Monday, March 4, 2013

Costa Rica

This is a ridiculous amount of photos, but there is just so much to love about Costa Rica, we had an absolutely marvelous time.  The flowers were gorgeous, not sure what this flower is, but we saw a lot of them.  Some of the trees were blooming with bright orange flowers and there were azaleas blooming everywhere.

This is a photo of the Red Banana Flower

The above two photos are of our hotel, we stayed at the Flying Crocodile, I recommend it, but you do have to have a four-wheel drive vehicle to get there.  All the rooms were little cabanas, this was ours.  The top photo is the front and the bottom one is taken from the back.  Our room was on top with the balcony and my son and daughter-in-law had the room as you walk in down below.

This is a photo of the inside of our room.  At night we could see the stars and the breeze would blow through, we thought we would need the air conditioning, but found we preferred the semi-cool (low 70s to upper 60s) night air. There were just sheets to cover with so the air conditioning made it almost too cool.  I loved waking up to the jungle sounds.  At 4am the rooster next door would start in and about 10 to 15 minutes later the howler monkeys began, then the tropical birds started up, it was a wonderful way to wake up.

This was our bathroom.  The tile work in all the bathrooms was amazing.

This is Playa Samara.  My favorite beach was Playa Carrillo, though I did not get a photo of it, the water was bathtub warm, the waves steady, but gentle and the sand white and soft.  We went boogie boarding for hours at Playa Carrillo, I would love to do that again.

Ok, so the area we stayed in is an estuary, called Esterones, just 6 kilometers north of Samara, and this is why you need the four-wheel drive vehicle.  The roads are amazingly rough, with hugh pot holes and then there is this river you have to drive through to get into the Esterones area.  We were there in the dry season, but during the rainy season you will need to take the long way around as this river will be too full to drive through, however you will still need the four-wheel drive for those muddy, pot holed, and hilly roads, no pavement in this area.

These are the howler monkeys, I miss them for the racket they make.  I loved that dinosaur/roaring lion sound when they appear to be giving a warning.  Other times they sound like a dog barking as they communicate.  They begin to howl early in the morning and throughout the day whenever there is a loud noise.

At the Flying Crocodile they have ultralight gyroplanes that will take you up for an above ground tour, I immediately signed up.  This is my husband returning from his flight, we all loved it.  Below is a river I flew over and you may be able to see the crocodile sunning himself on the edge of a gravel bar, right in the middle of the photo.

The above two photos are from my flight, he flies you up quite high and then swoops back down close to the ground to get a better look.  In these photos I am above the pacific ocean looking down at beaches and boats.  The water is so clear you can see way down and it looks like there are mountains under the ocean.  On my flight I saw a manta ray and a large turtle in the ocean.  Some others in my family saw a whale with its baby.

There are fruit stands everywhere in Costa Rica.  At this stand we had the pleasure of encountering cashew fruit for the first time.  The stem of the fruit is where we get cashews, which explains to me why they are so expensive.  The stand owner let me taste the fruit, it was slightly tart and left a dry taste in my mouth like the fruit contained a lot of tannin.  Sadly I had no way to crack open the stem to get at the cashew.  We bought a bag of fresh cashews though, so that satisfied us. 

This trip was a truly an adventure, we flew on an ultralight, went zip lining, boogie boarding in the ocean, saw wild life and plants we have never seen before, and above all made new friends.  We fell in love with Costa Rica and the small congregation we spent time with, we left a piece of our heart there and hope to return.

Pura Vida!