A Tale of Costa Rica Frogs–The Last Frog Standing

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, Newsletters, Playas del Coco

This is a tale about Costa Rica frogs.

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I am lying in my bed, and I can’t even sleep. The noise is incredible. It is literally reverberating off the windows and it feels like my house is moving. If these were my dogs, making this much noise, I might open the door and actually throw a flip flop at them. Shut up!!!!!  The noise stops for about 5 seconds.

Costa Rica Frequently Asked Questions

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Costa Rica frogs

 Anyone who has ever spent one night in the tropics knows exactly what this is.  It’s the sound of Costa Rica frogs, bellowing out for all to hear.  Maybe it’s a mating request, or some kind of call to arms: could be Toad Rock n Roll or maybe they are just letting all their buddies know that MY pool is a cool place to hang out.  “Come on over man, this place is AWESOME!!!  He’s got satellite TV with Duck Dynasty, Animal Planet and all the TCU Horned Frog games, and 8 dog bowls to swim in.”   These little suckers come in all shapes, from the size of an egg to some massive dudes that are bigger than softballs, but every one of them can squawk.  You can hear these things hundreds of yards away.  I am not kidding you, and these puppies are LOUD.  If your kids screamed like this, you would beat the crap out of them and lock them in a closet.

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Not only do these guys really give you a headache, they are vile heinous creatures. My dogs want nothing to do with them either, thank goodness, because some of them, if they are eaten, can make your pet very sick. I guess I have raised a family of princesses, because they just look at these rascals with complete disgust: like “why are you here and why don’t you just drop dead?”  They leave this slimy black goop when they take a frog poop, and they seem to go every couple of minutes because the stuff is everywhere. Now, I understand, that they are a vital part of the food chain blah blah blah; they eat all the bugs and mosquitos that we really don’t want around, but that doesn’t mean I need 40 of them.

Costa Rica Harlequin Toad

Every June, at the start of the green season, these little pukes seem to come out of nowhere. Like, where have you been hiding for 6 months? They are everywhere.  And no matter what you do, they keep coming back. One time, there was this big sucker, HUGE, like a small bowling ball, and he was just screaming for attention. So I went and got a broom, lifted him up, and heaved the SOB as far as I could, he literally cleared the tree tops. THUD when he  hit the ground, 30 yards away, and yet 24 hours later; HE’S BACK! You can kick ‘em, and smack ‘em, and throw them against a tree, and nothing can kill ‘em. Costa Rica doesn’t need an army because they have Toad Navy Seals. They are indestructible.

tree frog costa rica

But some of them are actually gorgeous animals. They come in so many different colors, it is mind boggling, and there are 133 species of them in the land of Pura Vida.  Now, I have to be honest with you, I Googled that.  Seriously, who would WANT to know that statistic?  Who would want to be a frog and toad expert?   I have way too many important things to be doing, like drinking Pilsen beer, than studying the mating and migration, eating and sleeping patterns of Costa Rica frogs and toads.  I have a life.  But heh, somebody has to do it, and I am glad they did, because it was actually quite interesting to read.   Here is the link if you want to study up on your amphibians http://costaricanfrogs.com/

Red Eyed Tree Frog

I have a plan, you knew I would. This time every year, I bring over my secretary’s son Abner for a little Frog Removal Machine. He is 14 years old, and like most young men his age, he has absolute no fear of anything, especially not toads. I didn’t either, 30 something years ago, but now…. I am petrified of these evil little slime balls. Just the thought of picking it up gives me the willies. That’s ok, call me a girl. So for 20 bucks and a pizza, he comes over and hunts them down. It takes him about an hour, to track them all, and put them into a big box. This kid is good, let me tell you. He has his flashlight and plastic gloves, and climbs into every nook and cranny of my yard. Into the bushes and trees: under the patio furniture and golf cart; opens the cabinets in my rancho bar and climbs underneath the pool table too. He looks up and down, in and out, rattling and shaking bushes and trees, moving rocks and garden hoses, and he covers every square inch of my acre and a half, and when he is finished, the peace and quiet is amazing. Ahhhh, am I going to sleep good tonight and no slimy trails of goop in the morning.

Donde Johann

We headed into town with the box of Costa Rica frogs in the back of the truck. I stopped over this little bridge and we dumped them all into the creek below.  BE FREE little idiots, BE FREE.  We went to my favorite place for pizza and ordered the biggest pie they had, with every topping known to mankind.  Abner, like most kids his age, can eat.  I mean he can SERIOUSLY EAT.  I have seen him devour two 12” Subway sandwiches, with everything on it, and ask me if he could have another one.  Oh, to be a teenager again, and not have to worry about my waist, but I reserve my calorie intake for alcohol now LOL.  This little restaurant is adorable; it is called Donde Johann, and they have a very expansive menu.  He has everything from Sushi to Pizza, Typical to Traditional, Asian to Pasta and everything is made fresh on a daily basis. He has a wood burned oven that toasts the crust just the way I like it, and the ambiance is pretty neat too.  You sit outside, under the open air, checking out the moon and the stars, around these teak tables and chairs, while a fountain is flowing in the center of the courtyard.  The place is always packed, as it is one of the more popular places in town, and with the tiki candles burning around the outside of the patio, it is quite a relaxing scenario for dinner.

