Friday, March 26, 2010

Costa Rica- Cocatito Beach

After the easy walk to "downtown" Drake Bay, we decided to walk the other way to Cocatito Beach. The sign said 35 minutes. Unfortunately, the sign did not mention it was an uphill climb and the elevation was so steep that along the way they had added steps and a railing to help people climb. Since I am so out of shape, I had to stop several times to catch my breath, wondering if I would ever make it. One hour later, we arrive at a secluded Pacific Coast beach as lovely as any I have seen. Trees provide shade from the hot tropical sun. Several other people come trickling by the path. some stay a while; some move on. When we leave and I dread the walk back, I find it takes 35 minutes to return to the hotel where a delightful fruit drink quenches my thirst and the difficult trek to get to the beach is a forgotten chore of a glorious day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Costa Rica- Caño Island

Caño Island is situated just 12 nautical miles from Aguila de Osa Inn, and can be seen just minutes after leaving the protected cove of the hotel. The boat ride to the Park entrance takes approximately 45 minutes, during which time we were lucky enough to see dolphins frolicking in the ocean. Norman snorkeled and I sat on the beautiful beach. The Pacific Ocean is warm there. There was plenty of shade to protect us from the hot sun.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Costa Rica- Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay

We had to take off our shoes and wade to a motor boat which then took us to our hotel which could only be reached by boat, after our taking a 15-seater plane to a small landing strip and a brief jeep ride to the bay. Our hotel, the Aguila de Osa Inn on the left side of the bay was unreachable by car. We could, however, walk on the path 30 minutes to the town, which we did on several occasions to discover the elementary school, a middle school, as well as a lovely view of the bay and several buildings- one a bar and some outdoor stores, pictured above. After all, I am a city girl!! I love downtown!

The path ran in front of the hotel and went for about 6 miles. It followed the bay and went to several beaches (more later) and passed several hotels. We saw many people walking by. People who worked in the hotels used the path to get to work. Tourists used the path to go from place to place. It was a well beaten path. There were no cars in the area.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Costa Rica- Cano Negro

After a two hour bumpy ride from our hotel, we arrive in Los Chiles, a culturally mixed village that sits only 4 kilometers from the Nicaraguan border. Here the boat awaited our river adventure into the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge. We went on a 4 hour floating safari on the River Frio through tropical rain forest, pastures and marsh.

We were there during the dry season and saw 100's of birds of many species, including cormorant, spoonbill and jabirus, We saw howler and spider monkeys, as well as iguana, caiman, crocodile, and lizards that walked on the water.

At the end of the boat ride, some people got off the boat for a few minutes in Nicaragua, but I did not- worried about lurking rebels more than crocodiles wasI!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Costa Rica- Hanging Bridges

An excursion to the Costa Rican rain forest at the Arenal Hanging Bridges was a wonderful morning activity. The 2 1/2 hour hike crossing 15 bridges suspended on the primary rain forest with a very knowledgeable naturalist guide opened the doors to this tropical biologically diverse world. I saw things I would have missed, liked leaf cutter ants, hundreds of them right before my eyes, marching in lines destroying a leaf in perfect order. Also, a huge ant hill which houses over 9 million ants and looks like a big dirt hill, not to mention the many different flora species and small animal species.

The three photos above show my husband Norman on one of the hanging bridges, a view of the lush rain forest and a distant view from one of the higher bridges.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Costa Rica- Arenal Volcano

Leaving the Peace Lodge, we drive down to the Arenal area to stay at the Arenal Kioro Suites and Spa, situated central to the volcano!! The top photo was taken from our hotel room. Great, right? Except for the clouds which cover the volcano for most of our visit.

The Arenal volcano is the world's second most active volcano. Costa Rica has 7 active volcanoes, 112 as part of the Rim of Fire. At night, it is possible to see glowing embers and activity but we saw nothing.

On the way from the Peach Lodge to the Arenal area we did see beautiful countryside. Lush farmland where many fruits and vegetables are grown- pineapples, bananas, coffee and sugarcane.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cloud Forest- Night Tour

While visiting Costa Rica & staying at the lovely Peace Lodge ( at La Paz Waterfalls, I went on a night tour equipped with flashlight & camera. Looking for nocturnal animals, I came upon glass frogs and leaf frogs.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Peace Lodge- In the Clouds

The moisture of the cloud forest makes everything grow so beautifully in the garden at the Peace Lodge ( at La Paz Waterfall. Our stay here was delightful. I highly recommend your visiting this magical place. Close to the airport, volcanoes, rain and cloud forests, it is a wonderful place to begin your vacation in Costa Rica. We had one of the most beautiful rooms ever. The bathroom had its own waterfall and was as big as my dining room at home!! There is a jacuzzi in the bathroom as well as one on the balcony overlooking the cloud forest and mountains.

These photographs show the exotic flowers, including orchids, growing in the garden, as well as the "diamond raindrops" left on the leaves by the constant moisture in the air.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Costa Rica- Tropical Paradise

Arriving in Costa Rica a day late due to a blizzard & driving to the Peace Lodge in a cloud forest north of Arenal Volcano is a mystical and other worldly experience. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and, having never been in a cloud forest, I was not prepared for the lush vegetation and beauty awaiting me.

A cloud forest is a highland forest characterized by nearly 100% humidity throughout the year. As the winds sweep up to the Continental Divide, they cool and condense to form clouds, bathing the forest in a constant soft mist. The cloud forest here receives an incredible four meters of rain every year- that is almost twelve feet.

One of the most characteristic features of a cloud forest is the abundance of vegetation. Competition for growing space is so intense that trunks and branches are almost entirely covered with a variety of lichens, liverworts, and mosses. The lush cloud forest canopy is thus home to many species of insects, amphibians, and mammals which never even come down to the forest floor.

The Peace Lodge is an exceptional hotel built on the side of a mountain, near the La Paz Waterfalls. It is an organic part of the environment. There are 3.5 kilometers of paved trails that wind through cloud and rain forest,70 acres of wildlife and forest, showing the diversity of plant and wildlife.