Sunday, March 25, 2012

Resonance, Toucans and Cocoa

I should have expected it, after how pitch black 6pm was last night, but waking up at 5:45 am to light, birds and cicadas was a shock. Admittedly, the canopy is so thick in our camps that the light wasn't strong enough inside the tent to see much. The sounds were nicer than last night's though: toads are rather loud and obnoxious. I will include the recording of their croak when I learn how to do that.

After a delicious breakfast, we piled - 14 at a time - into minivans and were jostled along to the sound of Bob Marley to la Selva Biological Reserve.

La Selva is only accessible via a suspension bridge that is 15m high and 100m long. My MIT training rapidly kicked in and coerced me into searching for the resonance frequency of the bridge. My diabolic side then took over and, with Jakob's help, we made the bridge move quite a bit.

We then explored the local forest, discovered brightly colored fauna and recorded new and different sounds. Our guide also had many interesting stories to share. One story I really enjoyed was that since he moved to this area of the country, he has seen more fauna than before, even in his own backyard. He has birdfeeders with pineapple and bananas for toucans and other local birds. He also mentioned that when he forgets to leave fruit out, they attempt to come and get it themselves from his kitchen.

Here are a couple of pictures of local wildlife.

The best way to finish off the day was with another suspension bridge (24m high and 262m long). This bridge however needed no help to undulate and make people uneasy. It was worth the hassle though, because on the other side we were greeted with chocolate tasting from cocoa bean to hard chocolate and every other state along the fabrication process.

We also were given some beans that will allow us to make our own chocolate thanks to our newly acquired knowledge. Hungry yet?


  1. Hello, I am glad that you guys are enjoying Costa Rica so much! I am part of the local MIT alumni club and would love to meet you all in case you stop by San Jose. I'd be great to hear about your experiences here. My email is adriangs [at] and local phone +506 8843-9807. Pura vida!

  2. Are you going to INBio ? They have one of the most impressive specimen collections in the world. Let me know if you want me to connect you to them so that you can get a private (and rare) tour of the collection of species. My email is above.