Going to see the "mariposas" was high on my priority list. But, they are about 40 minutes outside of town, and very expensive to go by taxi (which is the only way to get there... you could not walk this far, and no busses there). Through a little miracle, and some savvy-ness on my part (if I do say so myself... :) we got a rental car for $30/day instead of $62! Yeah! So this conservatory was my main goal for the 24 hours we had the car. And it met expectations!
First, we had an informative tour through the welcoming station (not quite "visitor's center" status) where they showed us diagrams of all the animals and the life stages of their butterflies.
That huge spider in the middle is called the "horse eating spider." It can literally kill and then eat (part of) a horse. And it eats humans too. Yikes. Steer clear of those baby T!
They were trying to sell us on the pass to go see the actual habitats, but since that is what we came for we were an easy sale! $14 and we were on our way!
It was a very rainy day, but luckily they had an umbrella to loan us. We keep trying to buy one of our own but we can't find them for sale! Ah!
And let the butterfly photography begin:
The man said we could hold them! The trick is to come up behind them (preferably while they are eating) and open your pointer and middle finger and just slide them on in. There is a pic later on showing this a bit better.
Talk about camo!
This is the national butterfly. It is the same species pictured above and below. It's only colorful on the inside!
T was in HEAVEN! When the employee/tour guide shook the walls to make all the butterflies fly, she was going crazy looking around and watching them whiz past her face!
Op, and a little frog in the mix!
The "transparent" butterfly!
Here is our guide! He was sweet.
I am so excited about this picture! This is the "national" frog that you see on all the Costa Rica brochures... those red eyes are pretty wild!
The whole experience took us just over an hour.
An hour well spent!