july12.31.jpg Costa Rica

A country full of birds, animals, and adventure! Our summer travels took us to Costa Rica where we found a country a lot more expensive than it was 15 years ago, but still full of new experiences.

Costa Rica Animals

Costa Rica Birds

Costa Rica Hummingbirds

Our Trip Recommendations for Costa Rica

1. On our visit, we went to Tortuguero with a great tour company. If you decide to go, I would highly recommend Francesca Tours (http://tortuguerocanals.com/)

We saw more birds and wildlife than anyone else we met, got lots of insight,saw turtles nesting, mating, and in the ocean, had good food and accommodations, and got a good value for our money.

2. San Jose is a good place to get tours out of but not much more in my opinion. The local color is too much like the US. I recommend taking a day tour to see Volcan Irazu, a coffee plantation (if you've never visited one), and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. The gardens were a wonderful place to see waterfalls and hummingbirds. I used the link below and though it seems expensive -- everything in Costa Rica was expensive -- they did pickup/dropoff at the hotel, provided great food, and really good service.


3. For lodging in San Jose, a good choice is The Hemingway Inn. It was reasonably priced, conveniently located, and a friendly and helpful staff. They can help arrange tours and even flyfishing trips.


4. A good place to visit to see local color and the famous Costa Rican oxcarts is in Sarchi. Try and combine it with another tour in that area for another good day trip.

5. We visited the Mirador del Quetzales in our quest to see the Quetzales and really enjoyed the place we stayed; it was pricy but the small staff tried hard. It was a refreshing change from the rainforest as it was cool and fresh; we even needed a heater at night! There were several places to hike in the woods. At the national park nearby, we even saw evidence of a Danta, a giant taiper.Come the night before and you can go out on the morning hike and hike the trails before heading on to your next destination.


6. FYI - the airport tax to leave Costa Rica is $28.00 per person.

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aaSteve at Volcan Irazu outside San Jose, Costa Rica aaTrees in the canals in Tortuguero have large root systems
Some of the trees even had leaves that point downward so that they get rid of moisture because they get too much in this location.

I'll share my favorite memory of the trip - we were at a volcanic lake in Costa Rica and the clouds were covering everything so that we couldn't see anything. We were waiting and looking, hoping it would clear up so we could see the volcano, lake, and landscape below - including the Caribbean Sea - and I was in the middle of this group of older ladies that started singing praise songs, in Spanish, to God, and the more they sang, the clearer it got, until all the clouds just blew away. It was amazing. They called on God and praised Him and He showed up. It just reminded me how often we forget to do that and don't call on the power and grace of God to be there in whatever circumstances in our lives; and, you have to do it unabashed love and no worry of what those around you might think. I felt truly blessed to have been there.

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aaaaaaaTypical house along the canals in Tortuguero. aaaaaaaaaaa The view at the Mirador del Quetzales at Ojo de Agua

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Ferns have a sticky coating to protect them from insects as they grow. aaaaaaThe elusive Blue Morpho Butterfly
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aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaSteve and I in our ox cart as we transport our goods to market!
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aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaSteve on the beach and our views as we boated down the canals in Tortuguero
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aaaaWe saw many nests and trails of turtles on the beach aaaaaaThe sky cleared and we could see the volcanic lake at Irazu

The countryside was full of cool trees and landscapes that looked like something out of Lord of the Rings or a place where the seven dwarfs would live. You could actually go inside the trees and probably camp out or live in if you were like the kid in My Side of the Mountain. There was one tree where a den of Pumas had been found back in the 1940s.