Costa Rica

The four of us went to Costa Rica, accompanied by nephew David, on an eco-tour that had us spending two nights in each of four locales: Selva Vede on the Sarapiqui River, near Arenal Volcano, in Monteverde Cloud Forest, and on the Pacific at Manuel Antonio National Park. The trip was arranged through Terra Incognita. We had a guide, Manfred, and a driver, Roberto, both of whom were fabulous.

I've split the photos into four albums plus another for videos for quicker loading. 

Costa Rica 1: Selva Verde

Costa Rica 1: Selva Verde

We arrived in San Jose a little late due to the usual airline delays and were met by guide Manfred and driver Roberto. Headed off in the van to Selva Verde on the Sarapiqui River, stopping at the Mega Super on the way for some supplies. Selva Verde Lodge is on a private preserve along the river. We were greeted there by a cockroach the size of Nebraska! The following morning we took a rafting trip down the Sarapiqui (with guide Jose). The river was low, so no huge rapids, just enough to be good fun. We had a break for a swim and fruit, then ended back at the lodge for lunch. After lunch a nature walk with guide Michael where we saw poison dart frogs, a glass frog, howler monkeys, and many bugs and spiders. In the late afternoon back to another part of the river for a boat ride, from which we saw plenty of wildlife including toucans, sloth, bats, and plenty of birds. At breakfast the following morning we saw aracaris (a kind of toucan) and oropendolas at the feeders, among lots of other birds.

Costa Rica 2: Arenal Volcano

Costa Rica 2: Arenal Volcano

We drove from Selva Verde to La Fortuna at the base of Arenal Volcano. Stopped at a small store next to a bridge where they protected and fed iguanas - LOTS of them. Stopped in La Fortuna for a few minutes to look around, then took a trip up to the lava fields. We went on a horeseback ride (in the pouring rain) to La Fortuna Falls the following morning, followed by a bit of wallowing in the hot springs at The Springs Hotel. The last morning we had spectacular views of the volcano from our hotel room, and also were entertained by lots of hummingbirds. All very nice, indeed!

Farmer in the field
Mountains
Flowers
Iguana
Iguanas
Iguana
Iguana foot
Iguana
Iguana
Iguana
Iguana
Iguana
Iguanas
Iguanas
Iguanas
Iguana
Iguana
Iguana
Flowers in La Fortuna
Our van in La Fortuna
Ross, David & Kathy look at crafts
Flowers in La Fortuna
Flowers in LA Fortuna
Flowers in La Fortuna
La Fortuna church & Arenal volcano
Flycatcher
La Fortuna street
Arenal volcano
Flower arch in La Fortuna
Tree in La Fortuna
Spider at our Arenal hotel room
Arenal volcano
Spider in plant
Exposed roots
Approaching the lava field
Arenal volcano
Arenal volcano, steaming
Flower near Arenal
Arenal volcano, steaming
Ben & Ross
David
Arenal volcano
Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal
Flower near Arenal
David & Ross on the lava field
Arenal volcano
Frog rock near the lava field
Arenal volcano
Tree with toucan near Arenal
Arenal volcano
Sunset over Lake Arenal
Manfred & Ariana
Arenal volcano
Ben & Kathy
Sunset over Lake Arenal
Kathy, Ben, Ross, David, Ariana & Arenal
Ross, Ben & David
Sunset from Arenal
David shoots again
The flower David was shooting
Moon and cane flower
Sunset from Arenal
Kathy saddles up to ride to Fortuna Falls
Ben had reins in hand
Friends of our horses
Ariana & David
Jungle at the end of the ride
Jungle at the end of the ride
Hanging bridge on the way yo Fortuna Falls
Downstream of Fortuna Falls
Tree near Fortuna Falls
Fortuna Falls
Fortuna Falls
Kathy, Ariana, Ross & David
Kathy, Ariana, Ross, David & Ben
Kathy fordds the stream
Kathy goes for a dip
Other falls near Fortuna Falls
David
Ross
Ariana & Ben
Kathy & Ross
Ariana
David Kathy, Ross & Ariana
Flowers
Flowers
Bulbous Bouffant Duck
Butterfly
Great Curassow
Butterfly
Flower
Flower
Anole
Elvis the Duck
Arenal Springs Hotel
Our room at Arenal Springs Hotel
At "The Springs" wet bar
Sunset
From "The Springs" wet bar
Ross & David in the hot spring
Ben & Kathy in the hot spring
Kathy & Ben in the hot spring
Arenal volcano
LBJ bird
Arenal volcano
Plant at Arenal Springs hotel
Arenal volcano
Bird
Arenal volcano
Hummingbird bathing in dew 1
Hummingbird bathing in dew 2
Hummingbird bathing in dew 3
Hummingbird bathing in dew 4
Hummingbird bathing in dew 5
Hummingbird bathing in dew 6
Hummingbird bathing in dew 7
Hummingbird
Hummingbird
Hummingbird
Hummingbird
Flowers
Flora at Arenal Springs hotel
Flycatcher

