Monday, March 15, 2010

What I did on my Costa Rican Vacation

My Costa Rican (or Tican, as the locals would call it) vacation took place in December of 2009. This post is long overdue!

Here I am in San Jose at the Hotel, um, well, it's been so long I can't remember the name of the hotel (maybe Grano de Oro). But it was the fanciest of all the hotels we stayed at and the breakfast (during which this picture was taken) was amazing.

After breakfast we rented an all-wheel drive Daihatsu and went driving to our next destination - La Fortuna.

We did a lot of driving and I took a lot of pictures out the car window.

Here is our bungalow hotel in La Fortuna. I stole a pen from this place so I would remember the name of it. It is the Montana de Fuego Hotel.

This is our view from the patio - Volcano Arenal and some pretty flowers.

The pina colada was my drink of choice. Look how fancy! 
The chicken there was the best chicken and I had a black bean dip that was so good it is beyond description. But I will say that my bf, who does not like beans, also loved this bean dip.

One of the best things we did, if not the best, was to go into the Venado Caverns. A guide took me and my bf up and down the caverns through bats, stalagmites, stalactites, the giant papaya, tunnels full of water, and lots of little scurrying creatures. It was just a little bit scary, but a lot of fun. We got fully wet and dirty, and we were glad we brought a change of clothes. I didn't get any photos, so here is a picture from the internet:

Another night, we took a hike up the side of Volcano Arenal. This is an active volcano and we could hear the lava popping and crackling. It was cloudy so we didn't see much of the activity except for some ash flowing down the side.

It got dark and the hike down the mountain was kind of scary because we were in the jungle, just the two of us, with just a couple flashlights and a camera. We were having trouble finding our way back to the road when we heard some voices. It was an older Scandanavian couple who were even more lost than we were because they didn't even have a flashlight! They got separated from a group they were with. Somehow, maybe because now we were responsible for more people than just ourselves, I found the trail that led back to the road and all was well.

Monte Verde was our next destination. Here is a picture of some coffee fields we saw on the drive over.

In Monte Verde we went on a night hike through a forest, but didn't see much that was noteworthy.

We went to a butterfly garden that kind of sucked.

So we drove back to La Fortuna and stayed there for another day. Then we decided to go and stay a couple days in Alajuela, which was close to the airport.

During the drive our car was swarmed with a group of these little animals - the Costa Rican Raccoon. There were about twenty of them that walked out of the jungle and across the road, all around our car. It was really cool!

While we were staying in Alajuela, we went to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens where there was a much better butterfly garden.

And a hummingbird garden that was freakin' amazing! If you like hummingbirds, that is. If you don't like them you would really hate this place because they were everywhere!

And there was a great frog room. These frogs were impossible to find if you didn't know where to look. Luckily, a staff member pointed them out to us - because we didn't know where to look even though there were signs on the leaves of where each frog liked to hang out. And they literally hung, as you can see.

We also visited the town of Sarchi, which is known for its oxcart paintings.

And the town of Zarcero, where the church grounds are landscaped like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book.

We did a lot of fun things and saw some amazing sights, but there is still so much we didn't do that I think it would be wonderful to visit Costa Rica again - and soon!


Caitlin said...

Oh my gosh, Jessica. Costa Rica looks BEAUTIFUL. I can't believe you actually heard the lava flowing beneath you! And those raccoon things are so cute! You're so lucky!

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