What is it with the butterfly conservatories in Costa Rica? Butterfly based tourist attractions are nearly as common as zip line canopy tours. They seem to be
everywhere. But how do these things work? Staffed largely by indentured servant volunteers, the jardin de mariposas propagate the butterflies that they keep in large netted cages. It is a great chance to see a wide variety butterflies in a short period of time, but I’m not sure it contributes to the greater butterfly good, if that is their intent in the first place. On this trip, with Knobs along, there was little chance that we’d miss any opportunity to have a close encounter with these broad winged insects. Our SUV brakes for all casa de mariposas.
Thus, on the morning of our departure, we found ourselves at Monteverde’s Butterfly Garden. Along with the mariposas at the garden, you can see some gnarly insects. I liked the rhinoceros beetle that they kept uncaged on a stick of sugarcane. The body of the garden’s specimen beetle is around 3 inches long. Beetles of this sort can lift around 200 lbs. That’s pretty amazing, but I couldn’t help but think about what would happen if one of these large, 100 gm or so, flying bugs hits the windshield of your car as you speed down the road. The window would have to break, I’d guess, and the inside of the car there would be coated with green bug guts. Yuck.
You can take pictures at the butterfly conservatories though it is like hunting a lion in a zoo. Except for the iconic Blue Morpho. The Blue Morphos never seem to want to show their wings when they land. I guess if you look like a flashing neon light to predators in the wild, keeping your wings closed when you alight is a very good idea. But for a picture taker, these suckers are pretty frustrating. I spent a lot of time in the cages trying to get a good picture of the shy Morphos. I’ll spare you the many blurry failed attempts. Eventually, I was successful. I’ve included my best Blue Morpho picture below. In the end, this picture was surprisingly easy to get.
Jardin de Mariposas:
Butterflies and insect pictures: