 2011
      6:02:27 pm
      Kathy said:

      Love your stories Patty! That is exactly why we went! A whole family of those same little bats slept all day on the porch of our room at Tortuga Lodge… The girls were thrilled by them!

      • At January 05, 2011
        2:35:02 pm
        Patty Chang Anker replied
        to Kathy:

        Hi Kathy, so good to know you were as enchanted as I was! I do think my girls would have loved the bats and turtles, but not sure about the crocodile…how old were your girls when you went?

        • At January 05, 2011
          3:46:04 pm
          Kathy replied
          to Patty Chang Anker:

          My girls were 10 and 12…they are just captivated by wildlife anyway, and loved the boat wildlife drives on the river and seeing the sea turtles nesting (we lucked out and there was one laying the night we went)
          My youngest was having some trouble adjusting to spotting wildlife through the binoculars, and our guide could not have been more patient…I was all “we can move on now,” and he wouldn’t leave until he was sure she had seen what we were trying to spot. Her joy at finally finding it was well worth it. Somehow, he taught me the importance of sloooowing down and really seeing! He also taught me the importance of writing down the name of every guide we used last summer in Africa, because I now kick myself for not having noted his name!!
          Are you considering going back with your kids? If so, do stay in the penthouse…it was like living in a tree house in the rain forest, my kids still talk about it! And compared to, say, staying in a penthouse vs a regular room in NY, it’s totally do-able!
          And to Michael…never mind parents sueing because the animals are too close; parents should consider this proximity as exactly WHY they should take the kids. As you both know, there is so much wildlife in CR that is so accessible and near (my girls were just fascinated by leaf cutter ants and stick bugs!!)that it is a great destination to capture kids attention!

      • At January 05, 2011
        2:37:10 pm
        Patty Chang Anker replied
        to Kathy:

        Michael, I think it’s hysterical that instead of saying “For those of you from litigious cultures who are planning to visit Tortuga Lodge, don’t worry, we’ve since fenced off the entire property from wildlife” you have chosen to keep the environment au naturel. Hysterical, and wonderful.

        • At January 05, 2011
          3:01:28 pm
          Michael Kaye replied
          to Patty Chang Anker:

          Now guests whose children are not eaten by crocodiles are going to demand their money back.