A Travellerspoint blog

Costa Rica to Belize

The last bit of Dominical, Costa Rica

Dominical was truly a slice of heaven. We did not do much other than surf, cook food, and hang out with our Canadian travel buddies. Dominical was just big enough to rotate in a few restaurants and rent surfboards to occupy the afternoon. We loved lounging in this small surf town where the dirt roads still keep a majority of the tourists away.

To Quepos, Costa Rica

After Dominical, we needed to head closer to San Jose, so we migrated to a place 80km north of Dominical, called Quepos. Even though the distance to Quepos was short, the bus ride took over 3 hours due to gravel roads. Quepos is really nothing to see, just a bustling Costa Rican community with a large marina on the coastline. No beach to relax on, just a seawall and docked boats in the bay. However the nearest beach, Manuel Antonio, is only a 10 min bus ride away and is a spectacular place to lounge and swim for the day. You can find lodging along the road to and in Manuel Antonio, but Quepos is a bit cheaper, which is where we decided to spend two nights.

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

MA is an adorable beach town where the main street is packed with local vendors selling many different souvenirs and tourists lining the beach in lounge chairs and standing umbrellas. Even though there are many travelers walking around the town and lounging on the beach, the town still had a mellow, inviting vibe. It has great swimming, with calm, warm water and beautiful soft white sand. There is also a preserve right around the corner from the main beach that has short hiking trails to empty beaches and lush jungle, however we did not go. On the way back to Quepos we stopped at this cool restaurant called El Avion, which means The Plane. The history of this restaurant is interesting. It is constructed out of an old C-130 plane that the US Government sold to the Contras during the 80’s. The plane is perched on a beautiful hilltop and is a wonderful place to watch the sunset. It reminded us of Big Sur for a moment. We definitely recommend to any travelers in that area to make a stop at MA.

San Jose to Belize City

It took 3 hours on a decent bus ride to get to San Jose from Quepos. We flew to Belize City the next morning at 6:15am. In retrospect we wish we could have had more time to see Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. They are supposed to be the cheapest countries to travel in and relatively safe despite what worried parents, and the embassy may warn you about. We talked to many travelers who felt safe in every country in Central America during their travels. But due to time constraints, a limited budget, and our return flight from Cancun, we needed to head north quickly. The flight to Belize was very short and beautiful from what we could see in the plane. We had a layover in El Salvador, which required the plane to fly parallel to the pacific coast of Nicaragua. All you could see for miles from the plane was white sandy beach. We predict that Nicaragua is going to be the next best thing to Costa Rica very soon; maybe even better because the cost of living is much cheaper than Costa Rica. El Salvador looked lovely as well.

Belize

Once we arrived into Belize City, we got a taxi to the bus station. It was a strange feeling to all the sudden be speaking fluent English again (Belize’s national language is English, even though different communities within Belize speak Spanish and many different native languages). We couldn’t help but slip hola and gracias for the first few days in Belize. Belize is actually an interesting country when it comes to its culture and nationality. There are over 6 different languages spoken by Belize citizens. It was very confusing at first; we didn’t know when to speak Spanish and when to use English. However once we began traveling within Belize it became more apparent. Belize is certainly much different than the other Mestizo-Spanish countries. Its rich history in the Caribbean and Mayan culture and Central American/British influence has brought much diversity to the country, making the bus rides certainly interesting. The Caribbean coast of Belize is mostly Garifuna communities where English is spoken but with a much different dialect. Many of the Garifuna are also considered true “Rasta-men”. They have their own distinct language and culture. It has taken us some time to get used to the Garifuna accents and pronunciations. However, Belize also has indigenous Mayan tribes, Spanish immigrants, Creole, Mennonites, and ex-patriots(aka retirees, baby-boomers, and visitors that never left the country, surprisingly a lot of Canadians).

Placencia

Our first destination in Belize was a small beach town off the Southern coast of Belize called Placencia. The bus ride from Belize City was long and gruesome. It took about 5 hours to get to this small town, but was well worth the trip. There is only one main road through the town, and a long sidewalk that parallels the beach. The sidewalk is where most of the hotels and restaurants are. The town looks like something out of an old Jimmy Buffet video, early Margarita Ville days. Surprisingly we found an affordable room right next to the beach. On the ride over we made friends with another Canadian from Vancouver and an Italian from Milan. Once we got settled in, we were all drinking happy hour rum drinks and kicking back on the beach at the Barefoot bar and grill, where no shoes were allowed. Most of the restaurants in Placencia are reasonably priced, as well as the beach front cabanas for rent. Because it is conch season here in Belize, we got to try conch in Creole sauce for the first time. It was definitely interesting. The conch snail is rather chewy but good in the Creole and jerk sauce. It had the texture of a thick piece of Calamari. Other than a few rain showers throughout the two days we stayed, we enjoyed Belize’s national beer for the first time, the Belikin, while relaxing in the beach town atmosphere.

