Category ‘01.18 – Costa Rica’
After a full day of traveling, Ben and I are back home safe and sound. Our trip was so much fun, but as always, it’s nice to be home.
Things I like about coming home:
- Familiar foods – Ben and I had hamburgers with fries and REAL ketchup in the LAX airport, yum. Today we’re looking forward to hitting Quizno’s.
- Sleeping in our own bed
- Catching up on my favorite TV shows (Chuck, Best Week Ever, Project Runway, etc). Plus – LOST starts next week!
- Thinking about where to take our next trip
Things I dislike about coming home:
- Cold weather!
- Laundry and other chores
- Back to work and normal life
On Wednesday we hiked to La Fortuna Waterfall. It was very pretty and we had fun climbing around on the rocks and trying not to die (or get soaked). Here’s some photos (we’re in some of these, click on them to see the bigger size).
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the other side of the volcano – driving around on random dirt roads, etc. We found a hotel that has excellent views of the Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal, so we got a drink and hung out on their balcony for a while. It’s fun to have a car and just explore a place like Costa Rica. We were never sure where we were going or what we’d find, and sometimes that’s when you find the most interesting things!
On Thursday we rented mountain bikes and biked on dirt roads amidst local houses and farms. We were given a map (if you can call it that), with a line on it that was supposed to lead us to a river. We took lots of turns and never did find the river. But it was still pretty and interesting to see how the locals live. We didn’t many pictures, but here’s a good one of Ben.
Later we went to Arenal Volcano National Park, and did a hike near the volcano. The path led us to a large lava rock field from an eruption in 1992. During the hike, we could hear the volcano rumbling and large boulders tumbling down the mountain. Don’t worry, this is always happening. Still, it was a little creepy, and you can’t help but wonder what would happen if there was a large eruption. The signs saying “Enter at your own risk” don’t help either. Here’s some pictures from the hike.
This is what the forests look like here – very green and lush. And here’s Ben swingng on one of the hanging vines.
We saw Tucans!
We’re in San Jose now, and our flight leaves tomorrow. It’s been a really fun trip and we love Costa Rica – I think we’ll have to come back some day.
Thanks for reading!
Yesterday (Monday) we made our way over more rough roads and through more beautiful scenery, to the town of La Fortuna. This area is famous for the Arenal Volcano, which is an active volcano. So far it’s been mostly cloudy around the peak, so we haven’t seen much. But hopefully one night we’re here it will be clear and we can see it spewing red lava.
Here’s some photos from the drive here. The country side was really pretty. We also drove around Lake Arenal, which is popular for wind surfing. Now we know why – it was VERY windy all around the lake.
While driving, we found a bunch of cars stopped to look at these small racoon-like animals. We’re not sure what they’re called, but they were pretty cute and let us get up close to take photos.
Here’s some photos of the volcano and our awesome hotel. The hotel has beautiful landscaping, lots of humming birds, and an amazing view of the volcano from our cabin porch. Also, the maid created an elephant out of our towels today!
Have you ever tried to take a picture of a humming bird? It’s really difficult! The first picture I managed to catch one sitting still, the send is the result of lots of out-of-focus shots.
Today we took a really fun “Canyoning” tour. We hiked and repelled through a small canyon in the jungle. The repells were over waterfalls, two of them were pretty big. We had a blast, and even managed to keep our camera dry.
As you can see, we’re having a great time here. The weather and scenery have been beautiful. The next two days we’re hoping to get in some mountain biking, a hot springs visit, hiking and sightseeing, and hopefully we’ll get to see the lava at night.
We made it! We flew into Costa Rica via Los Angeles, getting here at 6:20 AM on Saturday. Here’s a picture I snapped while pulling into the gate in San Jose, CR.
For some reason I thought we’d get here rested and ready to start the adventure. But the 5 1/2 hour overnight flight didn’t quite do it – we were tired. Still, we had a rental car waiting, and a 4-hour drive to our first destination: Santa Elena, home to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. This is a small town in the mountains where moisture from the pacific rises and forms constant clouds over the forests. This moisture creates a unique forest with thousands of plants and animals that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. So, we headed out in our small SUV (Daihatsu Terios) Manual 4×4. About half way, we had to turn off of the highway, and start up towards the mountains. The roads turned to very rough dirt/gravel for about 25 miles. The views were great, but it was a bumpy ride. Here’s some photos from the trip:
The rest of Saturday we pretty much chilled out, slept, went out to eat, and did a little shopping.
Sunday we went on a Sky Trek zipline adventure, which was a blast! It consisted of being harnessed and hooked onto cables, then zipping across the jungle. There were 11 cables total and it took about 2 hours. Here’s some photos.
After the zipline, we went to the Monteverde Cloud Forest and spent about 2 hours hiking around. Luckily, we happened upon a small tour group, just as the guide had found a beautiful blue/green bird with a red chest. He let us take a look through his scope. It turns out this was a Quetzal, which is a rare bird that people come to see in Monteverde. On the hike we also saw a monkey up in the trees. Other than that it was uneventful – although the forest itself is pretty. Here’s a couple photos of the cloud forest:
Later, we took a night tour of a different cloud forest reserve (called the Children’s Eternal Rain Forest). We were in a group of 8 plus a guide, given flashlights, and basically hiked around in the dark searching for nocturnal animals. We spent most of the time looking for sloths up in the trees, but what we saw were 3 tarantulas, a couple tiny frogs, tons and tons of sleeping birds (who tuck their head under their wings, and puff up their bodies), a long line of army ants (whom Ben tried to confuse by blocking their path), and some large rodents that I can’t remember the name of. The whole thing was pretty fun, the forest is very noisy at night with beetles, frogs, and other insects. Here’s two contrasting photos – one is the sunset we saw before the tour, the other is of one of the orange-kneed tarantulas (yes, I was scared).
Today we’re heading to La Fortuna, home of the active volcano Arenal. We’ll be spending 4 nights here, and plan to do some fun things like biking, repelling down waterfalls, visiting hot springs, etc. We have wi-fi there so stay tuned for more photos!