Tracie Stice

Unido: 14.oct.2018 Última actividad: 12.jul.2024 iNaturalist

Saludos desde Costa Rica! I'm a wildlife guide on the Osa Peninsula, where I lead night tours in the rainforest.

Over two decades ago, I stepped out of a small boat onto the pristine shores of Drake Bay, one of the most remote regions in Costa Rica. At that time, Drake Bay was only accessible by water, foot, or horse. There were no roads, no electricity, one phone in the village - which normally didn’t work - and just a few hundred residents tucked into the rainforest and the community of Agujitas. Monkeys and macaws provided the wake-up calls here.

I was fresh out of Auburn University with a B.S. in Biology and, through a chance encounter, had just landed a job guiding day-tours at a nine-room ecolodge. The Osa Peninsula is considered the single most important expanse of lowland rainforest in Mesoamerica. It is also home to some of the best wildlife watching opportunities in the country. For the next two years, I guided small groups into Corcovado National Park and Cano Island. In the "summer months" I lived in a tent on the beach and then in a tiny sea-side cabin once the rains began. Eventually, I bought a couple of acres of land, moved my tent from the beach into the forest and began construction on my house.

During the construction, most days were spent helping the building crew, but each afternoon, as the sun went down, I found myself alone in the forest. Living in a tent at night made me acutely aware of a little-known world. The forest was teeming with extraordinary creatures after dark - I really wasn’t alone after all. There were spiders, insects, bats and other mammals that I had never encountered during my day-tours to the national parks. As my knowledge and experience with this nighttime world grew, I thought it would be an incredible experience to lead adventure travelers on nighttime hikes. I invested in night vision optics, flashlights, and rubber boots. The Night Tour was born. My focus was primarily on the insects and spiders and I became (affectionately) known as “The Bug Lady” by my guests.

More than two decades later, I’ve seen many changes in Drake Bay. The village is now accessible by car or daily flights from San Jose. Homes that were once illuminated by kerosene and candles now have electricity, cellular service, and internet. Despite these developments, much has remained the same. I still live in the same house I built all those years ago, tucked into a largely undeveloped expanse of rainforest only accessible by foot or horse. Tapir, ocelot, and river otter are my neighbors. The Osa remains wild and the nights are still rich with wondrous creatures.

A Photographic Guide to the Arachnids of Drake Bay, Costa Rica

Drake Bay, Costa Rica Camera Trap Project

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