Page 3 of Dawn and Steve Travel Blog Posts

Another day in Bocas and it is still hot and humid. Still partly cloudy too, and windy in the afternoon. We took a trip out to Bird island which is really several small islands located just off the northwest coast of Isla Colon at the farthest tip away from Bocas town. Bird Island (also called Swan Cay) is the only home in Central America of the Red-billed Tropicbird and is also one of the most important nesting sites of the Brown Boobie. For this reason you are not allowed to go onto the islands, but tour boats can venture close enough for you to see these birds. As our boat got close to the islands, the birds circled around and around, giving us a fantastic show and a good opportunity to get some great pictures. Unfortunately ... read more
Swan's Cay AKA Bird Island
Tropicbird flies over Bird Island
Red-billed Tropicbird

Zapatilla II (or minor) island is one of the two beatiful Zapatilla Keys. These two islands are located on a coral platform that is defined, toward the open sea, by the breakers that are formed as the waves crash on the reef. Zapatillas Keys lie inside the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park. They are famous for their beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, coral reefs and small but shady forests. We took a picnic lunch and boated out there to do some swimming, relaxing, beachcombing, and walking through the forest on a trail raised above the swampy forest floor. The weather is hot even though the day was mostly cloudy, and we were careful to wear t-shirts to protect our backs when snorkling and to apply lots of sunscreen. The sun is strong even through the clouds, ... read more
Coming up to Zapatilla II
Coconut on the beach
Sand Dollar

Dolphin Bay Hideaway is the name of the place we are staying at. It is located on Isla San Cristobal, which is one of the smaller islands in the group. It feels like the end of the earth here. Everything here comes by boat - people, food, water, other supplies. Bocas town on the main island of Colon is the "big town" where Erika and Jose (the owners of the B&B) do their shopping, and "big town" is a stretch! Guests like us are picked up in town, and Erika always sends a list with Jose of things she needs him to pick up. Erika is Hungarian, and speaks spanish and English perfectly; she runs the show. Jose is Indigenous and knows or is related to just about everyone around the islands. He speaks spanish and ... read more
Micky the parrot
Path at Dolphin Bay
Dawn feeding Mickey

Now we are on the second leg of our trip, and on our own. We shared a van with several other people which was nice, because we all went across the border together. Good thing, because even though I had read about this experience, it was still extremely strange. First, we had a very long ride from San Jose – about 6 hours with a short stop for a bite to eat along the way. The countryside is pretty, and the people live with very little – at least by our standards. The housing is sure different than what we are accustomed to seeing anyway. Then, once we finally get to the border of Panama, the van driver tells us to take all of our suitcases and other stuff and get off. We follow him to ... read more
05 In line to exit Costa Rica
06 Drag your suitcases across the bridge to cross the border

This map shows the second part of our trip. A looong bus ride from San Jose, CR to Bocas del Toro, Panama. We cross the boarder at Changuinola, then catch a water taxi across to Bocas. After 3 days there, we head back to the mainland and into the mountainous interior of Boquete. We will take a day trip to Isla Boca Brava on the Pacific Coast, then will fly back to San Jose from David.... read more

The last day of the tour, we had a long drive from the Guanacaste coast back to San Jose. On the way we stopped at the Carara National Park, which has a brackish series of canals that are home to crocodiles as well as an amazing assortment of birds. Luckily, they hand out a brochure with pictures and names of the various birds so that we can identify our pictures after we have left and have forgotten the names we were told. It allows you to just appreciate the moment without worrying about trying to remember everything. It really is sensory overload out here. The guides take pieces of chicken along to feed the crocodiles, bringing them to the boat and out of the water so the tourists can take pictures. We weren’t disappointed, as we ... read more
Dry landscape in Guanacaste
Looking over the river of Carara Park
Great White Heron

We had a couple of days to relax in a really nice 5-star beach resort on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. The sun is hot (80 - 100 degrees F), and we have a nice sandy beach and surf to play in. The second day is really windy, so we had to get off the beach as we were beiong sandblasted. But, the resort has a very nice pool, and by afternoon we are sunburned and hot anyway, so we head indoors to the air conditioning. The food is fantastic - there are so many deserts we couldn't try them all in 2 days! Sunsets across the water are beautiful both nights. Steve took a time lapse photo showing the surf and the moon shining on the ocean.... read more
Pool area on JW Marriott Resort in Guanacaste
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Less than an hour away from Arenal, we stopped for a hike in the rain forest that involves 2 miles of trails and five or six long suspension bridges through the forest canopy. The trail is very steep, taking you both up and down, and is paved with a honeycomb pattern stone that is there to provide traction in the wet conditions. It works well for that purpose, but it sure is difficult to walk on! With the heat and humidity, and the steep trails, it seems like the longest 2 miles ever. Steve is stubborn, and would not give up, so we hiked the whole trail. Being in the middle of this amazing green rain forest is something that is hard to describe. We had a bit of drizzle, but mostly it was just mist. ... read more
Leaf Cutter Ants
Poison Dart Frog
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We arrived in Fortuna in the pouring rain, so the volcano was not visible. It rained all night, but cleared up the next day to allow us to enjoy another river cruise. We drove north toward the border of Nicaragua to the town of Los Chiles. Then we borded a water taxi with another naturalist guide who took us up the Rio Frio to the Cano Negro wildlife refuge. We saw lots of blue heron, cormorants, anhingas, white herons, lizards, iguanas and caimans (like crocodiles). We also saw more howler monkeys and white faced capuchin monkeys. We got a great video of an anhinga (like a great blue heron) who had caught a fish. First, they spear it with their beak. Then, while it is on their beak, they beat it on a rock or log ... read more
Chilling at the bar in the hot pool
View of hotel's hot pools and grounds
Beautiful pink angel trumpet

This was an incredible day! Tortuguero Park is a naturalist's dream. Our "hotel" could only be reached by a 45-minute boat ride up the Tortuguero canal. We stayed at Pachira Lodge, where we had our own cabin on stilts in the rain forest. It is rustic, with no televisions, phones or air conditioning. The trees surrounding the cabins are filled with howler monkeys, who wake you up before sunrise with incredibly loud grunting and barking sounds. Not to mention the many species of birds. We went on 2 canal cruises with local wildlife guides spotting and explaining about the birds, animals and plants that we saw along with way. We would never have seen as much as we did without them. In between, we enjoyed the lovely pool and walked around the beautiful grounds. It is ... read more
This is the entrance to Pachira Lodge
Clay-colored Robin

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