Snapshots and Thoughts of Costa Rica

Just thought I’d share some photos and thoughts from Christine and my trip to Costa Rica.

Christine and I went to Costa Rica the week of January 23rd to January 30th. What’s so cool about the internet is you can share without forcing people to watch. I remember as a kid, my parents had friends (farmer couple) who traveled every January and then came back and invited my parents to see the many slides they took. My parents always felt captive. Myself, I was fascinated and always looked forward to it.

We flew direct from Chicago on United to Liberia Airport. It’s a 5 hour flight. Liberia Airport is an open air concrete structure with a steel corrugated roof. Best of all, 94 dry degrees!

Liberia Airport Terminal
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Serendipity Moment 1
On the flight to Costa Rica: In Christine’s row sat a Christine, a Christopher and a Christine.

Serendipity Moment 2
On our small bus/van to our hotel in the Arenal region sat from front to back: a Daniel, a Danielle and a Dan.

Lake Arenal
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On our way to Arenal Nayara Hotel. This is a manmade lake that uses water power to power 40% of the electricity of Costa Rica.

Shots from the Arenal Nayara Hotel
Our back balcony view from our room at the Arenal Nayara
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Arenal Volcano was clouded out in this shot

Nice Flowers
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Birds around our room at the Nayara
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These two guys kicked this guy out below
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The Ever Present Arenal Volcano
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People will spend weeks and never see the Arenal Volcano. We were lucky and saw it multiple times. This shot is from the hotel grounds.

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Christine relaxing after our 3 hour journey from the airport to the hotel on a road that resembles a constantly curving roller coaster.

I never had this at a hotel before. Towel art. When we would come back later in the day this is what we would find.
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La Fortuna

La Fortuna is a small town about 3.5 miles southeast of the Arenal Volcano. It has grown quite a bit from a sleepy farm town to somewhat of a tourist town.
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Serendipity Moment 3
We were having dinner at Don Ruffino’s, an open restaurant bar in La Fortuna. A couple from Detroit came in for dinner. They were married last August and were on their delayed honeymoon. Later in walked a couple we had met earlier from Chicago, also married in August and.... on their delayed honeymoon.

La Fortuna townscapes

Across from Don Ruffino’s while having an Imperial Beer
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Galeria
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Gift Shop
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Gift Shop Interior 1
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Gift Shop Interior 2
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An American working on her spanish and art
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This is Hannah from Bellevue Washington. She is here to help teach the Ticos about better animal treatment. Because most Ticos aren’t really flush with cash, pets are not looked upon as they do in the States.

There are a lot of dogs wandering around. They’re quite adept at moving through the streets. The dogs, as a whole, are very friendly and grateful for attention.
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This guy received some treats from Christine. DSC_0227_2
How can you not want to take him home?

The locals gather around the square at night for socializing
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A dinner benefit for the church
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Zip Lining

We did the zip lines on Monday. These are the Sky Trek zip lines.
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Here’s a discription from the website:
The tour includes 8 cross-sectional cables that together have a total length of 1.7 miles with distances from 100 to 2460 feet, and with a maximum height of 660 feet, which exceed the treetops providing a panoramic view of the Arenal volcano and lake.

And here’s a sample Youtube video.

This is number 7. Almost half a mile long and reaching speeds of 45 mph. Exhilarating!

Hanging Bridges Tour

The attraction was Arenal Hanging Bridges, a 620-acre nature preserve that features a 2-mile hike through old-growth rainforest traversing a series of bridges, tunnels and trails. The bridges include eight fixed bridges, ranging in length between 26 and 62 feet, and six suspension bridges between 157 and 322 feet long. There is a three hour hike available with a guide that points out different ways the rainforest interacts between animal and plant species.

We had a guide, Silvia, just for the two of us for the Hanging Bridge Tour.

Here is Silvia with Christine.
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Silvia was really informed and a delight to hike with.

Eyelash Pit-Viper
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Here’s the ‘Law of Allowing’ in action..or not action. An Eyelash Pitviper coils around the branch and devours it’s prey as it approaches. Hardly ever moving. It can go weeks, just letting a bird or lizard getting too close (in the prey’s point of view) and then have lunch. Not patience mind you, just allowing.

Leaf Cutter Ants
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One Consciousness
Leaf Cutter Ants can be seen in large trails, as if parading, toting their cargo, cut leaf bits. The mature ant colony can size up to seven million ants. Silvia told us that the ants take down 70% of the forest. That’s no problem as the forest grows back so quickly.

Each ant has its duty with no job in particularly looking like fun. The queen can grow up to two inches long and live for 20 years. The queen rarely is ever outside. As we were looking at the ants, I turned to Silvia and said “its one consciousness isn’t it?”. Sivia replied “exactly”.

A Gecko
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Cropped Closer
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You can see here the leaves the Leaf Cutting Ants took away.

Tiny Mushrooms
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Traipsing Across a Hanging Bridge
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A Waterfall
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We hiked down to the bottom of this waterfall.

Cool Looking Orange Mushrooms
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The Volcano is Always in the Background
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The Arenal Volcano is Costa Rico’s most active volcano. It was dormant for hundreds of years and exhibited a single crater. In 1968 it erupted and destroyed the town of Tabacón.

While we were hiking there was the sound of huge thunder. It was the volcano erupting. Silvia told us it is very rare to hear the volcano that loud.

Silvia added that people come for weeks and sometimes never get a clear view of the volcano.

Moments later...
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We got a great view.

Later, back at our hotel
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Time for the Beach

Wednesday Four Hour Trek to Guanacaste and the Papagayu Gulf

This was the relaxing part of our trip. No trekking, two days sitting on the beach.

View From Our Room
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The Beach
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Serendipity Moment 4
Sitting on the beach next to a couple from Iowa. They were from Washington, Iowa and owned a farm. As we were talking, come to find that the wife had graduated from the University of Iowa, the same year as I did, in the exact same major.

Bird Outside Our Room
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Letting us know, every morning around 5 AM, that it was time to get up.

Native Costa Rican ‘Coons on our Patio at Night Looking For Food
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Of course Christine obliges.

And if That Isn’t Enough
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The Coates, related to the raccoons,, come in the morning. The word was out!

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Coco Beach

Coco Beach is about 4 miles south of our hotel on the Papagayo Gulf.
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It’s a small beach town with people of seemingly limited income living right next door to opulence.

Coco Beach Street Scene
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Another Street Scene
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Time to Get A Drink
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Or Get a Taco
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It Was Festival Time
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Back For a Drink at The Lizard Lounge
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Street Vendor
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Last Night For Dinner
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At the Papagayo Seafood Grill.

Then it was Saturday to the airport
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