This Was The Most Eco-Intense Thing We Found at an Eco-Lodge in Costa Rica
Yesterday, we gave you an inside look at what eco-lodges look like in Costa Rica, highlighting the offerings and operations of several properties throughout the country. One of those, La Quinta de Sarapiqui, has achieved a five-leaf sustainability rating for its efforts.
It was not hard to see why during our visit. Located in an extremely rural area and tucked into the edge of the rainforest, it was easy to drive right by without realizing (which we did). Once inside, it doesn't take long to see how dedicated the property is to the environment. The hotel has a butterfly garden and caiman pond on site, organizes visits to local schools, runs chocolate and pineapple farm tours, and offers cooking classes and tree planting excursions.
But the most intense thing on the property - one that shows just how far eco-activities go in Costa Rica - was the presence of an ant farm, or ant colony. The name is completely deceiving, especially for those who are picturing a small fish tank with some tunnels to view. What the property has facilitated is actually an exterior ant farm, one that brings the ants outside their nest and allows visitors to view their hard-working lifestyle.
You can get a glimpse of it in the photos above and below. The leaf-cutter ants travel via the twisted tree branches to their food source, about an hour's walk one way. Then, after cutting the leaf, they carry it back to the nest. The tree branches are supported by stakes that go down into a bucket of water, preventing the ants from leaving the prescribed trail. Visitors can watch the army march to and from its food supply and learn all about the workings of the colony.
Even if ants aren't your cup of tea, we found this exhibit to be a good example of how far Costa Rica takes its approach to eco-tourism and its quest to educate visitors about the natural world that lives around them.
[Photos: Facebook/Will McGough]