Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Raccoons in lobby of Capitan Suizo Hotel

This looks like a house cat lounging around, but it is a wild raccoon who spends its days in the woods around Tamarindo and who comes to the Capitan Suizo Hotel in the evening for the food that the hotel puts out for raccoons on the balcony of the hotel lobby.

After dinner, some of the raccoons like to lounge around the hotel lobby. Similar to hotels in Hawaii, hotels in Costa Rica are usually open-air, rather than having walls. This allows the raccoons to wander in if they feel welcome. Guests enjoy watching the raccoons, and watching the reaction of people who walk through the lobby and initially see a raccoon from their peripheral vision and assume it is a cat, then do a double-take upon realizing that it is a raccoon.

I previously posted the bottom two photos on this website on August 9 and August 10 of last year. They show how friendly the raccoons are, as one of them walked right up to take a look at me and my camera, and the other raccoon was happy to groom himself as a human family sat on the floor with the raccoon family.

We will often see raccoons walking beside us along the street as we walk from our condo in Langosta towards Tamarindo for dinner. The raccoons live in Langosta, which is a quiet residential area, and they walk to the Capitan Suizo Hotel for dinner. At times we will see raccoons and olingos walking around our condo building.

The Capitan Suizo Hotel puts food out for the raccoons in dog dishes. The hotel also has an elevated walkway draped across the street from a telephone pole so that howler monkeys can cross from the forest across the street to the trees on the hotel grounds without having to walk across the road and risking being hit by a car.

The Capital Suizo hotel was built in the 1990's by a couple from Switzerland who had fallen in love with Costa Rica. The couple tries to help the Costa Rican environment by providing a habitat for animals on the hotel grounds and refraining from the use of pesticides in the hotel gardens. They also report on the hotel website that 90% of their employees are Costa Ricans.

The employment of Costa Ricans is an issue that made news recently. The Chinese are building a new stadium for Costa Rica in the capital of San Jose, at a cost of $90 million USD. Costa Rica is grateful for the aid. The Chinese have brought 600 Chinese construction workers to work on the project and are employing only 200 Costa Ricans. Their explanation is that they have scheduled the construction crews to work in shifts around the clock and it is easier to do that with crews who are living in temporary housing on the site.

The Chinese workers will be rotated in for two months at a time. The Costa Rican newspaper interviewed them to ask how they felt about the experience. Their comments were about the same as all visitors to Costa Rica. They said that they were amazed at the natural beauty of Costa Rica and they hoped to have the opportunity to travel around the country.


brattcat said...

I wonder if this is how the cat and dog became domesticated.

Kate said...

(This is my second attempt to post here; hope it works this time!) These photos are quite remarkable and emphasize the "domestication" of these particular raccoons. My niece once had a pet raccoon which eventually had to be turned over to the zoo (in St. Paul, MN) because it became too unmanageable as a household pet. I wonder why these particular raccoons have become so tame?

Sharon said...

He seems perfectly content there and not the least bit bothered by your picture taking.

Rambling Round said...

This critter has got it made!

Julie said...

Raccoon City!

Jarart said...

Raccoons are very cute to look at but I'm not sure I would want one in my living room. Interesting information about the workers.

Jilly said...

how absolutely amazing. I've only seen raccoons in Ohio and crazy wild ones who make a dreadful racket and can actually do a lot of damage. Incredible to see tame ones or pretty much so, it seems. Great shots. Lucky you.

glenda said...

This guy seems quite at home. Very smart animals to take advantage of the hotels hospitality.

angela said...

An interesting post. Whenever I've read about raccoons it always seemed like they were not welcome so it was lovely to see your photos of the animals in the hotel. What sweet faces they have. I liked the idea of the walkway for the monkeys. If I ever come to CR I'll stay in that hotel..

Anonymous said...

Yeah for your raccoons. I had a family stay here for one summer. They were magnificent animals. I really like your photos of them.

JM said...

How cool to have a racoon as a pet! He looks like a cat or a dog on someone's house. So cute!

How wonderful your collection of old books must be! A 1791 edition?! Fantastic! I don't collect them, those volumes belonged to my grand-grand father and are now with me as well as a few others.

Lilli & Nevada said...

Now that is a fantastic photos he looks right at home

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