Hopkins

We were not too sure what to expect at our next stop in Hopkins. There were not many travelers or tourists going to this small beach community of Garifuna people. Our lonely planet book (aka our traveling bible) recommended staying a night or two in this unique town. It was only a 2 hour bus ride north of Placencia. The only surprise was that the bus did not drop us off in the town of Hopkins, but instead at the bus stop 4 miles inland. One of the locals from Hopkins, who also got off the bus, simply informed us that there is an infrequent bus that goes to the town but it is much faster to just hitch a ride into town in the back of a truck. Ok, so we thought it would be no big deal, well that was until loads of locals kept getting dropped off at the bus stop. Before we knew it, there were at least 10 locals and us waiting to hitch a ride into town…the competition was on. Cars kept passing, but no one wanted to attempt that battle, and just kept driving. Finally an empty pick up truck stopped and everyone loaded in the back. It was definitely an interesting start to our stay in Hopkins. When we got into town, we quickly saw that it was a very small community with no tourists in sight. Luckily, there was a tourist information booth with a helpful woman who pointed us in the right direction for a place to stay. Little did we know that we would be stumbling upon one of the most unique experiences of our trip. She made a phone call and two local men on bikes came to meet us with two spare bikes in their hands. With all our gear on, we biked half a mile down the road to a place called Lebeha. We were quickly informed that it was also a drumming center that gave authentic Garifuna drumming lessons to the local youth. Once we got settled in our private, straw roofed cabana, we found out that they have nightly drumming shows for their friends and guests. We spent the afternoon sampling authentic Garifuna and Creole dishes. The native food is actually quite tasty. Later that evening the locals came to our hotel and performed an hour long drumming show for us, capped off with dancing and singing by the drummers. It was a wonderful experience and was the highlight of our Hopkins stay.

San Ignacio

The next morning we left Hopkins and headed NW to a town near the Guatemala border called San Ignacio. We were hoping to do some sort of adventure tour in the caves, but were surprised to find out that none of the tours were in our budget. Instead we decided to save our money for a snorkeling trip to the reef in Caye Caulker, which was our next destination.

Posted by AtheSinn 15:42 Comments (0)

we tried

hey guys,

we have attempted to upload pictures twice now, and the internet connection is just too slow. sorry you won't have pictures to accompany our stories, but updated pictures will have to come later. When we find a better connection we will be uploading lots of new pictures. we are not avoiding you on purpose, internet is scarce in southern costa rica.

Posted by AtheSinn 13:47 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

We're still alive!

Hi family and friends. We are still alive! I am sure all of you have been wondering where we have been and what activities are keeping us from writing a new blog. We are learning that the internet is still a rare commodity in some areas and cheaper hotels. We have been doing quite a bit of traveling since we last posted a blog. Bocas del Toro ended up being a good time. It led us to traveling through the northern part of Panama and back into Costa Rica.

The remainder of our Bocas del Toro stay:

The next morning we woke up to a beautiful sky and warm weather. Our plan was to meet up with our new friends from Canada, Jenny and Kelcy, and catch a boat ride out a beautiful beach called Playa Zapatilla. Playa Zapatilla is located on a deserted island SW of Bocas town and takes about 30min via boat to get out to. We were told it was the farthest beach to get to but by far the most beautiful of all the local beaches. We paid $25 per person, round trip. The boat ride also included a stop at Dolphine Bay to see dolphins, and snorkeling at Cayo Coral. Playa Zapatilla was absolutely beautiful. It was the brightest blue water we had swam in yet, and the closest we’ve come to paradise on our trip so far. We spent the whole day swimming in warm, turquoise water and laying on a beautiful white sandy beach. We shared a boat with a very nice, young couple from Argentina and two young guys from New York.

We both agree that Bocas is definitely a party town. We went out with our new friends almost every night we stayed there. It was a lot of fun but got expensive after a few drinks. Bocas had good happy hours but is still as expensive as Costa Rica in some aspects. We were able to find really cheap food, but it was not that great.

