COSTA RICA JANUARY 2016

February 09, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Some trips have a wow moment, like coming through the sun gate atop Machu Picchu, or your first sunrise sighting of the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon.  Our visit to Costa Rica didn't have one of those huge oh-my moments.  Instead, it was filled with days of quiet connection to nature --  rain forests, mangrove-filled rivers, coral reefs off remote islands, sunrises and sunsets in ocean coves and not another boat in sight. Our thanks to National Geographic and their Naturalists for taking us to pristine places, and for sharing their seemingly endless knowledge of forest, plants, birds, habitats, mammal habits on and on.

 

It's amazing how much plant life is shared in just a few feet of a rain forest…

 

 

 

How crystal clear the water is at the coral reef off a remote island …

 

photo by christian: underwater cam

 

Costa Rica is home to some 800 birds (of which our birder friends counted over a 100 seen on our hikes and river trips) …

 

 

And stunning sunsets.

 

Here is a quick summary of our trip.

 

 

SAN JOSE TO THE MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST

Hikes in the cloud forest and high up above the canopy of the forest on sky walks. 4500 ft altitude. Visits to: Hummingbird Garden, Bat Jungle, Butterfly Farm. Fonda Vela lodge.

Special thanks to our naturalist, Max, for his passionate discussions about the symbiotic relationships and survival tactics of plant life, sighting of birds and mammals no one else would have even noticed, and hidden gems like the teenie berry that tastes like garlic or the even smaller bud that yields an amazing red juice used to dye cloth (or make face paint in our case). Oh, and for sharing his second favorite restaurant in Costa Rica with – trust me here – maybe among the best pizza I've ever had, and pretty darn good local beer.

 

Boat tour at the Tarcoles River – successfully hunting for crocodiles.


 

Herradura (Pacific Coast):  Board the Linblad Expeditions/National Geographic Sea Lion - our 155 ft/62 passenger boat.

 

Over the next 7 days aboard the Sea Lion

  • Manuel Antonio National Park. Hike.
  • Agujitas River - Hike, Swim.
  • Oso Peninsula  - Caletas Reserve. Hike; Corcovada National Park. Hike with Mountain Waterfall Swim.
  • Golfo Dulce – Casa Orquidea Botanic Gardens. Paddle Boarding. Tigre River Kayaking.
  • Coiba National Park – the smallest island you've ever seen (humming Here On Gilligan's Isle as we approached in our zodiacs). Ga-zillions of hermit crabs – no people, no buildings, no nothing but the surrounding pristine coral reef. Snorkel.
  • Bona Island Zodiac Shoreline Cruise. Boobies & Frigates!
  • Panama Canal the 3 locks Miraflores and Pedro Miguel at night lifting us  feet above sea level from the Pacific into the Culebra cut and large man-made Gutan Lake.
  • Gutan Lake – Barro Colorado Island guided tour/hike (managed by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)
  • 3 Gatun Locks lowering us 85 feet to the level of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Dock at Colon.
  • Disembark and head to Panama City.
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I will detail our experience through the Panama Canal and the visit to Panama City in the next blog: "Panama- January 2106".

 

Costa Rica Additional Photos

(Note: We are not "birders" and did not have the lenses nor the skill to capture photos of those darn birds that persist in hiding 200 + feet up in a tree in a dark dense forest. But we became friends with a couple from NJ – Phi and Becky Witt  who are phenomenal photographers, birds especially. They graciously shared a few of their shots which I have included below. If you want to see more of their work: philwitt.smugmug.com)

 

capuchin monkey

 

 

coatimundi

 

 

photo by phil witt: scarlet macaw

 

photo by phil witt: 3 toed sloth

 

 

toucan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

our private swimming hole - waterfall hike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE OTHER 3000 PHOTOS!

HOPE YOU ENJOYED SHARING OUR ADVENTURE.

 

bette & steven

 


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