Visiting the most "environmentally friendly" place in the world was a true pleasure. From December 12 though December 24, Bette, Adam and I, visited beautiful Costa Rica. Traveling once again with our favorite, Overseas Adventure Travel, we flew
Our next stop, as we drove through the Valley to Alajuela, was the Doka Estate, a 100 year old coffee plantation. We toured the plantation learning about the production of some of the worlds best coffee beans. After a great lunch we were off to the Ara Ambigua lodge outside the town of La Virgen. Settling in for the night we were lulled to sleep by the songs of birds and the gentle rain.
December 14, 2014 An early morning wake-up to join our guide, David Sanchez, for a walk around the grounds in order to see some of the natural wild life, David proved to have an excellent knowledge of the wildlife and natural fauna of the area.
Our first order of business for the day, after breakfast, was a white water rafting adventure on the Rio Sarapiqui. These are Class I and II rapids, so fairly tame in the bigger picture. The sun broke through the clouds and we enjoyed the view of many different types of birds and several "howler monkeys". After an exciting and enjoyable wet ride we had lunch at a local restaurant.
We also had the opportunity to visit with Johnny Sanchez, a local potter, who still keeps the art of clay pottery alive, continuing to use a simple wheel, hand powered to make some beautiful and creative pottery.
Evening dinner at the lodge and then back to Tirimbina Biological Reserve for an informative lecture discussing bats and their place in the natural order of the environment.
|Wing span of the bat.|
December 15, 2014: Today started back at Tirimbina Biological Reserve, for another nature walk to take in the natural beauty of the area and to see if we could spot some unique animals. We also had our first opportunity to cross a suspension bridge, over the Rio Sarapiqui.
|Bette, crossing suspension bridge.|
|Three toed sloth.|
After lunch we leave for our next lodge in Chachugua, Costa Rica. Bosques De Chachagua. http://chachaguarainforesthotel.com/activities/
December 16, 2014:
Today we are going to experience, "a day in the life" of a Costa Rican village. But, before this I wake early in the morning, 5:15 am to take a walk with our guide, David, in order to see any possible sightings of unusual birds or animals. The Bosques De Chachagua, is beautiful, however, once again we are dealing with rain and now some humidity. However, as David and I are the only early risers we venture out among the wooded trails. After walking for over an hour, we returned for a hot shower and a pleasant breakfast. Breakfast staples were rice and beans along with eggs and plantains.
|Steve Satran prepares empanadas.|
|David Diaz and our hostess Rena.|
|Iva Osburn and Melanie Satran cooking.|
|Adam gets into the act.|
Even though it was a Tuesday, Monday had been the last day of school for two months. However, a special group of children had returned to visit with us and entertain us.
|School children greet us.|
|School children demonstrating their traditional dress.|
Our next stop on this day was lunch with a local family. I had the opportunity to visit the family of the young girl hosting me at the school. We arrived at her and were welcomed by her father, mother and older sister. They lived in a simple home and provided many of the fruits and vegetables along with meat that their family needed to subsist. Mom had made a wonderful lunch for us and we shared stories, in broken Spanish and English with the family discussing our family life and life back in the U.S. We had the opportunity to meet Dad's father who was in his 80's and still doing some fine woodwork.
After a full day we settled early to bed.
December 17, 2014:
Our day today began with David giving us insight into the the very profitable pineapple business. Many of the pineapples that are grown in Costa Rica are shipped overseas. He provided us with a clear understanding of the growing process and the knowledge that there was both enhanced growth and organic growth. He also gave us some quick ways to identify a ripe and good pineapple. Bette was thrilled.
After lunch we headed to the town of La Fortuna which lies at the base of the Arenal Volcano. Surrounded by thermal spas and hot springs this was a beautiful location at the Los Lagos Resort and Spa https://www.hotelloslagos.com/. Even though the volcano itself was shrouded in clouds for our two night stay. Very early the day we left the sun appeared and the volcano peaked it head through the clouds.
