Hike through the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Reserve

To start the day we were woken up by howler monkeys. They make such a loud noise for being so small. They sound like pissed off bears mixed with thunder. If you heard it in the forest and didn’t know it was just a tiny monkey, you would be very afraid.

Ryan and I decided to take a hike through the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Reserve on Friday, January 29th. We were ridiculously unprepared dressed in flip-flops, shorts (him) and a dress (me). Armed with our bag of pb&j sandwiches, water, and cameras, we set off.

Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Reserve

Ryan got bit by a black bullet ant which he said “stung like a bitch.” Afterward we were constantly looking at the ground to avoid more ant incidents. Don’t wear flip-flops in the rainforest, seriously. There were giant black and red ants all over. One red ant sank its huge mandibles into the leather on Ryan’s flip flop, right next to his skin.

Red Frog - Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Reserve

The reserve was beautiful with very lush plant life everywhere. It rained a ton and got very muddy. We felt like explorers tromping through the rainforest soaking wet with howler monkeys howling and jumping in the trees around us.

Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Reserve

The rainforest is a very dangerous place. There are huge ants, spiders, and wasps everywhere you look, plus poisonous red frogs and spiked caterpillars that can paralyse you if touched. Even the trees have spikes!

Spiked Tree - Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Reserve

The danger of the rainforest is balanced with its incredible beauty. There are massive trees with all kinds of epiphytes, bright pink plants, and lots of colorful flowers and  butterflys.

Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Reserve

We walked about 8 miles round trip and were muddy and soaked by the time we got home, but in great spirits.

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