Thursday, February 21, 2013

Papaya - the Toucan Can! A Trip to La Paz

What can the Toucan do?  The Toucan a bucket load of papaya.  The Toucan can......dump that same papaya (in digested form) on the head of some poor person who only entered that cage to observe the Toucan, not to be immersed in it.  In short, the Toucan can ruin a good hoodie.  Or at least get it pretty nasty.

You may be wondering why I sound like an expert of the amazing abilities on the Toucan.  Could it possibly be that I have some experience in this field?  Maybe.  Last Saturday, we went to LaPaz - a beautiful waterfall park, with a butterfly garden and much, much, more........

Our trip started with a 2 hour ride up the mountains in 2 vans full of most of the 1st trimester students from ILE (the Spanish school).  In a car full of talking and lots of fun, Annie and I worked on friendship bracelets, talked to our neighbors, and I even tried to read a bit of the Hunger Games in Spanish.  Didn't get very far.  About an hour into it, we all stopped at a little restaurant that had a bathroom and a beautiful garden across the road.  We were served some great bread and an incredible strawberry shake!!  We got about 15 minutes to explore the little area and stretch our legs.  A part of the trail went down out of the garden into the trees that were right there and went in a little arc till it came back into the open - the trees were amazing!!  There was this huge plant......with giant leaves that stretched way over my head - probably like 15 feet tall?!  Back in the garden, after going up the very steep (not to mention slightly wet) and narrow trail, we were all a little cold, because the air was significantly different - colder and cleaner - up so high.  Luckily I had brought along my hoodie.  :)  We found this huge plant with leaves that were almost 4 feet long!  Then we got back on the bus for another 45 minutes.

First stop was the bird cages - bright little birds that flitted around almost too fast to be seen, to big turkey-like ones that perch on the railing or right on the walkway.  You were in the cage with them - among them - it was awesome!  At first it was a bit misty, and even rained a bit, but eventually it all cleared up.  There was this one small turquoise bird that I saw a ways away that was just beautiful.  After walking around for a bit, we went through the gate and chains that hung down to the ground to keep the birds in.  A little section right off the open area was the toucan cage.  I just love toucans!  They are so bright, and their big beaks are amazing!  Anyway, the trainer there would call them and they would come down and sit right on our arm!  Or head.  :)


I know that you might be thinking that you know what I'm about to say happened next.  Nope.  Wrong.  Next, we safely left the toucan cage without any mishap, except a few times we got a scare by realizing we were standing directly under a branch on which a toucan or two perched heavily over our heads.  We walked a while on the beautiful path, till we came to the Butterfly house.  We had come here once 10 years ago when we were here before (most of the rest is new), and it is incredible.

You are surrounded by butterflies of all different colors and sizes. They soar above you, and sometimes even land on your head or arm!!  There are little feeding bowls all around that they all come was amazing.

Next - probably my favorites.  The Hummingbirds.  It literally felt like they were almost touching you as they zoomed right past your ear!  I could hear them making little chirping sounds, and even felt the wind a few times as they rushed by.   My instinct was to duck every time one went past - for fear of getting poked!  But they of course never collided with anything.  

I could stand two feet away from the feeders, and within seconds hummingbirds would be fluttering by the feeder, darting in and out, or just sitting on the edge.   Here are some more pictures, along with some interesting facts on those amazing birds!!!!


We also got to see some oxen, and the little kids go to ride in the cart for a bit!  Then we entered the woods on a trail that went to the waterfalls - a lot of stairs.  The waterfalls were amazing too.  Have you ever stared at a waterfall for at least 15 seconds, then looked at the surrounding cliffs?  If you ever do, you experience the optical illusion that the cliffs is shifting upwards!!  It is so weird!  We walked over trails that soaked our shoes, and on bridges than went over the rivers that came from the falls.  At one point, there was a place where the river ran straight off the cliff into another waterfall, and we saw it from the top!  I love waterfalls.  

After catching the van back to the front of the 'park', everyone split up to wander around and look at various things - we revisited the Toucan cage.  

Sadly, I was the last one out of the cage after we had watched them for a few minutes - the moment I had shut the gate behind me one of those beautiful birds dropped its lunch on me.  :P  Yuck.

Anyway, La Paz was amazing!  I loved all the different animals, and especially the beautiful waterfalls.  It is incredible all the differences each part and place of the Earth has, and how it can vary so much!!  Here are some more pictures.

beautiful flowers!!!!!!!!!!

hello parrot!
an albino squirrel!
there was a frog cage - with poisonous frogs.  Also some frog eggs just sitting on a leaf!

the oxen


Missing everyone!
                 ~Caroline Meek


  1. Caroline, Great documentary of the La Paz trip. I'm glad you did not get spit on by the Toucan. The pictures are great too! Hope you're well and I miss you guys. Love Uncle Mike

  2. Thanks! oh and sorry guys - i think the waterfall video ended up sideways :0 don't think I can change it :)

  3. That sounds like an awesome trip, Caroline! Those frog eggs looked really neat! Everything looked really neat :) Thanks for sharing your experiences!! We miss you!!

  4. Great post! I love going to La Paz, you get a real taste of Costa Rica there.