San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arenal Report

Peluche, the orphan sloth brought a couple of months ago to La Reserva Forest Reserve, has not only thrived but also paid a visit to his original shelter from the more distant accommodations Roberta Ward and Dan Smiley have made for him. After he appeared to be thriving, they formed a nice path through the forest to a tall tree with a comfortable nesting nook and therein put his sheepskin, his surrogate mother. Recently, Peluche returned to the shelter near Roberta and Dan’s house and enjoyed a feast of flowers, hard-boiled eggs and yos leaves.

Roberta and Dan are soon to receive a new orphaned and injured sloth that Dr. Ana Cristina Rojas (8824-7576) of Tilarán’s El Colono Veterinaria has been caring for. The young sloth was brought to her with burnt feet. Dr. Ana has doctored the feet sufficiently to introduce her patient to the trees in the Parque Central in the evening, certainly a captivating sight for the park’s human denizens. Now the creature’s feet appear well enough healed (and toed) for Dr. Ana to try transferring the sloth to Roberta and Dan’s informal sloth rescue center.

Except for the occasional mishap, humans have found life at LakeArenal paradisiacal lately. The temperature stands at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit around 8 a.m. and will rise to 80 by midday, the balmy air modified by gentle breezes. When the temperatures descend again to the 70s in the afternoon, it’s wonderful to sit on the deck and watch the sunset paint and repaint the variety of evening clouds as they float by. As happened yesterday, you may also be entertained by a troop of howler monkeys hanging out among the nearby indigenous trees, feasting on the variety of leaves, flowers and small exotic fruits.

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) was set to host a meeting recently in Tronadora to inform and discuss ideas about future increased use of the lake, as more floating docks, moorage buoys and boats appear with or without ICE’s formal approval. One person likely to be up to date pretty soon is Jonny Turcotte, who offers water-skiing and low-priced scenic trips as far as the dam and volcano. His number is 8856-3618 and his Web site is Another person keeping a close eye on these developments is Fred Cole ( A further source of this and other information is the LakeArenal forum at

–Alex Murray


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