Lyla en voyage


Lyla en voyage

My favourite places have been ones that I wasn’t originally expecting to be crazy about, so here's hoping that the surprises won't stop rolling in.

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » Puntarenas » Quepos February 12th 2018

We had a leisurely start to our morning before being picked up at our casa for a boat tour through the Damas estuary. The estuary runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean and is filled with mangroves. We had excellent wildlife viewing here as well and saw many birds including the world’s smallest kingfisher. White faced capuchin monkeys scrambled through the mangroves looking for food, we saw tree crabs, bats sleeping under a leaning tree trunk, iguanas in the trees, a four eyed opossum who was NOT happy we peeked in on him and a silky anteater that took forever to spot because our instructions were to look for a brown “clump” in the trees where our guide was pointing. We eventually spotted him (he was sleeping and balled up tribble style). We have so many beautiful ... read more
angry opossum
dirty monkey
Silky anteater

Another great day in paradise started with a home cooked breakfast in our sweet digs before heading out to check out some souvenirs. On our long drive yesterday we passed a small patch of souvenir sellers that had colourful tablecloths hung up for sale. They also happened to be next to the (we now know) renowned “crocodile bridge” in Tarcoles. Since it was a beautiful morning three of us hopped in the car to check them out. We made a pit stop on the way to check out a souvenir shop en route - I’m always on the hunt for a magnet as a memento. Mostly we were looking to see what was on offer and what the typical prices were. It took us just under an hour to get to Tarcoles and although the crocodiles ... read more
Path to the beach
Capuchin at the beach

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » Puntarenas » Quepos February 10th 2018

Today we drove a measly 192 km....and it took us a whopping 4 hours. Back home, because of our long, flat multi-lane highways, that distance might take two hours max (and that’s assuming you respect the speed limit). Here, you can expect to go between 30 and 60km/hr on the majority of roads. Add to that roads that are mostly single lane, often hilly and sometimes unpaved. Although we’ve read comments about bad drivers, in truth we haven’t seen many (and certainly not more on average than back home). It’s just slow going - steep hills, sharp turns, towns popping up, people and dogs walking on the road, sluggish trucks and motos that you can’t always pass (because of all the reasons just noted). The key, really, is just to accept it. It’s slow because it ... read more
the Pacific
rice and beans
Her favourite spot

Today’s excursion (for three of us - T opted to go see La Fortuna waterfall - her take on that below) was a combo tour and volunteer at a local wildlife rescue centre, Proyecto Asis. The centre takes in injured animals or animals that were previously (illegally) kept as pets or tied up and on display at hotels/restaurants. The centre takes them in with the goal of rehabilitating them to return to the wild. If an animal cannot be rehabilitated, it has a permanent happy home with them. The property is quite big and there are also wild animals on the grounds. It was truly fascinating to learn how much goes into rehabilitating an animal. Some birds that were kept as pets never learned to fly because they were in small cages or the owners clipped ... read more
macaw habitat
Drunk raccoon

Today we opted for another suspended bridge trek, this time at Mistico hanging bridges. We enjoyed the Monteverde one a lot, and since this was a different eco-system (tropical rainforest instead of cloud forest) we jumped right in. Our guide, Indira, was remarkably knowledgeable and brought with her a scope we could use when she spotted something. As an added bonus, she was able to take pictures through the scope with a small lense camera...which anyone with a smart phone has! Wheeee. We saw the most critters so far here. Here are the ones I can remember: sloths, howler monkeys, two kinds of bats, lots of birds (motmot, white hawk and others), leaf cutter ants and some totes adorbs hummingbirds. We also had a short detour off the main trail to see some waterfalls up close. ... read more
white lined bat - he should be asleep
Hanging bridge
two toed sloth

The geothermic activity at the Arenal Volcano means there is a plethora of naturally heated hot springs to enjoy in the area and many of the springs seem to have miraculously sprouted up on the grounds of a hotel! Amazing, I know. After a leisurely start to our day, we headed out to enjoy some and opted for one of the best reviewed that just happened to be in some pretty swank surroundings. Once inside, another miracle of nature..some of the springs had SWIM UP BARS attached to them. After testing a couple of the 25 pools on site, we settled on a quiet spot (“the Roman baths”) that had beautiful shade and water that, at 20 degrees celsius, was one of the least hot. It also had a cold plunge pool to cool down, and ... read more
Red-eyed tree frog
Jesus Christ, lizard.
Net making spider

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » Alajuela » Arenal February 6th 2018

For today’s adventure we did the quintessential Costa Rica thing and took a 2 hour walk in the cloud forest on a series of suspended bridges. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds. We had an extremely knowledgeable guide, Jorge, and the walk through the cloud forest was spectacular. We encountered a bunch of army ants on our trail that Jorge told us to run past quickly (you know, for safety). We saw a few birds, a tree that creaks and many a beautiful view. There were ferns the size of elephant ears - it was like something out of Jurassic Park (I’m pretty sure I saw a velociraptor lurking in there somewhere). We learned a lot - tons of info about the local flora (like which plants we could eat), that the things Tarzan ... read more

We left SJ at about 9:45am (ish) in our rental car to head out to Santa Elena in the Monteverde area. A lot of travel sites recommended renting a 4-wheel drive vehicle for getting around Costa Rica, so we did. A substantial Nissan Xterra that looked sufficiently roomy...until of course we brought our luggage out. After some Tetris-like manoeuvring (which involved sacrificing some leg room for extra trunk space) we got all our gear in and hit the road. It was here I noted that I also forgot the clip (3) to mount my iPhone. Sheesh. On our last trip, T et moi used a great offline navigation app to get around and are doing the same this time, but no clip means the navigator holds the phone for the driver the whole time. With T ... read more
This patch of road looks decent
An agouti is by the front of the car
Mmmmmm coffee

Today we took an excellent walking tour around San Jose. We started in front of the Teatro Nacional and our excellent guide led us to various points of interest throughout the city. We passed through some absolutely beautiful parks, heard the stories behind some fantastic statues and historical buildings. My favourite thing our guide did was stop and ask locals what a particular statue meant to them, or who does this painting remind you of... so very cool. Everything was interesting but my highlights were: the story of the uprising of girls from a local high school to essentially call bullshizzle on their then president (they *may* have burned a building down...oops), the present day political goings on (we are here on Election Day!) and an encounter with a type of eucalyptus tree that has leaves ... read more
Lunch at La Tortillera
SJ map
Coat of arms for Costa Rica

Woo hoo! I was super excited for this trip but holy crisp was I ever down to the wire to get packed and ready. I had to be up at 4:00am and went to bed at 1:30am. Urgh. I’m usually freakishly organized, but this is my first trip post-new puppy and I didn’t account for all the extra stuff I’d have to do to get things ready for him. Plus, since I had a wonderful friend staying with my wee nugget while I was gone I wanted to leave him a clean house. I barely made it. I didn’t get around to cleaning my baseboards and ended up shoving piles of clean laundry in some random drawers. It also meant that, even though I made a packing list, I was sure when we left for the ... read more
My wee nugget
hydrangeas in bloom

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