We are back from Costa Rica, a destination chosen by Sr. Jr. as a bar mitzvah present. We had a truly wonderful time, even with my gimpy ankle and some rain. The country is just beautiful, with amazing birds, plants, and animals anywhere you look.
For the first part of our trip, we stayed near the Arenal volcano, at the Naraya. The hotel was amazing, beautiful accommodations, amazing grounds, and fantastic service. This was the very first picture I took upon arriving, a view of the volcano:
Every now and then, the volcano would rumble and we'd see smoke come out the top. Occasionally, we'd even see some smoking rocks land on the side of the mountain, too.
This was very cool, but a little unnerving.
The ground of the hotel were filled with amazing plants and flowers. I wish some of them would grow here! Here's a bunch of plant/flower pics:
One day, the boys went on a hike up to the waterfall and swam in the waters below. My ankle prevented me from doing that, and the pics are on Mr. T's camera, so imagine waterfalls and swimming boys here.
Another day we went for a tranquil float down the river, where we saw sloths, monkeys, amazing birds like Olive-throated Parakeets, Chestnut-Mandibled Toucans, White-Throated Magpie Jays (photos later - these birds would lurk by the restaurant at the beach to try to steal sugar packets), Passerini's Tanagers (gorgeous!), Blue and Gold Tanagers, and Orioles, among many others that I can't identify.
We also saw long-nosed bats:
Lizards, cows, and this guy:
who did not eat us (professional courtesy ;p)
So there we were, floating down a river in the middle of Costa Rica, when we got out and went up to a small snack stand to meet the van. As we were walking up from the riverside, we saw hundreds of cyclists riding by. A bike race. I can't escape it. Mr. T was enthralled.
We also did a hanging bridges tour through the rainforest. This was a lot of fun, if a bit scary up there on the swinging bridges. That was a bit hard on my ankle, but I'm glad I did it. We saw all sorts of things that we'd only seen on the Discovery Channel, like leaf-cutter ants, poison dart frogs:
and all sorts of amazing plants and views:
(this is a shot down from the bridge we were standing on)
(way up in the canopy)
Tomorrow: at the beach in Tamarindo, with monkeys!