Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Costa Rica Day 5

We spent Day 5 in Manuel Antonio National Park. It is a nature reserve with very nice beaches, rain forest, and lots of wildlife (monkeys!) It was really cool, because the beaches and rain forest areas were all intertwined by hiking trails so you might be walking along the beach one minute and in the jungle the next. Very cool. Below is a picture of the beach we hung at the longest. The picture doesn't really do justice to how beautiful the beach actually was. The lighting was kinda weird that day so none of our pictures turned out so well. The water was a dark emerald green color, and there was a barrier of rocks a little ways out that kept the water near the beach very calm. I would describe it as idyllic.

Dan and Lori found a cool starfish.

And the moment I had been waiting for. We saw monkeys, lots of them!

And just when were leaving the park and thought that were weren't going to get to see the elusive sloth, we saw two of them with the help of a local guide that was walking with another group. He let us tag along for a little bit so we could see one. They were kinda high in the trees so I had to zoom all the way. This is the best picture I have. The guide said that it was a mother and baby, but we couldn't ever actually see the baby.After leaving the park, we found a new place to stay in the area and had a great dinner at a restaurant that had a full size C-123 in the middle of it. We got a great deal on a really nice hotel (our first with a tv all week). We were pretty exhausted so we watched the end of the Patriots football game, some of Liar, Liar in espanol, and then crashed for the evening.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Costa Rica Day 4

We awoke to a rather rainy day. The owner of the hotel told us the night before that there were really good sunrises there because the sun rises kinda right over the volcano, so we had hoped to see that. But it was far too cloudy that morning, so no sunrise to be seen. We were treated to other cool things to see, however, like the parrots in the trees right outside of our room!

And our jungle-yard, complete with a nice clump of bananas growing.
And some crazy jungle flower thing.
Some people from Alaska that we talked to at breakfast told us about some really cool waterfalls that we hadn't heard about, and it wasn't out of our way so we decided to hit them up. So glad we did! There were 4 really great waterfalls within short hikes of each other, and we were able to swim in 3 of them. The water was on the chilly side, but it was totally worth it.
This was the most powerful one. It was like being in a hurricane, or at least what I envision a hurricane to be like.
This one was technically the tallest one, but it was more of a "slide" waterfall instead of just coming straight down. It made for a nice shower!

Lori wanted a "cute" picture of us in front of the waterfall. We complied, but Dan and I suspect that this was the cause of our mysterious jungle rash that both of us developed on our stomachs the next day.

After the waterfalls, we stopped for lunch in the town of Tilaran. We ate at Super Pollo, and the chicken was in fact super. Costa Ricans really like to use "super" to describe everything.
And eventually we arrived at the beach town of Manuel Antonio later that night and stayed in a pretty gross hostel. Definitely the worst place we stayed all week. It was right on the beach though, and it came complete with Sesame Street curtains.After smoking cigars on the beach and talking a French guy for a while, I noticed something bright orange flashing down by the water. We were on a log probably 40 or 50 yards away from the water and it was dark so I could not tell what it was. I thought it was some kind of crazy glowing fish or sea creature, so I took off running towards it with Dan in tow. As we got closer (like really close) it became apparent that it was in fact two humans in a heavy make out session. We totally tried to play it off and started walking a different direction, only to realize that there was another couple making out right behind us. Oops. It was definitely the most awkwardly funny moment of the trip. I think Dan and I laughed for at least a really long time.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Costa Rica Day 3

Day 3 in Costa Rica was probably the most exciting. We went whitewater rafting on the Rio Picuare, which is CR's premier rafting river. Since we went rafting, there aren't any pictures from this day. Dan took some with a waterproof camera, but I don't have those yet. The company we went with provided all transportation (3 hours each way), breakfast, lunch, all equipment, and guide. We had 8 people in our raft including the guide, who was named Ricky. He is probably one of the coolest guys in the world and I want to be him. Dan and I were definitely man-crushing hard. He was probably a couple of years younger than me, and you could tell that he just LOVED his job. The river was amazing! It was all class III and IV rapids the whole way. There were two really sweet canyons that we went in with really high cliffs. Probably one of my favorite things besides the sweet rapids was that we went by lots of indigenous villages. It was so so so cool to see these villages and huts on the sides of jungle mountains. It was pretty much straight out of the Discovery Channel. There were also lots of great waterfalls to see.

Apparently the river had received a lot of rain earlier in the week, and when that happens it can change the routes that rafts need to take in the rapids. There was one such rapid which conveniently happened to be a class IV. Our guide nor any of the other guides was completely sure which way to go, so basically we just had to guess and hang on tight. In the middle of the run, our raft kinda went up on a rock and a HUGE wave of water came over the raft and knocked me and the girl next to me out of the raft. I honestly thought at the time that the whole raft was going over. It's all kind of a blur to me, but somehow I managed to do a back flip over the side of the raft and I came up still with a grip on the rope on the side of the raft and my paddle in the other hand. I remember the only thing I was thinking when I went over was "I sure hope I don't hit my head on a rock." Anyway, it was pretty intense because this all took place right in the middle of this huge rapid. After a failed attempt to get me back in the boat by two tiny Indian (India) kids, Dan came to the rescue and got me out of the water.

After returning from rafting, we drove to the town of Nuevo Arenal. It was kinda late by the time we got there so we pretty much just got some dinner and went to bed.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Costa Rica Day 2

Day 2 In CR brought lots of excitement and fun. We began by going on a zip-line adventure through the rain forest canopy. The ride to the zip-lines gave incredible views of Arenal Volcano.There were 10 zip-lines in all, the longest being 900m long! One of the zip-lines went right beside a waterfall. It was simply incredible.
After zip-lining, we visited the Maleku indian village on horseback. One of the Maleku men told us about their tribe and showed us some of the masks that their people craft. Very cool stuff.
My steed was nobler than Dan's.

Later that night we went to this resort-ish type place near the volcano. There are lots of hot springs in the area due to the volcano, and this place sort of made a water park out of water from the hot springs. There were 10 or so different pools with different temperatures of water (all very warm). It was fantastic! One of the pools even had a waterslide, and 3 of them had swim up bars. It was one of the most relaxing and awesome places I've ever been.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I'm going to attempt to give a day-by-day synopsis of our trip to Costa Rica, both for the sake of posterity and for anyone who is curious what the heck we did while we were there.

After arriving in San Jose and going through customs and immigration and all that good stuff, I only had to walk around for about 3 minutes before I found Dan, so that was great. We began our drive through the mountains to the town of La Fortuna. We stopped at great little restaraunt on the way and had a great seafood lunch.
And here is Dan inspecting our very first bottle of Imperial, brewed in Costa Rica.

We arrived at night so we found a place to stay first. We stayed at a place called La Posada Inn. It was a hostel and it only cost us $5 a night each! After cleaning up a little, we walked around the town and found a place to get some dinner and drinks.