Costa Rican Monkey Rescue

March 18th, 2011

A new blog- by Mo (half of the newest addition to the Tierra staff)

I set off for a sunset jog from the Caribbean bungalows of Tierra de Suenos and headed away from the beautiful beaches of Playa Chiquita. Trying to distract myself from the actual act of jogging was easy to do since I was surrounded by beautiful Real Palms, Toucans, frogs and more. After reaching Punta Uva I recognized the familiar sounds of grunting howler monkeys in the distance. Although they are usually loud, they appeared to be more boisterous and plentiful then usual. I ran over Punta Uva bridge and noticed a group of tourists looking at the ground on the side of the road. Assuming it was the usual sloth crossing, I slowed down to take a look at the cute critter. Only, to my surprise, there was a badly hurt howler monkey who had fallen on the electric wires and had been severely burnt.

The boisterous sounds from earlier turned out to be his family, consisting of maybe 20 others, flanking the sides of the street and howling in concern. The monkey was shaking and I could observe burns on his arms and entire right side of his face, including his eye. Pamela, a local restaurant and cabinas owner, pulled up in her golf cart to inquire about the crowd. Together we decided to rush the monkey to the local rescue center in hopes to save him. We gathered him in a towel and I sat holding the little fella in the back of the cart. After one escape attempt and many potholes later, the crying and seizing monkey arrived at the Jaguar Rescue Center. Even after business hours, the workers were eager to help and whisked the monkey to the closest veterinarian for treatment.

The following day, a fellow Tierra de Suenos employee (Jake, the other half of the newest Tierra staff) and I decided to visit the Jaguar Rescue Center to check on my little friend. After an exciting tour observing snakes, monkeys, frogs, Caymens, sloths, and eagles, I was able to check on the monkey. We were unable to see him since he was sleeping in the recovery room, but we learned that he had third degree burns on his face, tail, body and had lost a finger from the electrocution. They had treated him with medicine and burn cream and the doctor stated he thought the monkey was likely to make a steady recovery. We thanked them for their work and the simple existence of such a center, because without it the monkey would have less than a fighting chance at survival. After this experience and my visit to the Jaguar Rescue Center I have decided to help these Costa Rican animals and my little monkey by volunteering at the center. More adventure stories to come!

Sloth Crossing

March 11th, 2010

Has a wandering sloth ever crossed your patio? It happens here every now and then. Check out the our first video of what you may experience when staying at our rain forest lodge! This is the Costa Rica jungle at it’s best. Click here to see the video!


June 27th, 2009

Meet the newest member of the Tierra de Sueños family…….


We were expecting some puppies in the neighborhood after seeing Cody, our big jungle dog, having his way with our neighbor’s dog in the middle of the road (this is the way things are done here apparently).

Two days ago Brendan went to pay his respects to the off-spring and ended up coming back with one of the puppies in hand. How could he resist? She is insanely adorable and I, who never even liked dogs, am completely madly in love!

Ginger is of course a huge hit with the guests and is proving to be a perfect addition to Tierra de Sueños.

First morning in her new home.

Enjoying her favorite past time.

First trip to the beach with dad.

Life is good!

No Pets Allowed

March 23rd, 2009

Several months ago a woman called asking if we allow dogs. Well, we might, depending on what kind. This policy hasn’t been established yet. I can see why it wouldn’t work out, but we like pets. We have a big dog who tends to get excited when someone approaches his porch. Especially if there is food in his bowl. Also his brother, who belongs to a neighbor, spends most of his time here. Together their passion, other than guiding people to Playa Chiquita, is building and maintaining street rep. This means that they urinate on as much as possible in the area including idling cars, bikes. And, sometimes, they fight. The woman said the dog was a nice indoor poodle, that there shouldn’t be any problems. Okay, if you’re willing to risk it then so am I. We can use the business.

When faced with the indoor poodle Cody and his brother Drake sniffed curiously and laid back down. No threat. No excitement. Better to save energy for re-marking all the spots from the previous night, maybe see if Sparticus and Buenos Dias down the road want to brawl, or if Domer has any plans. The first night went smoothly.

The second night the couple came into the reception around 9pm to say that they would be going out to dinner, leaving Nelson in the bungalow. Sure, no problem. As soon as we hear their car pull away Nelson works himself into an indoor poodle tizzy and starts yapping his face off. Uh oh. We aren’t sure what do if this doesn’t stop. You can’t have a poodle yapping in one bungalow with people trying to sleep next door. It’s already 9pm so there’s no way the couple will eat and be back before at least 11pm. I want to crush up an antihistamine, put it in some left over food, put Nelson’s ass to sleep. I’m tired myself, don’t want to wait up with Nelson, the indoor poodle, until the owners get back. We can’t decide what to do. Uh oh, here comes a guest, Hank, father of a 1-year-old, with his shirt off, sleep in his eyes. Can you do something about that dog? Yes, Hank. Something must be done.

