Welcome to the tropics

It’s hot! 

Today we woke to the sound of howler monkeys, though they were long gone by the time we got up & going.  We took a nice trip to the local beach, where we saw some cool birds & plants, walked around a bit, but mostly relaxed by or in the pool.

Back at the lodge, there were monkeys!  Red-backed squirrel monkeys are the most threatened monkey in this region, and we spent a large part of the afternoon observing them. We watched fascinated as a flock of toucans (which are bigger than these monkeys) came in and took control of the feeder platform full
of bananas. Here, one of the monkeys is peering out from his hiding place to see if the coast is clear.

Travel day

Today (the winter solstace) was a travel day.  We transferred to our new lodge, which was scheduled to take most of the day.  In fact, it took longer than even that fairly disappointing estimate. 

The trouble started when a tractor trailer was blocking a winding turn on the mountain road, requiring a tow truck to get traffic flowing again.  It continued as we witnessed some severe road & bridge damage as a result of hurricane Tomas this past fall.  Still, we eventually reached our destination unscathed and largely in good spirits.  And we did manage to see a few cool things along the way, including this toucan:


this is why it’s called a rainforest

After this morning’s quetzal (pronounced ketz-AHL) hike, we went back out after breakfast to hike to some nearby falls. The group wound up split into two: the slow-walking Birders, and the faster moving Walkers. Doug and I were among the Walkers, who actually made it to the falls, unlike the Birders. The thing I noticed as we hiked along is that every single surface is covered in green–low growing groundcovers, tall trees, but very few shrubs.
This afternoon, after lunch, we were driven up to the top of a hill in ATVs to take a 3 hour hike down. On the way, it started to pour. Buckets. Another woman and I decided this didn’t look like fun and came back down, and were soaked through anyway. I spread my stuff around to dry and took a hot shower; Doug appeared only 1 1/2 hours later, saying they hadn’t stopped at all, just trudged on down. I’m glad I missed it. Hopefully there are not too many more rains like that.

Quetzal & waterfall hike

We arose this morning at the stupid hour of 5:40 to get out before breakfast and try to find a Resplendant Quetzal, the primary “destination” bird for this part of the world. After a short search, we were successful!


We came back to the lodge for breakfast, then went on a short hike along the river to a waterfall. After lunch we’re going for another hike.  I will sleep well tonight!

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

We spent a great introduction to Costa Rica today at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, where we had a broad overview of the kind of wildlife & scenery we’ll be seeing over our time here.  We also spent far too much time in the bus, including a harrowing 5-mile, 2500 foot descent to our current location, Savegre Lodge. But we get to stay here for a couple of days, so that’s good.

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Today’s photo highlight is a hummingbird at a feeder at La Paz, one of approximately 8 different species (and approximately 8 billion individuals) that we saw today.

we made it

We arrived in San Jose late last night (early this morning?) and my Spanish lessons were sufficient to get us a cab and make it to the Hotel Buena Vista, where we promptly fell asleep. We have no grand plans for today; we need to rearrange our things in our backpacks and I need to clean up the conditioner that exploded inside my toiletries kit. We’ve already seen our first hummingbirds. We’ll meet our traveling companions at dinner tonight, then off to our first adventure tomorrow!

T minus 5 days

It’s hard to believe that in 5 days we will be getting on a plane bound for Costa Rica!  We’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time.

I’ve set up this blog in the hope that from time to time we’ll have some form of Internet access so we can post some thoughts and small pictures during our journey. Be sure to check back or put us into your feed reader, and with luck you’ll be able to follow along with us.