Blogs from Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Central America Caribbean

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What a relaxing day today! Except for the fact that a neighborhood dog woke us up frequently and we were unable to sleep after 5:30, this was an extremely comfortable bed with very soft sheets. and we woke up refreshed, just not long enough. Oh well. David was happy to do some birding in the am, and said buenos dias a few times to a man who was bicycling. The man eventually stopped and chatted – I could hear from a distance and was so very proud of David! I heard the word toucan and as they walked slightly further down the road I assumed the man knew where to show David a toucan. No, he was inviting David to see his garden (growing pineapples, cacao, and guanabana – that’s soursop) and even the inside of ... read more
CLAY COLORED THRUSH THE NATIONAL BIRD
CRIMSON COLLARED TANAGER
CROC NEARBY


Sadly our amazing visit to Costa Rica is coming to an end – just 1 more day till we leave ☹ This morning we had a guided walk thru the Bogarin Trail, a birding (and sloth) habitat virtually 2 blocks from the center of La Fortuna that was highly recommended to us by someone we met at Magee Marsh when birding for warblers a few weeks ago. Our guide Kenneth knew his stuff about birds. He did point out a sloth to the 2 other folks in our group, but he was a birder at heart. We ended up picking up some marvelous new birds – 8 all day: a MARVELOUS boat-billed heron (5 were sitting up in a bush near a pond) and an American pygmy kingfisher. It started raining on us (a little earlier ... read more
Black and White Owl
Black-cheecked Woodpecker
Black-headed Saltator


It was a busy day again today, which is why I didn’t get around to posting until the morning. We were eating breakfast at the very earliest hour of 6:30 am yesterday, but sure weren’t the only ones. Folks get up early here because the sun does too! We were picked up by van to go to the cloud forest walk. And what did we learn? That a cloud forest is different from a rainforest – because it’s where the weather from the Atlantic and Pacific crash into each other. The cloud forest is filled with epiphytes – air plants. We saw some amazing and huge ficus trees where the epiphytes had completely encased the original tree. It’s also full of avocado trees – which are mini fruit types in the wild – and loved by ... read more
Arenal volcano
Arroz con pollo shaped like volcano
black faced solitaire


Given that I couldn't be in Panama longer than 30 days, I had decided to cross back into Costa Rica to do two places I had missed earlier - La Fortuna and Tamarindo and then cross over to Nicaragua. I left from Boquete to David by the chicken bus, it was so slow that I almost missed my connection for going into Costa Rica. These are old school buses converted into local buses and hence sometimes have speed limits. Panama to Costa Rica was my first land border crossing in Central America and it went off smoothly. I traveled that day to San Jose, rested the night and headed to La Fortuna the next day. It was the Semana Santa week (Easter), so I knew there will be lot of tourists including locals, so to avoid ... read more
Rio Celeste
Rio Celeste
Arenal Volcano


It was beautiful they said.... I decided since I was already in the western hemisphere to go ahead and again visit my friend who was traveling central America. He didn't need to try too hard to convince me, especially when my Jetblue flight was canceled. I initially planned to fly to Jetblue to Liberia, Costa Rica, but while my sister and I were hiking with friends, she received a message from Jetblue. I had given them her number as I do not have a US number. Apparently, only Americans with American numbers are allowed to book American flights or some BS - it is really annoying. Anyway, we waited to listen and found out that that flight was also canceled. Wth? I thought Jetblue was one of the most reliable. I wound up rebooking with American ... read more
Playa Samara
Hotel las Mariposas - flooded and drained
Playa Samara - what have we done?


First new adventure since 2010!! Even selecting the country for this post was odd!! So far…Exploring a new country with an energetic, strong willed child is fun, exciting and oh so stressful at times…the way I do it at least!! I like to go with the flow and live locally. This makes planning hard!! So I chose to do almost no research, book 2 nights on a beach on the Pacific coast of CR and see what happened next!! Was told it was family friendly and a single friend I meet every year in India was supposed to meet me the day I arrived. Turns out she didn’t make the 8 hour journey in one day and instead arrived 3 days later due to traveller’s diarrhea attacks!! So day 1 I dragged taylor around in the ... read more
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We crossed the border from Nicaragua by foot as the sun was going down. We had a brief discussion with the sleepy border guards and then waited for the public bus. Immediately it was evident we were no longer in Nicaragua. The buses were more modern and comfortable, the roads were smoothly paved, people had to wear masks in indoor spaces. When we got to the small village not far from our auberge, the Cabañas Castillo, we descended from the bus and started walking the the twenty-minute hike with our big bags. We didn't have to walk for very much longer until someone stopped for us in an air-conditioned sedan and offered us a ride. We gladly accepted. As they dropped us off, they gave us their phone numbers and said if we needed anything, just ... read more
Goats milk for sale
Goats at Cabanas Castillo
Washing area with the German Shepherds


I left Monteverde for Playa Samara. Playa in Spanish means Beach. This time I took a shuttle (Interbus) as the alternative of public bus was changing multiple buses which I wasn't keen on doing. The shared shuttles cost typically about $55-60 but are point to point (hostel to hostel), so are convenient. They also operate an interesting system by which the drivers don't have to spend time away from their families. Basically all shuttles in that network converge at one common point, passengers are shifted from one shuttle to another so that the driver from a particular location goes back to his location. So I came from Monteverde to the common point in one shuttle, shifted to a shuttle which had come from Samara (with a local Samara driver) and reached Samara on that. Pretty simple ... read more
Playa Samara
Sunset at Playa Samara
Sunset at Playa Samara


Today does not start well. After waiting for an hour for a sandwich at the hotel restaurant yesterday, we opt to have breakfast elsewhere. The old man has spotted a place in the village which does a buffet breakfast. He’s very disappointed when he discovers it’s not self service. And there’s no return visits. I’m happy with my plate of pancakes, pineapple and plantain. When I planned our trip I had hoped to stay somewhat further south, close to Las Baulas National Park, where you can take a guided tour to watch leatherback turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. However, the park is 42 miles away and the tours don’t start until after dark. We don’t fancy driving such a long distance back in the dark, late at night. We decide to visit the National ... read more
Las Baulas
Las Baulas
Las Baulas


Today we are heading to the beach; to Playa Hermosa. It’s only a 20 mile drive, so there’s time for a leisurely breakfast (apart from the bit where we have to fight tooth and nail for a go on the toaster) Then I go for a swim whilst the old man crushes his candy (not a euphemism – he really does spend several hours a day playing candy crush). As the temperature hits 32 degrees, it’s time to check out and head for the Pacific coast. It should only be a 45 minute drive, but with the old man’s faffing (he left his hat in a restaurant and insists on going back, then gets lost in Liberia’s one way system) and my faffing (stops to photograph warning signs and a giant lizard) it takes twice as ... read more
Yes, really
Monkeys crossing
Hotel el Velero




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