Monday, February 25, 2013

Costa Rica Day 16 and back in Nashville

Thursday February 21

Obviously I was a little behind with my blogging ... mainly because of the lack of internet at the end. But when I was back and was talking about the trip, I wanted to show a picture. I realized that I didn't know which blog I needed to open. So, here is a list which might help:

Day 1 = traveling to San Jose

Day 2 = Teatre Nacional in San Jose, Coffee Finca, Hotel Quinta Sarapiqui

Day 3 = white water rafting, bats

Day 4 = Archaeological Park / Nature Trail

Day 5 = Day in the life ...

Day 6 = Don Juan Organic Finca, Hotel Kokoro in La Fortuna

Day 7 = Rio Frio, Potter

Day 8 = Lake Arenal, Arrive Hotel Buena Vista

Day 9 = Zipline, Horseback

Day 10 = Outrigger canoe

Day 11 = Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio / Pacific Ocean Beach

Day 12 = Rio Tarcoles (crocodile river), wood factory, back to San Jose

Day 13 = Bus to Carribean side, boat to Tortuguero

Day 14 = Tortuguero

Day 15 = travel back to San Jose

Aaahhh, this was another wonderful trip. We like OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel) because the groups are small. We were 15 plus the trip leader and the bus driver. The leader and driver were very knowledgeable, fun to be with and always helpful. We lucked out with our travel companions. All were about our age. Barbara admitted to us that this was her 17th trip with OAT and that she was 82. I am hoping very much that I will be fit like her when I am her age. We all had a lot of fun with each other and I hope that we will stay in touch.

Costa Rica is a great country. People are friendly and helpful. Landscape is interesting from the beaches to the mountains. Nature is beautiful and plentiful. We liked the food. Tasty. And no worries because we could eat even the salad and drink the water. Actually, I think our diet was probably healthier then at home.

For me the trip was special because I went out of my comfort zone ... white water  rafting ... zip lines. I have to read my blogs and dwell in memories.

* * * * *
The official OAT itinerary of today:
Day 16 - post-trip day 4
After breakfast at our hotel, transfer to the airport for your flight home.

* * * * *

We had plenty of time in the morning since we didn't need to leave the hotel in San Jose before 11am. We had to say good-bye to all the others the evening before but Sallie and Steve were going to be on the same flight to Miami so we could take the same transport to the airport. James and I were automatically upgraded for the second flight because of his frequent flyer status but not for the first because the flight was full. But we may use the clubs. Unfortunately San Jose Airport didn't have one.
Check-in went fine but security was very thorough. I lost may little scissors and Sally lost her good knitting needles. The four of us found a restaurant and had a little light lunch. When we were in Miami and finally through immigration and had our luggage, Sallie and Steve had to make a mad dash to catch their next flight. The luggage was delayed for almost one hour due to "malfunction of the unloading system" whatever that means.
James and I had plenty of time and found a club. I so enjoy the remnant of James' travels = sitting comfy when waiting, having a glass of wine and some nibbles ...

Finally we reached Nashville around 22:30 and Helen was waiting for us. Since it was so late without William of course.

Friday February 22
But the next day they came over for lunch. James' and my heart leaped when William's face lit up when he saw us.

He is a little young for this puzzle we found but he does like puzzles.
 Not so easy. Practice, practice.
And he liked the froggy.

Video here!
Since I didn't feel like cooking, guess were we went to dinner? We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant close to the townhouse. Helen and William came too. 
William loves his chips and salsa. He loves dipping. Slightly spicy but he didn't even flinch.
We had several great days with Helen, Ben and William. Our last evening yesterday. We took turns being a horsy.

See you soon again!

Costa Rica Day 15

Wednesday February 20

We woke up early because it was raining very hard on the roof. We were very happy that we had gone up to see the sunrise the morning before. Those intentions were nixed today.

Time to pack again. But since we were limited with the luggage it is easy to just put the few things into the backpack. 

Breakfast. The hard rain had let up and there were also plenty of umbrellas standing around to borrow.
At least this bug is not as large as the 'hercules'.  I didn't freak out and really enjoyed 'almost like camping'.
The other groups didn't seem to have gotten the 'luggage limit 25 lb memo' but it was piled high in some seats. James and I set in the first seats after that. Once in a while it rains a bit but since it is warm I don't mind getting some sprinkles on me. Somehow it is fitting for our last day.This was the first real rain we had seen on the whole trip.

Froggy is all excited about going on his trip to William now.
 The sign to the lodge. Bye-bye.
Back in the bus. First we drive along the banana plantations again and through a long ficus alley which was almost like a natural tunnel. Ficus are easy to grow here and are often used as a natural fence.

Love the country side.

