Monday, January 14, 2013

Another Christmas Adventure--Costa Rica

It seems that Christmas has become a time for us to explore unknown places--that is, unknown to us. Last year it was historical, tumultuous, mysterious, revolution prone Egypt and Jordan--camel riding, pyramid climbing, temples and tombs. This year we chose beautiful, lush, nature at its best Costa Rica--rain forests, cloud forests, rivers, canals, rafting and ziplining. Very different places but both quite wonderful. The greatest joy of these trips, though, is the fun we have together and the memories that are forged and created for all of us but most particularly for Casey to carry with him through life. We are lucky that a 14 year old enjoys doing these things with his parents, so often this is not the case with teenagers. God blesses us.


Zip Lining

At one time, I would blog in real time as we experienced things; however, I find myself now choosing to use down time differently--reading a book, contemplating, lounging and watching life, maybe being ambitious enough to organize pictures from 3 cameras. I choose not to find time has disappeared in front of an iPad screen. With the journal that photos create, it is not too difficult to reconstruct when we get home. Plus, there is the added benefit of reliving the experience when writing and gazing into 600 visual records. Of course, it does take longer to write this way as pictures such as the one above cause me to reflect, remember and appreciate that moment we had. Such good memories.

As always, living on the west coast entails longer travel times than our east coast friends have..unless we are going to places like Hawaii, China and Japan. This time it was San Diego, Houston, San Jose (Costa Rica, that is.) We left Christmas morning as we wanted to have Christmas Eve with son Jeff, who then graciously took us to the airport as we abandoned him on Christmas day. We did make sure he had a few thousand piece Lego to keep him busy that day. No Christmas is complete for him without a Lego even though he is quite a grown man. 

We arrived in Costa Rica at 9:30 pm where we were met by a representative from Costa Rica Expeditions, whom I highly recommend when you decide to cross this country off your bucket list. After a short night of sleep, we were retrieved at 7:30 am to begin our acquaintance with sloths, toucans, monkeys, iguanas, crocodiles, caiman and at least 500,000 different birds. Casey was in his glory and now can give you the name of each of these birds. He and wildlife click.


Our first stop was La Paz Waterfall Gardens which had been recommended to me by friend Liz, an even more intrepid traveler than I. She is the one who gurued us re. Egypt and Jordan.  I knew if she approved of La Paz it was an OK side excursion before the real adventure began. La Paz is an animal sanctuary for rescued wild life which have been illegal pets or hurt in the wild. And, although the animals are penned, it is a way to see some of the elusive wildlife up close and personal. There are also wonderful butterfly and frog exhibits, ocelots, pumas, sloths and birds, of course. As in all of Costa Rica the foliage is lush, green and junglesque. There is a hike to and from the exquisite waterfalls but the trek is well worth the effort and, fortunately for me who is rather non-agile (read clumsy) at times, a wooden handrail to grasp.






   

We spent 3 or so hours here, including having a typical Costa Rican lunch of meats, rice and beans and wonderful fresh fruit, before heading off to our first destination, Arenal.


Our driver Doña Irma and our guide Gustavo were delightful. Driving in Costa Rica is not like driving in San Diego-which may or may not be a blessing; however, we were glad for Doña Irma's skills as some of the roads are a little challenging. It took three or so hours through coffee fields, mango groves and countryside to get to our lodge in Arenal, The Lost Iguana which was all that the website promised--beautiful, relaxing, wonderful service and a full view of the volcano...except we only saw part of it the first day and from them on it disappeared into the rain and mist. Although this was the "dry" season, as with much of the world these days, the climate is turned upside down. We had torrential rains almost our entire 4 day stay in Arenal. But...never fear....we didn't let water stop us and so we did all we planned...zip lining, white water rafting (after all rain couldn't make us any wetter than the rapids), hiking and more. All of this will be dutifully reported in episode 2 of the Costa Rica Adventure.


Our one and only view of the volcano  

More to come

4 comments:

Rebecca said...

You three have all the fun :)

Gil said...

You are such as good writer, I feel like I was there with your family.

Jane said...

Thanks, Gil. That was nice to read.

Terry Freemark said...

Jane, I'll be reading your account of Costa Rica with interest - it's always been on my bucket list. Sounds so good so far!