Costa Rica 3: Monteverde Cloud Forest

Costa Rica 3: Monteverde Cloud Forest

From Arenal volcano we drove to Lake Arenal, and crossed in a boat. Then the drive over the mountains to Monteverde. All very rutted dirt road, not paved by the residents' preference to keep the traffic down. We walked through the cloud forest at Selvatura, traversing 8 hanging bridges, some over the canopy, then went to the hotel for a gorgeous sunset. Dinner was with ex-pat naturalist Debra Hamilton, who runs a conservation foundation helping preserve habitat for the Three-wattled bellbird.

The following day we let the "kids" sleep in while Manny took us for an early morning hike in the Monteverde reserve. Toward the end of that we (OK, a bunch of other folks, really) spotted a resplendent quetzl in breeding plumage. We went back for lunch with the kids, then zip-lines through the canopy at Selvatura - very exciting, check out the videos. Also at Selvatura we visited the reptile and insect museums and the hummingbird garden After that we took a night walk with guide Juan Carlos and saw huge leaf-cutter highway and nests, tarantulas, agoutis, raccoons, and coatis, among other fauna.

Costa Rica 4: The Pacific Coast

Costa Rica 4: The Pacific Coast
Leaving Monteverde, we headed down to the coast, again braving the rutted dirt road. We stopped to see the crocodiles on the Tarcoles river, then headed in for a walk through Carara National Park, where we got out first glimpse of a pair of scarlet macaws nesting. We then had a fabulous lunch at El Pelicano on Herradura beach near the Marriott hotel - great fish, very fresh and well prepared. Then off to our hotel with another gorgeous sunset followed by dinner at El Avion, a restaurant with a story.

The next day we went off to Manuel Antonio park, which is along the shore. A few animals on the way in, including iguanas, basilisks, agoutis and reccoons. Plus a sloth high in the tree at the beach/picnic area. On the way out, however, a troupe of capuchins came through, almost running over Ross's foot and hamming it up for the camera (see pictures and video). We also saw a couple more sloths and long-nose bats. In the afternoon we went for another zipline ride. Again lots of fun, and we did see a few titi (squirrel) monkeys. Our last dinner at the hotel, then packing for the flight out the next day.

On the drive back to San Jose we stopped when we saw a flock of Macaws playing in the trees. We made it to the airport in plenty of time, especially since our flights were delayed. Everybody but Ben and David made their connections at Miami, which has to be the worst designed airport win the world, so we got to spend a night at the lovely Miami Airport Holiday Inn compliments of American Airlines before catching flights to Boston and DC (on standby, of course) the following morning.

Despite the final airport snafus, a great trip!
The road from Monteverde
Ariana shoots
Crocs
Croc
Croc
Croc
Crocs
Great white egret
Storks
Web-covered cactus
Termite nest
Spider
Moth
Ivy
Ross & David
Mushrooms
Iguana
Flower
Kathy & mangrove tree
Choking ficus
Anyone know what bird this is?
Butterfly
Up the forest
Fungus
Scarlet macaw
Scarlet macaw
Scarlet macaw
Spider
Scarlet macaw
Pacific ocean
Si Como No Hotel
Cherrie's Tanager
Cherrie's Tanager
Boat-tail Grackle
Sunset
Sunset
El Avion restaurant
El Avion
El Avion
The tail wing is the upstairs bar
Cockpit of El Avion
Islands in the Pacific
Pacific Coast
Iguana
Island in the Pacific
Trees
Turtle
Agouti
Basilisk
Raccoons
Basilisk
Sloth
P1022310
P1022311
P1022312
Live Sand Dollar with Ross's bracelets
Sand dollar
David & Ross
Crowd at Manuel Antonio beach
Sloth
Ross, Kathy, David & Ben
Capuchin
Capuchin
Capuchin
Capuchins
Capuchin
Capuchin
Pacific beach
Sloth
Squirrel
Long-nose bats
Pelicans and frigate bird
Ross & David
Ravid on the zipline
Kathy on the zipline
Flowers
Roberto
Macaws playing
Macaws playing
Macaws playing
Macaws playing

Videos

Videos

Here are videos from the Costa Rica trip.

Iguanas
Hummingbirds
Mimosa
La Fortuna Falls
Arenal Volcano
Ziplines in Monteverde
Ziplines in Monteverde (2)
Tarzan Swing
Leaf-cutter Ants
Capuchin Monkeys

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