Saturday, January 3, 2009
Ultra Adventure at Mono Feliz
I just returned from a 2-day adventure at Mono Feliz located near the Panama/Costa Rica border on the Pacific Ocean. WOW! After following Ken, Sharon, Rick & Nancy for 3 hours over freeways, back roads, dirt roads and beach, we arrived at Mono Feliz, run by a gringo named Juancho. The only way to get to Mono Feliz is to wait for low tide, then rock & roll over beach sand, interesting rock formations and streams. This was a good test of my new truck (a 2008 Turbo Diesel 4WD Nissan Frontier). Minutes after our arrival, the herd of 35 Red-backed Squirrel Monkeys arrived (to eat bananas). Red-backed squirrel monkeys are endangered & quite rare in Panama. They make nice pets (for a few years until they reach puberty) & fit nicely into illegal animal trade that pervades Central America. In order to get the cute little squirrel monkeys, poachers kill the mother and "rescue" the babies. Hence, there are fewer & fewer females and the race declines or becomes extinct. This is the same type of monkeys as Bengie who lives at Paradise Gardens. We spend the night (Pauline, Bridget & I) while Ken, Sharon, Rick & Nancy returned to Playa Barqueta. We had a fabulous 2 days & I can't wait to return. Besides the squirrel monkeys, we encountered howlers and white faced monkeys... not to mention the red-eyed tree frog (that Juancho brought to the dinner table), scorpion, wolf spider, and hords of scavenging land hermit crabs. We spend the afternoon of January 2 collecting beautiful shells & sea glass (we even found 3 pieces of rare blue sea glass). Everything was so beautiful and perfect, we found ourselves wondering if it was real. After a stunning sunset (we came close to seeing the fabled green flash), native dinner and refreshing shower, we retreated to our beach-front cabins. There were no screens on the windows and there were no bugs. Our morning walk took us to Dave's place (a 40 minute walk toward the border). We found Dave in the raw feeding white-faced monkeys (more bananas). He showed us his margay (rescued from Bocas del Toro 3 years ago), hotel (with electricity & hot water) and baby Olive Ridley turtles (about to be released). We returned to Mono Feliz for a great breakfast followed by more beach combing. We left around 2:00 p.m. (for beach driving at low tide) & returned to Las Olas at 5:00 p.m. I'm already planning my next trip to Mono Feliz. You can be assured that if you come visit me for any length of time, I'll take you to Mono Feliz, the place of happy, laughing monkeys.
Posted by Elaine Grace at 9:23 PM