The rainforest at night is perhaps the darkest place you will ever see above ground. The dense canopy completely blocks out the moon and stars even on a clear night, and if you turn off your flashlights you will be immersed in complete and total darkness that seems to creep into every bone in your body. While this may sound somewhat terrifying, it is also incredibly beautiful in a way, and there are amazing animals that call this darkness their home. Many of them can only be seen once the tropical sun has set. Exploring this hidden world with the aid of very good flashlights is a truly magical experience.
The nocturnal rainforest is filled with the calls of thousands of species of frogs, insects, birds, and other animals who hide from their predators while searching for food and at the same time try to find a mate - all in near total darkness. Red-eyed leaf frogs, the unofficial mascot of Costa Rica, and many of their cousins can be found by the light reflecting off their unusually large eyes. Fishing bats swoop low over the river to snatch minnows from the surface, and you might even see the red glow of a caimans’ eye as it waits just below the surface for some small animal to wander too close to the edge. A slight rustling in the trees above you is a good indicator that a Kinkajou is peering down curiously from his perch. The Kinkajou is a small mammal that is half monkey, half cat, and half teddy-bear, and is without a doubt the cutest creature to call the night his home.
Now I would be lying to you if I said you would not see other sorts of creatures of the night in Costa Rica. Spiders and scorpions also use the cover of darkness to look for food, but fortunately us humans are not on their menu, and they do not bother us as we explore their world. While some do look a little creepy, they are not interested in humans, and your expert guides will make sure you avoid any up close surprise encounters. If we are really lucky we might also see some of the amazingly beautiful snakes that come out of hiding when the sun sets such as the Cat-Eyed Snake.
Without a doubt, the nocturnal world is out of our comfort zone as humans. Our species has always been nervous after dark, and stories and legends of things that go bump in the night have been around for as long as people have been telling stories. That said, immersing yourself in this incredible night world is a once in a lifetime experience!