Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Now I'm sad to say, I'm on my way. I won't be back for many a day- Jamaica Farewell

Today Kayla and I woke up early  so we could hike to the La Fortuna waterfall. When we got to the park, we were the first ones to enter for the day.  We made it down the countless stairs in record time and only stopped to take in the surrounding beauty. We spent a little time at the bottom looking at the falls and bird watching from the basin. After about 15 minutes we got the courage to take on the stairs again. Seriously, there were so many!

Just a small portion of the stairs.

Kayla and I then grabbed a quick cup of iced coffee and breakfast before heading back to the Tabacon Resort. We quickly packed up the room and headed to the hot springs for one last time before our long trip to San Jose.

After 2 hours of lounging around, we decided to take the scenic route around Lake Arenal towards San Jose. Our only flaw was not realizing that this route added about 2.5 hours onto our trip… We actually were only 1 hour away from Costa de Oro. This unfortunately made us arrive to San Jose well past dark . Anyone who has been to Costa Rica knows maneuvering through the capitol during the day is incredibly hard, but at night it is so much worse. Luckily, my parents were able to book us a hotel just outside the city and very close to the airport. When we arrived, I discovered it was the first hotel I had stayed at in Costa Rica 15 years earlier. It was fun to see how much it had changed.

A group of coatis we found on the drive home.

Congo monkey also know as a howler monkey

Howler monkey 
Well off to bed, I have a long day of flying tomorrow, but I can't wait to be back in the USA!!
Christmas tree at the hotel.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tree Top Flyer

Once again Kayla and I were on shuttle by 8AM and we made it back to Arenal by noon. However, while on our journey we made friends with a great couple from Ohio and we showed them around La Fortuna. After we were kindly treated to lunch, we brought them up to Tabacon Resort and we headed down to find a more reasonable priced location to see the hot springs.

Kayla and I checked out 3 different resorts before deciding to return once again to Tabacon and see what kind of price we could get. We ended up securing a room for another fabulous price and headed out to Ecoglide to do some ziplining. I had a blast seeing the volcano, while flying through the canopy and it was a blast talking with the same group of guides that had taken my family out just 2 months earlier.
Kayla enjoying the zipline

Me, getting ready to jump/ fall on the Tarzan swing.
Once we had finished our treetop flying, we headed to a great steak place and grabbed some food to go and headed back to our luxury hotel. We ate our meal ever so romantically since we were wearing the" His and Hers "matching bathrobes and slippers provided by the hotel. Then finally we made it to the hot springs.

We enjoyed the hot water from many different pools and only called it quits when our feet became too prune-y to walk. We returned to the hotel to get some beauty sleep before our long day of waterfall hiking, hot spring enjoying before  driving back to San Jose.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Barefoot Children in the Rain

View of Arenal from our hotel room.

By 8AM Kayla and I had packed a small bag of stuff to bring to Monteverde with us and left the rest of our stuff packed safely in our car. We then climbed into the shuttle van and made our way towards the boat launch.  It took us just under an hour to cross Lake Arenal, but the boat trip was very mellow and we saw great views of the Arenal Volcano.

Volcano from the boat

When we finally crossed the lake, we were surprised to find out that we had another hour and a half of driving ahead of us. Obviously, we didn't do our research. Upon arriving to the town, we were dropped off at the sunset hotel.

A quick glimpse of Nicoya peninsula from the shuttle.
We set up camp and headed straight to downtown. Kayla and I ended up spending the afternoon wandering through shops and making plans of our day. We decided to go to the serpentarium at sunset because Kayla's goal of the trip was to see a fer- de- lance snake. While there, we saw both an adult  and a baby fer- de- lance and I even held a dead one. I was amazed to learn that this snake gives live birth to an average of 25 snakes. We also saw a variety of pit vipers, coral snakes and some venomous snakes. We learned a lot about the local snake species and I now know they are scarier than I thought.
Fer- de- lance

Coral Snake

Box turtle

Holding a large fer- de- lance

Brown basilisk lizard

Eye-lash viper

We rounded our trip out by going on a tour. During the tour, we were lucky enough to see a kinkajous (which looks like a lemur), cool spiders, a sleeping rainbow toucan and 2 pit vipers. The tour was one of my highlights of the whole trip. Our guide was so knowledgeable, I could have gone on multiple more tours and not gotten bored. I have a new found passion for the Costa Rican rain forest.

Green pit viper

Another pit viper

We got back to the hotel just before midnight and we once again were going to need to be up early because we have a early boat trip back.

No Bird Flies by my Window- Lone Palm

Today we were up at the crack of dawn to check out some birds in the Tenorio National park. We met our guide at 6:00 AM in the lobby of the hotel and we were presently surprised to see that our hotel had packed us breakfast.
A few of the birds we saw on the way to park.
As we walked the short kilometer to the park's entrance our guide pointed out over 20 different bird species including, black mandabled toucans, great kiskadee, Red-footed honeycreeper, and lots of tanagers including the red rumped tanager which was my favorite.

Sounds of the forest

When we reached the national park the forest became lush and it was amazing to just stand silently listening to the undisturbed nature. We walked through both primary and secondary rain forest to get to the first of the parks main attractions, the waterfall. We walked down over 300 steps and which each step, I kept thinking about the long hike back up the stairs. However, when we reached the bottom, I was so amazed by the beauty the journey up seemed worth it.

At the top of the stairs, needed a little break and ate our fresh fruit. After our quick break, we headed towards the Blue Lagoon. While Kayla and I were checking out the water, our guide was looking across at the lime green leaves. Then the guide asked for my camera which confused Kayla and me but I handed it over. He snapped a few pictures of the green leaves before handing it back zoomed in on one of the leaves. I looked at the picture and asked the guide what he was trying to show me. Then he pointed out the eye of the Basilisk lizard also know as the Jesus Christ lizard because of its ability to walk on water.  It was incredible that he could have found it.

Can you find the lizard?
Answer at the bottom of the post.

After we had sufficiently checked out the lizard, we continued up to the Miravilla to see the three local volcano peaks. Our guide warned us that it had been cloudy since October so we probably won't have the opportunity to see it. However, our guide was surprised to see a perfect panoramic view of not just one but all three peaks. We did our best attempt at a panoramic shot of the peaks and carried on with our hike.
The three peaks: Tenorio 1, Tenorio 2 and Monteverde

Then we made our way across two suspension bridges to the most important part of the tour, the chemical change. The color present in Rio Celeste is due to a chemical reaction between 2 clear rivers and when they join together the color is instantly changed to the brilliant aqua marine that makes Rio Celeste a major attraction.

Two clear rivers joining to make the brilliant blue

We concluded our 8 Km hike by seeing two motmots. When we arrived back to the hotel at 10:30, we grabbed a small breakfast before they cleaned up and quickly packed our room. We were on the road to Arenal by noon.
Motmots in the tree.
When we got to Arenal, we drove around looking for the best deal before deciding to stay in the town of La Fortuna. We grabbed dinner at a local Spanish place where the owners were from a town near somewhat close to Madrid. The owner were so nice to us and the food was great. We were even brought a huge pitcher of sangria which Kayla and I barely put a dent in it. We made a quick pass though town for some shopping before calling it a night. In the morning we are going to take a boat to the small Quaker town of Monteverde and we will spend either one or two nights before heading back for another day in Arenal. 


Octopus soup, Spanish tortilla and steak sandwich
Here is our lizard friend