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THE COSTA RICAN ADVENTURE with 18 fellow travelers: We landed in San Jose and stayed in the adjacent town of Alajuela. The next day we travelled to the village of La Fortuna with stops at Baldi Hot Springs, a hike at Volcan Arenal with a nest of baby hummingbirds, a view of Lake Arenal and a gorgeous sunset. Day 3 river rafting with alligators, iguanas and an old homestead, 500 steps down (and up) to Fortuna Falls, and sunset on Volcan Arenal from the plaza in La Fortuna. Then a Boat Trip across lake Arenal to the village of Monteverde and the Monteverde Inn with a 2+ mile hiking trail, waterfalls, a slot canyon, a shy aguti and a night hike with an enthusiastic, knowledgable guide where we saw lots of animals, tangled with some poison ivy but only got a photo of an ugly scorpion. A hike into Monteverde and a tour of an Orchid Garden with a knowledgable young woman. Next day to Selvatura Park where we saw coatamundi, hummingbirds, butterflies and gorgeous rainforest plants and flowers and hiked the sky bridges high above the rainforest floor.
Then we took Ted’s Wild Ride over the mountains and across a river of crocodiles to the town of Manuel Antonio at the Pacific Coast. We went snorkeling and I saw a few starfish I had never seen. The following day we hiked right from our hotel, Manuel Antonio, and into the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. Marvin Parra was our amazing guide. He was enthusiastic and took some great photos through his scope! He is credited with the close ups of the hanging bats (look at those eyes), the land crab, the Howler monkey, the iguana, the dragonfly, another type of bat and the sloth. I found a capuchin monkey that was fun to follow on the hike down to the first and second beaches, then on to Gamelas (the Twins) Beach.
The last day in Manuel Antonio we went past the town of Quepos and the old Port area, to the mangroves and took a boat ride with another wonderful naturalist. We saw a pygmy owl, 4 kinds of herons (blue heron, spoon bill rosetta heron, bitterns, bare-throated tiger heron), lots of birds, a boa constrictor in a tree, an iguana and the oddest Capuchin monkey who’s expressions were so human! He went from grumpy, to worried to pissed off to rebellious.
Most notable on this trip? The happy Costa Rican people! They have no military, but spend their money on health care and education. Their major income producing industry is tourism and they are very environmentally conscious. They use fast growing trees as fence post, have small cars, recycle and seem to have a lot of fun with their friends and family in their beautiful country. I loved speaking Spanish. PURA VIDA!
NOTE: This was a grand experiment to minimize photographic equipment, so All PHOTOS were TAKEN WITH AN I phone. PLEASE DO NOT USE PHOTOS WITHOUT PERMISSION OR GIVING CREDIT.