To save a little money the next day, we took a dollar shuttle to a beach on the northern part of Isla Colon(where bocas town is located) called Playas de Boca del Drago or starfish beach. The beach was beautiful, with crystal clear blue water in the shallow parts and palm trees lining the shore of the beach. The only complaint we had was that the sand had these microscopic, clear spines that got stuck in our feet. They felt like a bad splinter and hurt your feet when you walked. We learned that a little investment makes going to Playa Zapitilla worth your money. After a good talk with our new Canadian friends, we decided we would leave the next day and all travel together to a little town in the Panama mountains called Boquete, located on the western side of Northern Panama.

Boquete

Panama doesn’t quite have the tourist infrastructure like Costa Rica has, so we couldn’t get a small shuttle to Boquete. Instead we had to do what the locals do, and ride the public buses. We quickly found out that this mode of transportation was very mellow. On the way to David(the town we catch the Boquete bus in) Justin and I met a very friendly family of indigenous natives. The woman still wears traditional tribe clothing. She had a baby girl with her and a young boy. The young boy took interest in Justin’s iPhone video games and the baby made a nice pillow out of my leg. It was a beautiful ride through the Talamanca Mountain range (the continental divide).

When we arrived into Boquete, the climate was much cooler, as most mountain towns are in Central America. It was absolutely beautiful too. We were surrounded by lush green mountains and huge coffee farms. The surrounding scenery was just as spectacular as the beach. We stayed at a hostel with private rooms called Boquete Mountain Inn. Other than a crowing rooster every morning from 2 to 6am, the hostel was great.

The first full day in Boquete was spent hanging out at the Caldera natural hot springs. They are about 30 min outside of Boquete. The taxi or bus drops you off at the beginning of a long dirt road that you have to travel down to get to the hot springs. If you have a rented vehicle, you could drive about 80% of the walk. We hitched a ride in the back of a construction vehicle. It made the walk much easier. The hot springs are owned by a local family. The piece of property they own has a tepid stream running through it. We have never felt a warm river before, very cool. Once we paid a $2 entrance fee, we got to sit in 3 different natural hot springs. They were very relaxing. Just below the hot springs is a big cold river, which is where we spent the majority of our day.

The next day we decided to go a local animal rescue shelter called Paradise Gardens. Paradise Gardens is located just outside of Boquete and is a short cab ride from the town. The entrance to the shelter (it is more of an estate, than a shelter) was $5 each, which is more than reasonable for what you are getting.

As soon as we walked in we were greeted by a pair of monkeys and a couple of very talkative parrots. We were then shown a 3 month old baby anteater and given the opportunity to play with a pair of baby sloths. The park had dozens of species of tropical birds: toucans, macaws, cockatoos and several other species of parrot. We also got the chance to view a lynx-looking cat and a young Jaguarundi (both cats are in the puma family). The refuge owner let us play with the baby Jaguarundi in its cage. We then met the pick-pocketing monkey named Monty, who kept trying to steal our keys out of Justin’s pockets. Monty just loved performing for a crowd. He and his playmate put on an acrobatics display for about 20 mins.

Once the park neared closing, we made our way back to the main house where the owner was feeding the baby sloths dinner. She invited us to help, and we got to feed baby sloths fruits and veggies for about 30 minutes. It was quite an experience and was one of the highlights of our trip so far. We highly recommend Paradise Gardens to anyone who would enjoy interacting with jungle animals.

The next day our Canadian friends informed us that they had heard of a Carnival festival taking place just 30 minutes away in the small town of Dolega. We jumped on a bus and headed down…we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We got off the bus in the center of town and made our way towards the loud thumping music in the distance. When we arrived at the Carnival gates we paid our $2 admission and the party was on! $.50 beers, $.60 rum and cokes, $1 burgers…we were finally in our budget.

Carnival means festival of the flesh. It is the 4 days where religious believers are allowed to sin before lent(40 days of fasting and cleansing) begins, and the people of Panama do not mess around. The main dance floor was about half the size of a football field, had a huge stage for the DJ, and the entire dance floor was outlined by massive water tank trucks that were equipped with fire houses that were used to soak the dancing crowd. It was like nothing that we had ever seen. Away from the dance floor, little kids patrolled the perimeter with water guns attacking anyone who appeared to be dry…seeing how we were the only gringos in sight, we were very easy targets. We were all soaked within 20 minutes.

We partied the afternoon away, and the festival came to a close at 5 pm. It was over 90 degrees at the festival and in the high 60’s when we got back into Boquete. We were soaked to the bone; a hot shower never felt so good. That night at dinner we decided to stay an additional night, and go to Carnival the next day prepared.

