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Costa Rica through the Mist
Costa Rica was a country of beauty and adventure and surprises.
Bonus Side Trip
The airplane day is never interesting if things go according to plan ("We and our luggage arrived on time")! It didn't. Thanks to San Jose being fogged in we diverted to Panama so we could land while we had fuel. So although we never left the tarmac we can add Panama to our life list of countries visited. The endless line of ship …
Bananas Have Fun Too
We were still checking in to Hotel Bergerac at 3 AM (bothering a light sleeper on the second floor who got dressed to come down and inform us that it was late) but at least didn't have to get up until 5 AM. The van left for the Caribbean coast under blue skies, which we would eventually be grateful to have had. The road along the rugged slopes of …
Paddle Closer to the Caiman so I can take a Picture
Another early day with the 5:30 AM start to the boat tour back in the canals. A warm dry morning along the tannin-stained waters gave a chance to see the birds and animals up close. I began a list of bird species I'm still trying to reconcile with the photos of same. It includes tiger herons, night herons, pale-billed woodpecker and …
Rain? What Rain?
During the night the sound of a heavy downpour persisted. I naively thought "Great! It can't rain this hard for too many hours without a break, so it will be done by morning." O Contrare (pardon my not- quite French.) Our departure was delayed a few hours because the van coming from San Jose was stopped by a mud slide in the mountains. …
Hey Guys! There's Lava!
A sunny morning greeted us along with our guide, Mario. Our first stop was at a coffee plantation where we learned about one of Costa Rica's most important exports and began to become coffee snobs ("avoid the 1820--it's swill; the Tarrazu is the best.") Ask me about how they process it, if you dare. It was early enough in the day to …
Looking for Snakes in the Dark On Purpose
Our umbrellas got a lot of use this morning but the rain didn't stop us. After watching colorful birds and the resident coati during breakfast our hike took us to views of some of the lava flows from earlier Arenal eruptions. Then we opted for the Hanging Bridges hike nearby. More birds and lush vegetation.
Our free afternoon gave us a …
Birds Out the Wazoo
Before leaving Arenal Lodge we got a good look at their resident mascot, a wild oncilla. This is a wild cat that looks like a small leopard. It was an orphan and spent the first part of its life with a family. It is now encouraged to live wild but it likes to hang around the lodge. It would be rare to see this species otherwise.
This was …
Zip lines have become popular in a lot of places but our zip line tour here was special. It was a fun way to experience the cloud forest canopy. In addition to about a dozen zip lines there also was an Indiana Jones-like suspension bridge (without the Nazis) a short rappel and a rope Tarzan swing. It was a bit hard to make yourself step off the …
Rocks and Crocs
This was mostly a travel day. It was a 5 hour drive to our next destination, Manuel Antonio, on the Pacific coast. Along a rocky dirt road we continued to have views all the way to the Gulf of Nicoya. There were stops for road construction along the way. Mario commented that these projects have been going on for decades (possibly a slight …
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