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.
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.
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!
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.