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Monkeys and whales; Oh my!
Costa Rica Trip: Island Time

Horseback riding on the beachHorseback riding on the beach (Valerie Sloan)
So settling into the dark bungalow the first evening, making myself as comfortable as possible on a thin mattress with a mosquito net surround. The heat and humidity did not wane. I didn't expect to be sweatier at night than I was in the day.

Luckily, my ipod served double-duty as a bed flashlight and sound machine. The sound of the waves outside were intense and soothing. The only thing I could get to synchronize was 'chant' by the Benedictine Monks.

Our day actually begins around 2 or 2:30 am when the rain starts. Now it's supposed to be the dry season, but it was refreshing almost to hear the sound of rain on the tin roof. By 3pm it was torrential and the howler monkeys were barking loudly. At 3:15, we all stirred and one by one we got up to go out and sit on our porch. The silence and joy of sitting in a canvas slingback pearing out into the moonlit darkness of the strom was absolutely incredible!! Couldn't have ordered it better.

We all finally got back to bed once the rain simmered down. The sun woke us up again around 6:30. The one who went to get coffee missed the white faced monkeys swarming our bungalow. From the top of a nearby 'cabin' they jumped into the trees by us, and came closer. A sudden thud and a turn to the left to see one peaking over the side. Guess they were hungry for breakfast!

7am was time for a scrumptious breakfast buffet of juevos, frutas, y gallo pinto. I don't eat bread but it was there for the taking. Maybe even pancakes.

Another trek down to the beach to board a boat. Our guide for the day was Carlos, a freelancer who had once spent much time as the lead guide for Marenco. The new lead guide was assigned to the bigger group. But Carlos was our guy, along with the french couple and their son we were off to explore Corcovado National Park on foot. After a 30 minute boat ride, we arrived. The morning was spent walking through part of the park, first the beach then into the woods. We were able to spot the native wildlife from monkeys, raccoon-like mammals, birds, and even the tiniest of hermit crabs.

Took a break near a small creek where we were able to enjoy fresh coconut. Yum. Back into the woods. I learned so much from Carlos, about the flora and fauna. So interesting. Then to the lunch spot.

After lunch we took a second short hike, this one a little bit more energetic up and down a hill via a very narrow path. The final destination a large pool of cold water beneath a broad waterfall. Not a tall huge stream of a waterfall but one that poured over rocks maybe 6-8ft difference. This was fun because there was an area to sit in the rocks and get a virtual massage. Super fun.

On the way back we finally got to capture some Pappagallos on digital. Another boat ride back to the lodge. After cleaning up from our day, I took advantage of the public dining area again to sit quietly and read.

When all of a sudden someone cried - "look whales'. And low and behold out in the ocean there indeed was a group of humpbacks. Lucky for the bigger group as their boat was just coming back at the same time so we could see them out in the water. Amazing!

So great to just congregate with others, no electricity, no cell phones, no computers. Looking at the birds and whales with our naked eyes and the binoculars there for us.

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