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I guess you just can’t get away from it!!! Costa Rica frogs are everywhere!!!

Richard Branson

I just recently passed my 11th anniversary of living in paradise, so I decided to take the day off and celebrate. I love when a friend comes to visit, because it is a good excuse for me to explore another box on my bucket list. One of the local boat captains told me about this impressive resort, located less than an hour from the beach, so we jumped in the truck and headed east.  I have actually seen the sign on the main highway, for many years, but never took the time to go and check it out.  It is located in the town of Bagaces, which is just off the Pan American highway about 30 km south of Liberia.  

One of the comments you read most often on the internet, is how bad the roads are in Costa Rica.  Well let me tell you that really don’t apply any more here in Guanacaste.  They are actually expanding Route 1 and turning it into a four lane, concrete, state of the art Interstate, with massive drainage pipes and brand new bridges, like you would see in most first world countries.  When I arrived here in 2003, it would take over 7 hours to get to San Jose from the beach.  The road was so bad, and the pot holes were so big, you would literally drive INTO the crater and OUT the other side: I am not exaggerating.  Recently they completed the Caldera Highway, leading out from the city to Puntarenas, and over the last 8 years, they have re paved every major road in our part of Guanacaste.  It currently only takes 3.5 hours now and when this section is complete it will be under three.  They have a long term plan to make a 4 lane highway all the way to the capital, so within a few years, you should be able to complete the trip in about 2- 2.5 hours, so you will actually be able to go up and back in the same day.

As we turned off the highway and headed up the mountain towards Miravalles Volcano, I was expecting to have to put it into four wheel drive. Many of these resorts are located in very remote areas, and the roads can be atrocious. Wow, was I in for a surprise. The road was paved the ENTIRE way, with the exception of the last 3 or 4 km when we actually entered the final approach to the property of the hotel. The ride up was one of the most beautiful drives I have seen in this country, as we rolled through these old Costa Rican farming towns and cattle ranches.  I remember passing this charming little home, and a sweet old man was sleeping in his rocking chair, exhausted obviously from spending his days, sleeping in his rocking chair. I hope I am that lucky when I am his age. Just a few more minutes up the road, and we came to our destination. Rio Perdido Resort (the Lost River) http://rioperdido.com/

Rio perdido resort

The first thing you notice when you arrive, is how magnificent the architecture is. The entrance to the main lobby and restaurant is something out of a magazine. There are no ceiling fans or A/C as they have designed it perfectly to take advantage of the cross breezes, that are common up in the hills of Bagaces; very spiritual. The actual hotel rooms themselves, are little bungalows, built on pylons or stilts overlooking the river below. The resort is surrounded by open air massage tents, as they have a world class spa, and 3 or 4 gorgeous swimming pools with of course, a couple of bars. The place even has a suspension bridge where you can view the water below. The property has two rivers, the Rio Blanco, which is a fast running COLD River, and Rio Perdido, which is unlike anything you have ever seen before. It is a HOT River that comes out from the bottom of the Miravalles Volcano, and slowly meanders down the mountain. The bottom of the river, is lined with shattered ceramic that was formed thousands of years ago. The thermal water, which is very rich in minerals, is one of the most relaxing swims of your life, and it has over a dozen such springs that you can easily walk to and enter. This would be the perfect setting for a yoga retreat, a spiritual experience, or a healing / massage workshop. Not a bad place for a honey moon either, or a way to Wow your first date.

rio perdidio zip line

As a final note, the trees growing within these canyons are monstrous. They have a yearlong source of nutritional, mineralized water, and grow up to 10 times taller than the dwarf trees on the parched soil above. These canopies can be just about as tall as the canyon itself. So, in the wet season, when all of the foliage is dense and green, the serpentine canyon practically disappears from view. Even a bird flying above the very canyon could miss the camouflaged river. It is, indeed, a lost river…Rio Perdido.