Arenal’s most recent eruptive period began in 1968 with an explosion that buried three small villages and left 87 people dead. Up until July 2010, the eruptions had been constant, though much less severe—there were effusions of smoke and lava on an almost daily basis.
La Fortuna main plaza.
Originally called "El Burío", La Fortuna was founded in the mid 1930's by settlers that came from Ciudad Quesada, Grecia (canton), Alajuela and other parts of the region. In 1968, the Arenal Volcano erupted to the west, killing all in its path, including 82 people. The eruption did not touch the village of La Fortuna. This catastrophe, nonetheless, helped change the destiny of the whole region, making it one of the most visited touristic destinations of Costa Rica.
One of the interesting tours that we took was "The Source of Chocolate Tour." We learned the process of making chocolate out of the cocoa plant and seed.
During this trip we had an opportunity to see howler monkeys, Jesus Christ Lizard, Iguanas, Great White Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Bare Throated Tiger Heron. We also had lunch on our boat at the Nicaraguan Border.
Our next destination after spending another night at the Los Lagos Resort was the province of Guanacaste. Here we will be spending several days and nights at the Buena Vista Lodge. http://www.buenavistalodgecr.com/
The Buena Vista Lodge lies in the primary forest of Rincon de la Vieja National Park. http://www.anywherecostarica.com/attractions/national-park/rincon-de-la-vieja This beautifully situated lodge is beautiful and peaceful. After arriving in the later part of the day we gathered to witness one of the most beautiful sunsets that I have had the opportunity to see.
After the morning horseback ride, hot springs a great lunch we had the opportunity to go zip lining. Along with our guide and fellow travelers Adam and I suited up and enjoyed the challenge. Our guide David also challenged us to ride upside down. Adam and I took the challenge.
Our small group of travelers who took on the zip line challenge. I even went upside down. A unique experience.
Adam, upside down zip lining.
Our next day would be spent taking the overland route to the Pacific Coast to the province of Puntarenas. Once we arrived we had the opportunity to go to Agujas Beach for an outrigger canoe excursion with the friendly guides from Jacko Kayak and Canoe. http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g309271-d1234079-i35887556-Kayak_Jaco-Jaco_Province_of_Puntarenas.html
Again a wonderful experience with the paddling, snorkeling, and beautiful sunset.
Adam and Bette enjoy the warm, relaxing water.
Getting ready to snorkel.
Pacific Ocean snorkeling.
Bette and I enjoy the begining of the sunset.
Paddling back to the beach.
After a restful night at our hotel the Villa Lapas Hotel http://www.villalapas.com/ we are going to spend the day hiking and swimming in Manuel Antonio National Park. http://www.manuelantoniopark.com/mapk/default.asp
On our short hike to the beach we were able to see many different types of monkeys and wildlife, including Halloween Crab and Pit Viper snake, and a very docile deer.
A lonely vulture sits awaiting his prey.
Pit viper along the trail.
Capuchin monkeys are playful and irritating. If you are not watching your belongings they will steal them away looking for food.
A sloth hangs in the tree.
Rafael Tarrazas Restruant near Manuel Antonio National Park.
Taking a tour of the Rio Torcoles to see some more wildlife including the crocodiles.
A few random group shots from our trip.
Where is that bird?????
Preparing for the rafting excursion.
David explaining some of the wildlife.
Marjie helping to prepare the clay.
Our host lunch family.
A refreshing drink.
Learning about the wild plants.
Carol and Bob learning about the horses.
Carol, Bob, Melanie and Steve.
Ride em cowboys and cowgirls.
Craig and Claudio underwater.
Bob successfully traverses one of the lines.
Carol on her way to the end.
Steve about to land.
So where to now???
A refreshing swim in the Pacific.
Some beach yoga led by Shital.
Lunch at Rafael Tarrazas, Manuel Antonio National Park.
Our great guide David Diaz. I think we will adopt him.