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Monday, March 5, 2012

Costa Rican adventure. Mardi Gras break 2012.






















First stop, 3 nights at the El Silencio resort near Sarchi. In the cloud forest of Costa Rica.






















This place was awesome. Beautifully quiet and scenic views. I loved this little rock garden outside the main lodge.























Our room had a porch overlooking the landscape with great birdwatching. See Josh below.






















One of the main reasons I liked this resort was because of all the waterfalls on the property. We hiked to all three with this one at last.























Gorgeous.























So much wildlife and exotic plants. This vine was called Hot Lips.























We had an outdoor hot tub and the spa was very nice for a massage (after all that hiking). El Silencio is considered an EcoHotel and it did not disappoint. We had a personal EcoConcierge who helped us every day with our activities. There was a chicken coup for eggs,  cooked at our morning breakfast. (Mathilda happily got up each morning to collect them.)


















They had an organic garden as well, if you wanted to pick some veggies for your salad.The onsite trout pond was stocked for your dinner meal. (The kids caught these 4 very easily)























One day at El Silencio, we took a day trip to the Arenal Volcano area for ziplining and a visit to the hot springs at Tabacon. Jimmy, our driver, stopped off for some snacks on the way.






















And Mose found this snack, yet not quite ready for eating.






















We had a great view of the Arenal volcano from La Fortuna, where we stopped for coffee and bird books.






A pretty little church in La Fortuna.





Jimmy knew of a guy who owned a small nature preserve near the zipline and with an hour to kill, we checked it out. Most people who know us, know we are birders, some (Mose/Josh) more than others (me). A highlight for me-the none bird watcher- was this amazing hummingbird's nest. The eggs were the size of jelly beans. So cool.




We also saw this little Blue Jean dart frog. Sweet.



There were some very big iguanas at our next stop.




The zipline was crazy fun. The highest and longest in Costa Rica. With 8 lines over and through the rain forest. It was awesome. It rained on us, as well, so we got the full effect. Here we are in the tram that takes you up.




The kids hanging on. It was sooooo fun!



On the fourth day we hopped a very small plane to Drake Bay, which is on the Osa Pennisula in the southern Pacific area. 





We stayed at another EcoResort called La Paloma Lodge. It was very special. High on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. Lush and secluded. 






The beach at La Paloma.






















































Outside our room, the Capuchin monkeys would come in the mornings and evenings and use our roof as a shortcut to the apples they wanted. So cute. Mose also spotted a sloth up there.





















We took a boat out to see some marine life.






We caught up with 3 humpback whales, a large turtle and some dolphins.





















The beach and resting spot in the Corcovado National Forest Ranger Station.





















We went on a great hike here to a couple of waterfalls.










































We could rely on Mose for super fast creature identification. We made a list of all the birds and animals, reptiles, etc that we saw. Over 50+ varieties were documented. Including howler monkeys, spider monkeys, macaws, sloth, spotted dolphin, Olive Ridley turtle, Great Kiskadee, Yellow Crowned Night Heron, scorpion, trap door spider, White-nosed Coati, Long-nosed bat, headlight bug, fireflies, Gaudy Leaf Frog, Green Shrike-Vireo, Blue Morpho butterfly and tons more.





On another tour we went snorkeling at Cano Island. Mose is an excellent shell collector. He has an eye for the special ones, which he found for me, in large quantities.



I called these the umbrella trees. An unbelievably tall, thin trunk with a perfect umbrella canopy. Very dramatic. 




On the Osa. Josh heading over a hanging bridge over a beautiful stream. We kayaked it one day.




I had arranged with La Paloma to do a little community service while in Drake Bay. We brought supplies to make our famous pipe cleaner bracelets and keychains with the kids studying english at the local lower school. We had a great time. We left them with markers, color pencils and other supplies, as well.























Mathilda teaching english.









With the teacher and a couple of students in Drake Bay.



I just loved the amazing flora. Everything was oversized. Red banana here.

Big smile, bigger leaf!!


Next we hopped another plane to Tamarindo to visit our friends, the Koerner's, who live on the beach near Playa Grande. On the northern Pacific coast.






















The beach and the boogie boarding at the Koerner house was fabulous. The first night sunset with Jackson and Chase.





To my delight I found tons of Mermaid's Trumpet shells on the K beach.



And Mose lost his head:-D




The mornings at Playa Ventanas were equally as wonderful. We walked with Gumbo and Lily,




while throwing the football to check out the tidal pools.




The low tide left the rocks with tide pools to be discovered. One of my favorite things to do is hunt tide pools. We found sea urchins, sea slugs, lobster, tiny fish, etc.



And one very big fish, ha:)


We all got in a surf lesson.



With lots of time for more boogie boarding.


And hanging out with Louis and Louisita (aka Chase) at Lola's on Playa Avellanas beach.



On our last day, the Koerners and their friends took us out on a catamaran for snorkeling and sunset sailing. It was a perfect day with rum punch and tacos.






It was a fan-tastic trip (sorry:). Exotic and exciting.



Pura Vida.



The end:)
























































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