Carnival take 2: No cameras, no backpacks, no shoes…this time we were ready. The size of the crowd had easily doubled from the first day, so much that two more water tankers we called in for the day. We spent the entire afternoon dancing, meeting new people, and picking up a few new dance moves. We only did two days of Carnival, and there is no way that we could’ve done more, what a party! But it was a fun affair, no beads, public indecency, or fights; the local Panamanians keep it pretty classy and family-friendly. We know that if this party were held in the states it would be a drunken mess…we now know why New Orleans only celebrates fat Tuesday, Americans just seem to get a little out of hand. Needless to say our first Carnival experience was a good one, a good stepping stone for a potential future visit to Brazil.

We crashed early that night because we had to catch a 6 am bus to get back into Costa Rica. Panama was an incredible experience, the local people are genuinely friendly and always have a smile on their face. The American dollar also goes a long way down here, a lot farther than in Costa Rica, we would highly recommend panama to anyone.

We definitely knew we were back in Costa Rica when we were paying $2.00 for a coke and $14.00 for a medium tube of sunscreen. It was a long day of traveling but our arrival to Dominical was met with a sigh of relief. We finally found a Costa Rican community/town that we immediately bonded with and loved. It is a total surfer town with minimal development and cool vibes. The beach is beautiful, with palm trees lining the shores and gorgeous lush mountains meeting the ocean. The town is about 3 miles in diameter and has no paved roads, only hard dirt with submerged rocks; however the road to Dominical from San Isidro is paved. The town still vibes rustic Costa Rica and the people are very friendly. Surprisingly though, most of the people we’ve seen walking around the town are gringos. Not your average touristy gringos, more integrated surfers and hippies that are searching for a laidback lifestyle. The beach is fairly empty throughout the day but everyone comes out onto the beach to catch the evening’s sunset.

We are renting a fairly cheap house with our Canadian friends for the week. It isn’t glamorous but it certainly does the job. We love it though. It’s been the most relaxing stay we’ve had so far. The surf is perfect for all of us here. About two hours a day the surf breaks just right for Rachelle and the Canadians (the other two beginner surfers) to have some fun with a surfboard. Once the swell picks up a bit, Justin gets his surf in. We are having a blast just lounging and waiting for the surf to get good. Not much else to report on. Talk to you all soon!

Posted by AtheSinn 12:13 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

La Fortuna to Bocas del Toro

Hola famila y amigos. We have not been able to access internet easily since we left Monteverde, so this will be a long blog to catch you all up on our travels. We also finished uploading our Monteverde pictures, so check them out too!

From Monteverde to La Fortuna

To get to La Fortuna we took a “jeep-boat-jeep.” People say this is the best way to travel to La Fortuna from Monteverde, it’s much quicker than driving around the lake. It was $20 per person and well worth the trip. It was a beautiful drive to Lake Arenal, passing through rolling green hills and gorgeous rivers. Of course the road was not that great. There certainly was a lot of wobbling around in the shuttle. The boat trip was by far the best part. The lush jungles of Volcano Arenal start at the tops of giant mountains and travel all the way to the edges of the lake. You also get a great view of the volcano from the boat. Once we docked, La Fortuna was 15 miles inland. The whole trip took around 3 1/2 hours. Every part was beautiful.

La Fortuna

As we drove to Arenal, beautiful private hotels and cabinas lined the roads, hidden by all the lush foliage along the road. If you have a rental car, it would be nice to stay out in the outer layer of La Fortuna. The town itself was pretty cool though. We didn’t have a reservation when we showed up, but went price shopping and found a really nice room at Paraiso Tropical for $35 a night. The next evening we found another hotel (harvi??) right across the street for $20 a night, so we moved into there. We decided to skip any guided hikes to the volcano because it was cloudy and rainy, we figured you couldn’t see much anyway. So for $18 per person we had a paradise experience all day at the Baldi Hot Springs. We loved the Hot Springs! The Baldi Hot Springs have a collection of 28 pools all ranging from different temperatures. The hot springs also have waterfalls and two working waterslides. We got there around 12:30pm and the place was pretty empty. All the tours end at Baldi Hot Springs, so people start flooding in around 4pm, but anytime before then is pretty mellow, however if we did it again we would get there right when it opens, at 10am, and leave around 2pm. You can also bring in your own food and drinks, but don’t make it obvious because you’re not supposed to bring items into the hot springs. Food and drinks are expensive if you eat at the Hot Springs. 5 hours of relaxation at the Baldi Hot Springs is well worth coming to La Fortuna, or so we thought. The next morning we grabbed a shuttle to Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. We highly recommend Interbus Shuttle, it is a bit more professional than Costa Rica Shuttle.

