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Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica September 2nd 2018

Having navigated the winding, hilly, coastal road to Playas del Coco at night we decided to explore this funky little beach town by day. We started with breakfast at the tiny Java 654 Coffee Shop on the road into town. It was highly rated on Trip Advisor so we felt safe in trying it and were glad we did. They served fabulous pastries and excellent coffee, but not at Tica prices. This is not fast food, this is good food! And the service is done with a smile. If you go, be sure to ask for the Crocantes de Nuez, they are worth every 1500 colones! We indulged in this lovely macaroon pastry and also had fruit and an egg sandwich and a banana chocolate smoothie. Yes, I really did that. There is a cozy little ... read more
Playas del Coco harbor
Making ice rolls at Johann's
Mandy and Kate eating the delicious mango coconut ice rolls


Mandy and I woke early to hear the roar of the Howler Monkeys. I ran off to photograph them in my night clothes causing the guards to chuckle. We wanted to savor every last minute so we grabbed our coffees, books and cameras, swept off a lounge chair to read and spent the last precious morning on the beach. From under the tall palms I looked out to the ocean and watched the fishermen prepare for their day at sea while the birds floated in the ocean around the boats or perched on the boats’ biminis hoping to catch a stray fish. Monkey Island stood out at the edge of the bay and behind it, the mountains’ sharp outline defined by the morning sky. Mandy relaxed with her book, enjoying the special last peaceful morning. Kate ... read more
Moonrise on our last morning at Bosque del Mar


It was our last part of the trip. We decided to do a little road trip. We went to Zarcero. On the way we stopped to Grecia, to see the church made of metal plates. We also stopped at Sarchi to see and buy some handicrafts. In region of Zarcero, views are splendid and reminds a bit of Switzerland. In Zarcero city, there's a nice topiary in front of the church. The church itself has 2 towers that look like missiles, (!!). On the way back, we went South to Atenas, one of the places that was tagged as one of the most ideals weathers of the world. In the "zocalo", like all other spanish cities, there's a beautiful park, and we sat there a little while to see people go by and eat some ice ... read more
zarcero church and its missiles.
zarcero
Bye bye Costa Rica!


Having read that the Osa peninsular is one of the last great jungle destinations in Costa Rica (and maybe the whole of Central America) we thought we ought to visit. However we need to compromise, so can just go to Drake Bay for a couple of days. To really experience the area we would need to travel into the national park here, but we don’t have the time to do this (and it is not cheap once you add in the cost of park fees, park lodges and guides). We have a good room in the main village, but it’s unfortunately close to the local karaoke bar so we are kept entertained by singing until about 1:30am. There is an excellent walk we do from the village and though it does not go into the park ... read more


San Gerardo is the base for hiking Chirripo, at 3820m Costa Rica’s highest mountain, though that’s not the only reason we’ve come here. Our guidebook makes it sounds like a scenic small village nestled in the hills with a few good accommodation options, and while we’re here I’ll see if I can be tempted to climb the mountain The decision on Chirripo turns to be easy. J isn’t interested in the hike and I’m not keen to do this by myself as it is a fairly tough walk, but there aren’t any permits to stay in the park available for the next 4 days (a Dutch girl at our hostel gets the last one). It seems quite odd given this is low season and the village is all but deserted. Instead we find that there is ... read more


Are you driving from Guanacaste or San Jose to South Pacific Costa Rica or even only Manuel Antonio? The you need to stop at a very special place: the bridge over the Rio Tarcoles. From the bridge you can see dozens of huge American crocodiles, and you don't need to pay anything! you might see some other water birds as well, along with macaws on mornings and evenings, when they do their daily "commute" between Carara park and the mangroves. One important thing though: make sure to leave no valuables in your car!! I saw some people with doors unlocked that had their luggage stolen in less than 10 minutes.. because it's a popular stop. Right after the river, (Southbound), starts the Carara national park. It's a transition zone between dry and humid forest. Park is ... read more
green and black dart frog
Crocodiles in rio Tarcoles
crocodile


Tortuguero means “turtle hunter” but there’s very little of that happening in the town (more of a village) of the same name these days. Tortuguero is THE place in the Western hemisphere to see nesting turtles and the people here are wise to the tourism opportunities that this brings – virtually everyone here is involved in the turtle tourism business. There are however still some turtle hunters around, but these aren’t human. There is a decent jaguar population in the surrounding area and according to estimates we saw about 100 turtles are killed each year by them. There is a national park in Tortuguero, but it’s tough to access much of it as the area is thick jungle by the coast and there are no roads. Just to get here you need to take a 1 ... read more


People don’t really come to Santa Elena/Monteverde to see bats, but it turns out there is an excellent live bat display just outside town. The connection is that there are plenty of bats native to the Monteverde area, there’s not a huge amount to see, but it’s the sheer enthusiasm of the folk who run it that makes this a great place to visit. I’m surprised but we can take pictures of the bats, though it is very hard to get good ones as the bats aren’t keen to stay still for too long. The main attraction here though (excluding the adventure parks which might well be the main reason for some to come) are the cloud forest reserves. There are actually 3 separate reserves you can visit, we do 2 of them, both on self-guided ... read more


What is the ideal climate? It depends on everyone's preferences and metabolism! For me that enjoys animals of all kinds and plants a lot, I like a place that is green all year round. This is in the tropics mainly, but not a sea level. an altitude of about 1000 meters in the tropics, is perfect. It's like normal days of summer but with no extremes. That's what you have in all of central valley Costa Rica, but some places have the wow factor, like Atenas in the West, but also the very beautiful Orosi valley , South-East of Cartago. The Orosi valley is surrounded by little mountains that grow coffee on the slopes. The city of Orosi it not too big, and nature is very close on all sides. In same region, we visited the ... read more
Orchid lankaster gardens
heron
lankaster


Our first stop out of San Jose is one of the top destinations in Costa Rica, La Fortuna, 136km from San Jose and 4 hours by bus over the range of volcanos that stretches across the middle of the country. It’s home to Arenal, an active volcano, though you almost wouldn’t know it’s there, as for the 3 days we are here we only see a glimpse of the volcano on one day, the rest of the time it’s shrouded in cloud and down in the town we are drenched in rain. As well as the volcano and hot springs, the rainforest experience is the main attraction here and if you have the time and money there are a myriad of rainforest experiences to be had, ranging from guided nature walks to zip-lining and rafting. We ... read more




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