After we’d finished the Cloud Forest and had a beer together we moved on to the night walk, a chance to see animals, insects and birds in their natural habitat. Starting few miles out of town a small hut marks the beginning of the walk. Assigned a guide, we follow a trail into the forest after a brief induction to what would occur.
When we started, it was still quite light, and we found some butterflies and a large spider.
We also came to a clearing with a fabulous view over the forest and the setting sun.
During our walk, we encountered many more insects and butterflies as well as a nesting bird. By this point, after the somewhat disappointing bridges earlier in the day, and now a night walk with some random bugs I was wondering if this was oversold as a trip.
Just then, over the radio the guides all carry, we heard that a sloth had been seen nearby at the top of a tree. We briskly walked over to a large clearing and high in the trees was the sloth. We even got to watch him slowly change position. The guides used their flashlights to illuminate the poor sloth, who was only trying to sleep. As they do almost all day and night.
From there, feeling much more positive about the whole experience, we headed to a known tarantula hole. We crept up, one by one, along the dirt floor to view him without causing a disturbance. Hidden back in the tree, only his legs could be seen.
We also saw three more colourful birds nesting. One of whom was woken up by us.
Suddenly, there was excitement. We heard over the radio that a wild cat had been seen nearby and we had to run for about ten minutes through the hot humid, dark forest. Avoiding bushes and mud, jumping branches it was shockingly dangerous when we look back on it. Arriving, out of breath, we joined a large crowd trying to spot the wild cat in the branches.
I spotted him by movement once or twice but didn’t get a clear view and through sheer luck caught him passing on camera with an instinctual shutter click. Do something enough, and it becomes a habit. Even knowing he is there, it can take a second to pick out his coat from the dappled surroundings.