Puerto Viejo

It took about 5 hours to get Puerto Viejo from La Fortuna. The ride was beautiful again, however Limon is a very dirty town. It really has no tourist appeal. After we passed through Limon, the roads started to get a bit bumpier, as more potholes appeared on the paved road. The Caribbean coast had mushy swell all the way down to Puerto Viejo, it did not look appealing from the shuttle. When we got to Puerto Viejo we were dropped off at Rocking J’s. Cool place but way overpriced for private rooms, or should I say prison cells. We walked down the road towards town and found a great room for $25 per night at Coconut Grove, (the same price Rocking J’s was charging for a dirty closet). The Hotel manager was very friendly and the room in good condition. Once we got situated we wanted to find the nearest beach to swim in, but as we walked through town, most of the coast line was not swimable. Playa Negra was the only close beach that looked somewhat appealing to swim in. However this beach got destroyed in the last storm. There was debris everywhere on the beach, including in the water. The water was warm but the waves and debris made it less appealing. We were pretty much over Puerto Viejo within the first 4 hours of being there. We were spoiled when we were swimming and relaxing in the sun in Playa Grande almost everyday. We missed the pacific coast already. We wanted a nice beach to relax on, so we decided to leave for Bocas the next day instead of staying for 3 days liked we planned. So we booked a shuttle for the next day through Rocking J’s (they have great help with that. Shuttle cost $34 p/p). We had a nice evening in Puerto Viejo. We took advantage of the 2 for 1 mojitos and had a great dinner at Loco Natural. Justin mistakenly ordered a veggie burger…ha, it was his first and last, although he did say it was not that bad.

To Bocas del Toro from Puerto Viejo

Our shuttle picked us up at our hotel but of course was 15 minutes late. The shuttle also picked up a young couple from Saskatchewan, Canada. They were good company for the ride. As we were driving to the Panama border, you could see all the neighborhoods slowly recovering from that last major storm that flooded the entire region. Looking at the damage, you could tell it was a rough storm. The border crossing was easy and mellow. The shuttle service (Caribe Shuttle) met us on the other side of the bridge with all of our luggage. Panama had a nice paved road to the Marina, where a boat took us over to Isla Colon. The boat ride over to Bocas took about 15 minutes. When we got to the island we walked down to Hotel las brisas, where we supposedly had a reservation. When we checked in, all the hotel had available was a room with single beds. The room was not that great, so we decided to go price shopping again. We found a decent room for $35/night at Casa Max, across the street from Mondo Tai Tu. As we were walking around the town, we didn’t know if we wanted to stay here for very long either. I guess we decided we were looking for places with direct access to nice beaches. Here you have to take a water taxi to all the beautiful beaches, most are on other islands. The town itself is pretty cool. As we were walking around, we ran into our shuttle buddies from Canada. We all decided to go catch a happy hour at Mondo Tai Tu..the recommended party spot. The hostel Mondo had great drink specials and a fun atmosphere. Before we knew it, we were playing quarters with another couple from Minnesota and two locals. This really was our first night staying out past 9 and being social, it was a blast. After talking with our new friends, we found out they were traveling over to the pacific side of Panama to a mountain town called Boquete. Justin and I immediately spotted our next route. Instead of going back through Puerto Viejo, we all talked about traveling together to David and Boquete for a few days, which sounded cool to us, however one of the couples might want to leave sooner than we do, so we’ll see. But if we travel west, we can get back to Costa Rica through the Pacific/South side. From there we can travel up to San Jose to catch our flight to Belize. Southern Costa Rica is supposed to beautiful and undeveloped…just what we are looking for. We are pretty sure this is the itinerary for the remainder of the trip in Costa Rica.

We were planning to go hang out on a beautiful beach all day today with our new Canadian friends, but we woke up to clouds and pouring rain. This has put us back another day here and has left us lounging in our room all afternoon. Justin and I are anxious to explore the other islands and get to a beach. We’ll let you know how that goes tomorrow. We’ll upload some new pictures today. Ttyl soon!

