Costa Rica 2011 part 4

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Binoculars in hand

Following on from Part 3, we travelled over to the Arenal volcano, the most active cone in Costa Rica and one of the world’s most active volcanoes. The last major eruption was in 1968.

We stopped at a checkpoint hut, where we changed for a cycle ride, but the cloud was low, and rain was threatening, so we didn’t get any decent photos of the volcano, and after a wet ride, returned to the hut to get dry and changed.

Our stop this evening was in Sarapiqui region where they grow banana, pineapple and palms.

I realise I haven’t mentioned much about Costa Rica in general – it is very progressive in its Environmental policies, and hopes to become carbon neutral next year.

It doesn’t have an army, USA looks after its security, and has spent the money on education instead.

The lodge is next to the Sarapiqui river, and they feed the birds in the central lawn, so the afternoon was spent with out binoculars in hand.

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Bananaquit
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Bananas
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Log-tailed tyrant
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The grounds of the lodges

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a little bird that flew into the restaurant and landed on our guide’s shirt.

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Woodpeckers trying to take over

The lawn was home to dozens of tiny strawberry, or blue jean frogs, that chirruped constantly.

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a blue jean or Strawberry frog

That evening there was an optional bat viewing trip, which we decided to miss, but when we strolled around the cabins, found our own bats in plain view, roosting under the roof of one of our huts.

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The second day started with a jungle walk, where we saw lots of creepy crawlies, and birds of course. We stopped for lunch next to a pineapple plantation, and our guide cut fresh pineapples for us to eat – you’ve not tasted real pineapple until you have one that fresh.

That afternoon we had the best activity of the trip – a zip wire through the rain forest.

After a climb up through the forest, and then up ladders up the trees, we then travelled down a series of zip wires, ending with a long wire across the river.

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I think you can tell we enjoyed that.

Costa Rica 2011 Part 3

spread warm volcanic mud over ourselves with paint brushes

Back to our Costa Rica travels, following on from Part 2

Our next days adventure included a stop in the Carara National Park for a Crocodile cruise.

We set off along the river in a smallish boat similar to this.

P1030231We caught sight of lots of wildlife as we motored along this wide river,  as this is a Biological Reserve known for its birdlife.

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Then we stopped at the side of our river where our skipper had seen a large crocodile, and he proceeded to jump ashore and feed this 4 meter croc some chicken.

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Rather him than me, but I presume this is a daily occurrence, and they know the croc well, and he is well fed.

More bird spotting on the return trip

 

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and I spotted this turtle on the bank

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I decided not to use the facilities onshore!

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Back on the minibus and onwards to the Rincon de la Vieja national Park and volcano. This is part of the Cordillera de Guanacaste, a great central volcanic massif made up of 5 active volcanoes.

Our residence here was the Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin,  an acrtve cattle ranch,with stables housing the horses nearby.

The first evening we were taken out to a Rodeo, which was just an entertainment, with no harm to any beasts, showing off the skills of the cowboys.

 

The first days we walked around the flank of the volcano, seeing where their geothermal power station was, and checking out the wildlife.

In the afternoon, I took the option activity of tubing down a nearby canyon, while Ian relaxed in the hammock strung across the hassienda supports.

The next day we had a horse ride up the volcano to a mud spa. Ian had not ridden horses before, so I arranged for him to have a few lessons during the autumn, to give him more confidence for this.

First we visited the Oropendola waterfall, 25 metre high, and a chance to swim in the cold water below.

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The ride gave us great scenery, and took us up to the spa, where we could see mud bubbling away

 

and lots of wildlife

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Hummingbird

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Leaving our steeds at the gate, we walked up to the spa.

For the spa, we had a sauna, then spread warm volcanic mud over ourselves with paint brushes, and laid down in the sun to dry.

Then after a shower, we sat in thermal pools, dipping our toes in each to find one of a suitable temperature.

Relaxed and freshened, if still a little muddy, we returned to the horses for the ride back down, and to dinner, and a stunning sunset over the volcano.

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