Page 6 of MaRs BaRs Travel Blog Posts

Today, Renata and I are heading back to San Jose, for the start of the McMaster Alumni volunteer portion of our Costa Rican trip. Renata’s iphone still would not turn on after placing it in a bag of rice overnight. Sympathetically, I gave her my Samsung Galaxy S7 phone, so she would be able to take her own pictures for the rest of the trip. Renata’s wanted to have a fruit shake before we took the boat out of Tortuguero. At the time it seemed like a good idea until I had to badly run to the washroom while I was on the boat. Unable to enjoy the scenery, I was relieved when we finally reached La Pavona. I quickly paid the 1 US dollar to use the bathroom at the restaurant by the dock. When ... read more

Today we are heading out for an early morning canoe tour and day hike. The gloomy weather outside guaranteed that there was going to be a 100% chance of rain that day. So, I prepared my camera with my own plastic rain cover and used the dry bag provided by Tortuguero Tours as extra protection. Renata’s phone was still not working. Jessica, from Tortuguero Tours suggested that we try to place the phone in rice to help remove the humidity. So after the canoe tour, Renata and I are heading to the local store to buy some rice. At the Tortuguero Tours office we were treated to some fresh fruits and coffee while Jessica went to get our National park entrance tickets. We were also given binoculars to help us locate animals in the distance. On ... read more
Day Walk

Today, Renata and I are traveling from San Jose to Tortuguero. On the Caribbean coast, Tortuguero, has a prominent Afro-Caribbean vibe and a remote Amazon jungle sort of feel. The main attraction in Tortuguero, as the name suggests, is turtles. Green Sea Turtles, Leatherback, and Hawksbill turtles all nest on Tortuguero’s shores. However, since we are going in the off season, we are unlikely to see turtles. If we are lucky, we may catch a rare sighting of the leatherback turtle, the largest of living sea turtles. There are no roads leading to Tortuguero. The only way to get there is by boat or plane. We learned from research online that there is a way to take public transportation from San Jose to Tortuguero. After our first delicious typical Costa Rican breakfast of gallo pinto (rice ... read more
Boat Ride to Tortuguero
Night Walk
Boat Ride to Tortuguero

Pura Vida is Spanish for “Pure Life.” The phrase runs deep in Costa Rican culture. Costa Ricans use the term for multiple purposes: to say hello, goodbye, I’m great and everything’s good. Pura Vida is a relaxed, simple way of looking at life; no stress, no worries, being thankful and not dwelling on the negatives. People say you don’t quite understand what Pura Vida means until you come to Costa Rica. So, here we are, two sisters, on our epic journey to live the “Pura Vida Experience, Costa Rican style. Our first stop Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose. We arrived at Juan Santamaria International Airport at around 1:00pm. Getting through customs took a gruelling two hours and with traffic we finally arrived in San Jose around 4:00pm. However, we were not discouraged. It is all ... read more

North America » Canada » Ontario » Ottawa October 18th 2016

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 Day 4: Ottawa – Re-leafing prehistoric times, the life of the Governor General and Canadian art. Today, I am out on my own exploring the nation’s capital since Renata has to attend a conference for work. Since I had limited time and had to use up our remaining museum pass tickets, I visited the Canadian Museum of Nature as soon as it opened. Some of the interesting exhibits I saw were the fossil and the water gallery. There was even a real skeleton of a blue whale – the largest animal known on earth. I did not spend long at the Canadian Museum of Nature before I had to head off to Rideau Hall. Rideau Hall is the official residence of the governor general and his family. Most of Rideau Hall is ... read more
Meeting the dinos
A blue whale skeleton!

North America » Canada » Ontario » Ottawa October 17th 2016

Monday, October 17th, 2016 Day 3: Ottawa and Gatineau: Raking in mint and history! This morning, Renata and I woke up early to make are way for our morning tour of the Royal Canadian Mint. The Royal Canadian Mint produces Canada’s official and collector coins. On the tour we learned about how coins and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic medals were made. The wavy face of the Vancouver Olympic medals evoke the Vancouver-Whistler landscape. No two Olympic medals are the same. If you place all the same coloured medals together they will form two large master artworks; an orca whale for the (Olympics) and the raven for the (Paralympic). The Orca symbolizes powerful and knowing no boundaries while the Raven symbolizes creativity and agility. After the tour we got the chance to hold a golden nugget worth ... read more
Renata, rich for a second!
Getting some strength training!
Collector Coins

North America » Canada » Quebec » Gatineau October 16th 2016

Sunday, October 16th, 2016 Day 2: Gatineau and Ottawa: Raining fall in Gatineau Park and remembering the fallen at the Canadian War Museum. Today, was a very gloomy day. It was a grey morning on the verge of rain. We planned on being outdoors for the majority of the day. It was the last day to take the free shuttle bus from downtown Gatineau to the “Fall Rhapsody” festival in Gatineau Park. This is the first time Renata and I have been to Gatineau Park. With no easy way of getting to the park without a car, we had to take full advantage of the free shuttle even though there was a 100% chance of showers. Our first stop off the shuttle was Pink Lake. Named after a family of Irish settlers, Pink Lake is Gatineau ... read more
The Preservation Platform
Getting Wet
Reading the signs

North America » Canada » Ontario » Ottawa October 15th 2016

Saturday, October 15th, 2016 Day 1: Toronto to Ottawa – Feeling chilly at the capital and finding waterfalls in the fall! Since my sister had an upcoming work conference in Ottawa, we decided this would be the perfect time to explore our nation’s capital. I’ve only been to Ottawa once for a job interview but did not have much time to look around. My sister took a direct flight from Toronto to Ottawa courteously paid by her employer. I on the other hand had to pay for transportation; so I took the cheaper train instead. We both met up in Ottawa for lunch and after settling into our hotel room we went off to explore. I did not realize how cold Ottawa was going to be at this time of the year. In Toronto we were ... read more
Its Raining at the Waterfall!
Green Curry Chicken!

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Vancouver » Stanley Park August 17th 2016

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016 Day 15: Vancouver, British Columbia – Learning to ride a bike again! Today marked the end of our Alaskan cruise. Since our flight was not till the late evening, we still had a full day to explore Vancouver. Renata and I decided to check out Stanley Park. Stanley Park, is an enormous park in the middle of downtown Vancouver. Since it is a large park, we decided to rent some bikes to travel around the seawall. We had not ridden bicycles in years, so it took a while to get accustomed to riding them. The Vancouver seawall, is the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path. Along the way we passed a bunch of totem poles, Brockton Point lighthouse, the ‘girl in a wetsuit’ sculpture, the Lions Gate Bridge, and Siwash Rock. The whole ... read more
Stanley Park
Stanley Park
Stanley Park

North America » United States » Alaska » Inside Passage August 16th 2016

Tuesday, August, 16th, 2016 Day 14: Inside Passage, Alaska – Salsa class – Whale !!! For our last day at sea, we took advantage of the many activities onboard the ship. After a culinary class and delicious salmon bake we headed off to learn salsa on the upper crow’s nest deck. It was pretty hilarious, as the salsa teacher kept on losing our attention when we saw a whale breeching in the distance. Everyone, forgot about dancing and ran towards the windows to get a good view of the whales. After learning a few salsa steps that I don’t remember, Renata and I headed to the library to play our final game of scrabble while listening to some enticing classical music. Tomorrow, we have one more day left in Vancouver before we have to head back ... read more
The Great Alaskan Salmon Bake
I saw a whale breach!

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