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We had only showed up to enjoy the activities, but after checking this place out, I promise I will be back for an overnight stay. For the small price of $80, we were given a full day of adventure and relaxation, and one of the tastiest meals I have ever had. The morning started with a ride down the fast running, cold Rio Blanco, in an inner tube, that lasted over 90 minutes. As we bounced through the canyon, and over the mini rapids and rocks, you couldn’t help but sit back in awe of the scenery. Sheer walls lined the river on both sides, and the wildlife was everywhere, but just enjoying the cool refreshing water, on a hot day, was the best part of it all.

dogs

We then set out for one of the most adrenalized canopy tours, I have ever done in Costa Rica. This one is not for the faint of heart, nor the lazy, as you physically have to assert yourself to complete it.  Most Zip Lines, other than the height and speed, are generally pretty easy. You snap on and let gravity take you down the mountain. But not on this dude. They have a 260 ft. Pendulum swing, where you click on a rope that hangs 20 feet below the line. As you motor down the cable, the momentum causes you to pendulum back and forth, left to right, nearly missing the sides of the canyon walls. They have one of the longest Tarzan ropes, where you have to careen yourself more than 50 feet over a gorge. Then there is a rock climb, like you might see in your gym at home, with the foot and hand hoofs, except you are about 100 feet above the boulders and river below. Although, of course there are safety harnesses, any man who tells you he wasn’t a tad nervous, is a lying sack of horse manure. As you continue through the maze, you have to hike a few hundred yards up some trails to get to each platform, excellent for the heart rate, dreams of Pilsen filling my head. One of the toughest of the 15 runs is the 90 ft. challenge bridge, which seems to be hanging by just a couple of ropes. As you gingerly work your way across the canyon, holding on for dear life, the bridge shakes and vibrates, bounces and swings, testing your agility and balance. Don’t look down and don’t fall. The last zip line across, of course, is the longest (800 feet) and fastest (I am guessing 40 mph) and brings you right back to the resort. Trust me, you are flying. By the way, they also have a mountain biking trail if your goal is to completely destroy yourself before lunch.

By this time you are;

exhausted

starving

in desperate need of a cocktail

Looking forward to those hot springs and thermals, and a dip in the pool.

Many places, when they include lunch, usually have a simple plate of food, nothing to brag about, but these guys go all out. There is a full menu to choose from, with steak, chicken or fish, loaded with all the vegetables and sides, and it comes with a soup and salad appetizer, and a piece of cheesecake for dessert. I have had meals back home that cost more than the entire day.

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Ahhhhh. Now it was time for the hot springs and a little R&R. The mineral water, is just a small hike down the hill, and they have a mud station nearby where you can lube up prior to entering. The mud is loaded with nutrients and acts as some kind of natural exfoliate and makes for great photos ops too, but it is really known to draw the toxins out of your body. For a guy like me, I’ll take all the toxin removal stuff I can get and there is no better way to end the day, than a deep tissue massage.

doggies

I found myself lying in my bed that night, reminiscing of the day. I am truly a lucky man, I know that. I live in this paradise, with the friendliest people in the world. Little Millie Dolores is snuggled next to my head, taking up half the pillows, her built in breakfast alarm clock counting the minutes to 4:46 am where, to the minute, she will wake me by licking my face religiously.  I noticed how quiet it finally was. I was completely relaxed, totally exhausted and whatever stress was in me was gone. I am toxin free and ready to sleep. Finally; the peace and quiet of it all. Good Night everyone.

Costa Rica frogs

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Costa Rica frogs, here we go again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pura Vida. See you soon.

Michael

PS Well, you knew I had a problem, but maybe you just didn’t realize the extent. There was this beautiful creature, homeless on the beach, with two huge tumors on her belly. So I dognapped her, and brought her to Sharinne Alice, the best Vet in Coco, Pet House Clinic, who performed her magic and healed her up. Please meet my newest member of the family, Mommie. The first thing she does when you greet her, is roll over on her back, spread her legs and scream “Look dude, NO tumors!”

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La Sele

PSS – I have to admit, that it has been quite exciting watching the Costa Rican National team at the FIFA World Cup. They have been the darlings of the tournament, beating the crap out of Uruguay, a very good team, just squeaking past Italy, a contender every time and tying England, the original founding country of the tournament.  They advanced to the knockout round two, for their second time in the history of the nation.  This is the first time in their history to advance to the quarterfinals.  I have never seen such enthusiasm for any team in my life, and I have been in more stadiums than most.  The PRIDE that this country shows, and the SUPPORT they have for their team is immense.  Every employer has given their workers time off to watch the games, and even the government closed down considering those times a holiday.  When Costa Rica finally finished off Greece after two over times and a penalty kick, the country went ballistic!!!  You have never seen such a celebration, it was absolutely NUTS.  There must have been 25,000 people dancing in the streets of little Coco, hugging and kissing, jumping up and down.  But unlike celebrations in other countries, there were no problems; no fights or over turned cars; no violence or arrests; just an immense outpouring of emotion, unlike I have ever witnessed in my life.  A good friend of mine has a saying; Experience the moment.

The rest of the world should take a lesson from the TICOS.

Ticos

One final thought. Remember that Mexico is currently holding a US Marine prisoner, and our government is doing nothing about it. So if you are planning a vacation, DON’T go there. Let’s not give one single dollar of our hard earned money to that horrible nation, come to the land of Pura Vida instead.  Maybe if Obama wasn’t so busy giving the Washington Redskins such a hard time about their name, he might pick up the phone and get our boy out. 

Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition no. 48

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April 2019
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