Posted by AtheSinn 12:52 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (1)

Zipline and Bridge Canopy tours in the Monteverde Reserve

When we awoke yesterday we were not quite sure what to expect from our upcoming tour of the cloud forest. Our hotel, and the city of Santa Elena is located 6km from the entrance to the Monteverde Reserve, so we hadn’t really seen any sort of jungle or rainforest yet.

To our surprise our tour bus arrived 20 minutes early, and after a short but bumpy 20 minute drive we had arrived at the entrance to Selvatura park. We checked in at the front desk and were instructed to get fitted for harnesses for our zipline tour. During the fitting they put a helmet on you and tell you not to take it off until the end of the tour, so now we are walking around like special ed students with harnesses strapped to our legs…nobody said anything about the great free entertainment. Another short bus ride later and we arrive in the heart of the jungle. The landscape seemed to transform into a deep lush tropical jungle, it looked like something out of a Hemmingway novel, or Planet Earth…absolutely breathtaking.

We then met our tour coordinators/instructors for the day, a group of 7-10 Ticos with ages ranging from 18-25. They gave us the instructions that we would need for the day including the intricate braking system of the zipline tour but of course none of the Ticos follow them while they are gliding along the ziplines. If you want to brake, just reach up and grab the wire until you slow down (they provided us with gloves retrofitted for the tour). After a brief demonstration we were off to the treetops.

The zipline tour that we had signed up for was the largest one in the area and consisted of 18 different cables that ranged in length from 250 yards to over 1 km. This tour was also famous because it had the infamous Tarzan Swing. What makes these tours so special is that you are given a perspective of the forest that has never been viewed before. Here you are gliding through the treetops, whizzing past vines at 25 mph and then all of a sudden the canopy opens up and you are 200 feet above the treetops looking down at the valley below. The feeling is simply incredible, it must be what flying feels like.

One of the major highlights of the tour is the Tarzan swing. The Tarzan swing is basically a large rope-swing, where you jump off of a balcony, free fall for 20-30 feet and then swing out into the tree tops. Just picture a large rope-swing that you don’t let go of. Anyway, there are no real means to stop a person once they have jumped, so there are two guys on the ground who try and grab you feet as you are flying over their heads going at least 20 mph. Quite the scientific process.

All of the zip-lines on the tour where unique, however the very last cable was absolutely incredible. It was the longest ride of the day measuring in at over 1 km in length (.65 miles). The ride takes around 50 seconds and reaches speeds of 40 mph. It begins amongst the lush tree tops and opens up into a huge valley where you can see a large portion of the reserve as well as Lake Arenal to the left. The feeling was like nothing we had ever felt before. We got a video of the last ride and hopefully we can post it because the ride is simply indescribable. The zipline tour was well worth the entire trip, a once in a lifetime thrill in one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen.

After the zipline tours, we had tickets to go scour the treetop canopies by foot, crossing over 8 different bridges along the way. The whole walk was a total of 3km. This was cool because we got to tour the jungle by ourselves, going at the pace we desired. When we got to the first bridge, the adventure began. The bridges give you such a cool perspective on the jungle treetops. Even peering over the edges of the bridges, down to the jungle floor, is an experience within itself. The overgrowth of plants and trees is simply amazing. The moist climate and warm weather creates the perfect environment for lush, tropical flora and fauna. Multiple varieties of orchids grow abundantly within the jungle and the branches of 100-250ft tall trees are covered with new growth, creating multiple ecosystems on single branches. Vines hang abundantly from every tree, making the world of Tarzan a reality. To say the least, it was incredible, unlike anything we have ever seen. The coolest part of the walk was when we spotted a Resplendent Quetzal. It’s a goregous bird that is native only to Central America. It has beautiful, green/blue irridescent feathers and a bright red chest, but of course our little digital camera did not do the bird any justice. Apparently spotting these birds is a rare sighting, as their population is in danger of extinction due to deforestation and development in and around the Rain Forest. The Quetzal was sacred to the Mayans and figures prominently in their artwork and legends. Today, the Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala, and name to the Guatemalan currency. It is a very respected bird in Mesoamerican culture.

All in all, the day’s activities were well worth $50 per person. We highly recommend Monteverde for anyone who wants an unforgettable, unique experience.

Today we are traveling to the town of La Fortuna. Apparently the 3 hour ride to get there is well worth the trip. We will take a jeep/taxi to Lake Arenal, cross the lake by boat, and then jump on another jeep/taxi to the town. We are not sure what we want to do there yet, but the Baldi Hot Springs and cascading waterfalls are supposed to be a gorgeous sight.

Posted by AtheSinn 11:15 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

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