If you’re on your way to Costa Rica be prepared to be dazzled by Mother Nature because she’ll command your attention, get you out of your head and for brief magical moments, she’ll wrap you in her wonder and make you a part of it all.
For instance, imagine an iridescent blue butterfly the size of an open paperback book, a monkey that howls louder than a coyote and a tree sloth so slow it grows moss. Stay tuned for more about them in future articles but for now let’s talk about the quirky Green Basilisk, nicknamed the Jesus Christ Lizard because of its ability to walk on water. Technically they run on water. But wait, add another wacky element. At several of the Manuel Antonio vacation rental homes – these lizards perform this feat in the swimming pools.
Green Basilisks have long fringed toes on their hind feet. When threatened by iguanas or other perceived predators they stand on their hind legs and run across bodies of water using their tails for balance. They spread their toes wide and run slapping their feet hard against the surface of the water, creating a pocket of air between their soles and the water, which keeps them from sinking. The trick is they have to sustain a speed of 5 feet per second, otherwise, gravity wins and they have to resort to their excellent swimming skills.
How do they do that? Having lived in Manuel Antonio for many years, I’ve seen my share of Jesus Christ Lizards. Recently, I spotted two males by our pool. The males are easy to identify by the distinctive high crests on their heads and backs. These crests serve to impress the ladies. I approached the first mail cautiously for a closer look. He quickly jumped in the pool and did his Jesus Christ thing. I had one of those “duh” moments and ran back for my video camera hoping the second male would still be there.
No worries. When I returned Jesus Christ lizard #2 stood at the edge of our pool about 20 feet beyond but before I could get any closer he jumped into the water on his hind legs and bolted for the other side. I’ll be better prepared next time. Watch the National Geographic video here.
Manuel Antonio is a perfect eco-vacation destination when you need to get away from stress, traffic and punching a time clock. There’s an abundance of costa rica vacation villas nestled into the rain forest. Their close proximity to Manuel Antonio National Park has the added benefit of frequent wildlife sightings for vacationers.
Imagine lying by the pool reading your book and witnessing a lizard walk on water! If that doesn’t make you forget your worries and laugh, it’s too late, you’re headed for a dirt nap.
I’m so grateful to be living in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica and grateful to be able to share one of its magical moments with you. Paradise Awaits!