It never even occurred to me that Nelson might be upset about some stranger coming in to the bungalow. I was picturing a wagging tail, a quick trip to the reception, maybe a little over-the-counter cocktail for Nelson and bed for me. When I opened the door Nelson took one look, jumped up on the bed and raised the volume on that yap. I started to talk him down. It’s okay, we’re just going to take a little trip, wait for mummy and daddy to get home. He sat, yapping, allowed me to touch his head. It’s okay, buddy we’re just going to take a little trip. YAP, YAP, YAP YAP YAP. He wasn’t really calming down, so it seemed the only way to get him out would be to grab him by the scruff of the neck. I went for it. He snapped. Nelson, you scoundrel, you tried to bite me. Hank has to be wondering what’s taking so long at this point. Nelson is clearly upset and I’m realizing that it’s all or nothing. I tell Nelson a little bit more about the plan, touch his head, grab him by the neck with both hands and scoop him up. He manages to get in a few bites on my forearm, makes an insane death cry, pees all over the bed and me.

I make it out of the bungalow where Cody, Drake and Hank are waiting. Did he bite you? He bit and peed, but there’s no blood. I’ll keep him quiet. Angie waits in the reception house wondering what that sound was. I tell her that the bastard bit me and let the bastard go thinking that he would stay put fearing what lies beyond. Clearly I do not understand the indoor poodle. Nelson makes a break for it immediately. Out into the jungle. At first he heads to the road. Great. How will we explain that we lost their yapping dog? He quickly realizes that there are any number of things that would make him dinner and returns to the bungalow. I head back with rope this time. Nelson doesn’t feel so brave on the porch, is staying low profile, not yapping. I talk to him for a while longer, mention that he should not have bit me, throw a noose around him and take him to the reception. Luckily his owners came back around 10:30pm. They saw Nelson tied to the chair and began to apologize. I guess you won’t be allowing pets anymore? No pets allowed.

Where we live

June 2nd, 2008

Punta Uva

-Sorry about the drought, folks. Now we’re blogging.

Howler Monkey

We wake up every morning with the birds, many of them. Becoming more knowledgeable everyday about which bird is making which sound, we have impressed our recently visiting friends with our new ability to discern the chirp of a toucan, follow the sound to a neighboring tree and then spot the colorful beak hidden in the leaves. When our ackee tree was in full bloom toucans would frequent our very own patio which made this practice much easier!

Flower- Rice'n'beans

Hummingbirds are not so difficult to find, however. In fact you must watch yourself for they will plow right into you if one of our peach colored hibiscus blossoms is on the other side. At least one hummingbird a day flies into our kitchen, in the front door, out the back. Scarlet rumped tanagers are constantly trying to seduce the not so attractive females by showing off their full inflatable red puff while the white-necked puff bird watches quietly. The morning excitement is quite outrageous and makes rising a delightful experience, unless of course we have the opportunity to sleep in which is pretty much impossible.

If the bird sounds are not enough, once out of bed and down stairs to our open air living room, we are quickly reminded that we live in the jungle. Some mornings it seems as though everything grew over night. Massive leaves hang heavy with dew and some bright new blossom shows its brilliant colors. If it rained during the night the jungle may appear to be devouring our house, something it would gladly do if we did not keep up the battle. Heading to the reception house where we serve breakfast we are encouraged by a pink and black butterfly through the narrow jungle path. Everyday without fail this butterfly shows us the way. We’ve barely made it to the reception house and as one of our friends put it, we feel like we’re on an episode of Lost!

Three Toed Sloth

Brendan and I have also become quite adept at finding sloths. These adorable little tree bears love certain trees on the property and can be spotted hanging about quite frequently. They climb down to the ground once a week to relieve themselves and this is the best time to catch a close-up glimpse of their permanently smiling faces. Howler monkeys you may not see but will definitely hear! We thought the novelty of these loud monkeys would wear off but hearing the wild roar throughout the jungle still brings a sense of excitement and rawness.

Bri Bri Water Fall

Speaking of rawness, I will try to paint a picture of the beaches across the way from us. Golden sand unites the jungle with the sea. The crystal clear, green tinted water creates a lagoon feeling. While swimming in this salty lagoon gazing out the jungle cliff back drop it is easy to lose sense of time and place. You can walk along the beaches for miles and see no houses, hotels, restaurants and often no people. Each corner unveils a new cove or stretch of beach different from the previous. The beauty of this coastline is honestly breathtaking.

I felt it was time to attempt describing our new home in terms of beauty. In my mind this blog is no exaggeration. I am amazed at the raw beauty of this earth. It is beyond humbling to be in a place where nature is so powerful, enchanting and mysterious. I feel overjoyed to not only be a part of it myself but to have the means to share it with you……

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