The giant poro tree has beautiful orange blossoms.
A shame that the pictures don't really capture the beauty. 
And then we have to stop and all get out. The best sighting of sloth yet. Here one is in the middle and almost at the top of the picture.
We saw a whole group.
And then we have lunch in the same place we had the second breakfast when we were driving to Tortuguero.

There was time to have a good look in the butterfly house this time. There was a caretaker who knew how to handle them and showed a lot to us.
We were hoping we could see some come out of the cocoon but were not lucky.

Two morpho butterflies (bright blue on the upper side) taking care of procreation. 
I forgot into what this caterpillar turns. But he had a cute face.

Back in San Jose. We checked into our room, got our luggage out of storage and decided we needed a walk. We wanted to go to the supermarket but never found it. But seems we can't get away from Colonel Sanders. James is a Kentucky Colonel too.
We did find enough snack to buy in two places, a 24/7 and something like an Aldi. We really didn't feel like having dinner in a restaurant. We had an excellent room with a little kitchenette. Just perfect.

* * * * *
The official OAT itinerary of today:
Day 15 - post-trip day 3
Following breakfast this morning, we enjoy a leisurely canal boat ride to Cano Blanco. There we begin our overland transfer to San Jose, stopping en route for an included lunch in a local restaurant. We arrive in Costa Rica's capital this afternoon, and have the evening at leisure. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Costa Rica Day 14

Tuesday February 19

Since we didn't want to have the lights on in the room (only screens, no glass, but plenty of cracks in the walls and under the door) we went to bed early and woke up early too. There were curtains but we didn't draw them because we thought it would be more like sleeping outdoors. It was quite nice (for a city girl like me).

It seemed light outside but we were pretty sure that the sun had not risen yet so we went to the beach.
It took a while but then we saw the first rays.

Getting lovelier by the second.

Click here if you have patience, ha-ha.

Afterwards, in search for a cuppa-coffee, the spider monkey monkeyed around. Gosh, he is so lucky. How often did I wish I had another hand when I was working on a project. See his tail?
He came down pretty far and then up again.
And in the process I could admire this gorgeous orchid.
We were strolling around and one of the staff people took me to look at this. A 'Hercules beetle' he had found the evening before. I was surprised it was still there. And even more surprised when I wanted to show it to somebody else later and it was still there. I got suspicious whether it was even alive ... but somebody touched it and it moved a little.
Ha-ha, the Costa Rican chia pet?

The way to our room.
Today's towel art.

The dock.
A turtle on the other side ... on the way to borrow a canoe. Nestor and Margo take a kayak each. James' knees prefer the canoe.
Gliding along was incredible.

This will give you a little taste.

We went all the way to the ocean.

Getting in and out of the boat got the shoes wet of course. I rinsed mine and put them out to dry ... but I had to put them on still wet though.
Waiting for the others there was no shortage of things to see. Can you see the hummingbird on the left side of the flower in the middle?
It is flying away and in the very left top of the picture.
Everybody goes on a guided boatride. Soon we see an emerald basilisk. The males are green, the females brown. I so wanted to see one walk on water (hence the name: Jesus lizard)

James tries to help.

But you can see it here.
A little further our guide spots a nest of the long-tailed hermit (hummingbird). It is smack in the middle of this photo. He has taken a bit of a leaf and some web from a spider. I saw it fly out of it just when we arrived.

More info here
It took me forever to find the two whip-poor-will birds on this thick branch even when the guide and Nestor tried to point them out. Nature / camouflage is just so amazing. One is almost laying just right of the middle of the picture on the thick branch.
More info here  but you have to scroll down some.

And more of the long-nosed bats. Camouflage again!

And this is why I am so amazed about the guides. This is about the view of the eye ... no binoculars or camera zoom. Do you see the heron?

Zoom! Yellow-crowned night-heron!
I wasn't fast enough to take a picture of the bush but this is the flower. Nestor called it the "romantic flower".  Watch this video!

Love that tree!
Oh, and this one. There was a lot of red in it ... and when you were right underneath it (in the boat) it was so majestic ... huge.

Another turtle. Our guide caught it for a moment.
He told us how to know male or female. But I am saturated with so much, I can't remember.

A sloth!
A caiman!

A garfish!
Wow, time to get back.

* * * * *
The official OAT itinerary of today:
Day 14 - post-trip day 2
Both natural and man-made canals are the primary means of transportation in Tortuguero. This morning, we'll cruise along this restricted network in search of such local denizens as crocodiles, iguanas, and the rare manatee.
We'll return to the lodge for lunch, then we can choose between a walk along the lodge's trail to observe the region's diverse flora and fauna - perhaps glimpsing the sloths, monkeys, Green Macaws, and toucans that all this protected are home - or another boat or canoe rie along a different series of Tortuguero's canals.
Following our afternoon nature-viewing activities, we'll regroup to have dinner together at our lodge.