Costa Rica - Oct. 20, 2006 Saturday


it is tropical afterall

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Poison frog

Will went on the rain forest sky walk tour and Robin visited several cities nearby cities and rode through the countryside.

When we started through the rain forest, it was, as advertised, raining. It rained for the whole walk. We didn't see a lot of wildlife. They are smarter than us and took cover from the rain.

We did find a "poison" frog on a leaf at the hotel before we headed out. If you ate the frog, it would make you sick, but not kill you. The truely poisonous frogs are extinct in Costa Rica. It was less than an inch long so the picture is not very good.


Bridge through the canapy


The rain forest seen through a gap.

The suspension bridges stretch across canyons giving an up close view of the forest canapy. They are about 300 feet long and a 100 feet high. With the rain coming down, they were a bit frightening. I'm just glad it was not windy. As it was, most of my pictures from the bridges were just blurs.

The rain forest we were in, is of the type known as "tropical dry". That means there is a wet and dry season, rather than just raining all year round. Altough we are at the end of the rainy season, they've been getting a lot of rain for the last couple weeks.


it was a long way down


fascinating leaves

The forest is full of plant life. Everything is trying to grow faster than, on top of, around, whatever, than its neighbors to reach the sun. All the while its being eaten by bugs and parasites. It is a jungle out there indeed.

After we got back to the bus, our guide told us she had some good news and some bad news. The bad news: there had been a land slide and the road to the next part of our tour was closed. The good news: we weren't trapped beyond it (early reports had one of the buses on the far side, but turned out to be in error). At this point, it finally stopped raining.


Villa Lapas


Crocodiles in the river.

The tour company punted. They arranged lunch for us at the local hotel, then wildlife spotting on the grounds. We saw several birds (from humming birds to vultures), a nest of bats in a palm tree, leaf cutter ants plying their trade, and several other things.

On the way back we saw a crocodile in a river. So the bus pulled over and we all trooped back across the bridge. It turned out to be a gathering. A couple of crocodiles right under us, three more just upstream, and more swimming up as we watched. I don't think I will swim there.

A good day, but wet and starting to get chilled as we got back to the ship.


Road side fruit in Orotina & food stand with kitchen. Good hot coffee too!


The kids dance in the rain for us in the square.

It was pouring when Robin left and rained for most of the tour. Our guide was an engineer turned tour guide who attended college in New Jersey for 8 monthes to get a certificate in English as a 2nd language. He was extemely knowledgeable about his country. The new government is rebuilding the roads and railways (the dry canal). Tourism is #1, high tech (including Intel) is #2, and export - coffee, bananas, and mangos is #3. They have 95% literacy rate. In the '40s they disbanded the army and gave the money to the schools. They also gave land to those who were willing to farm it - 5 acre plots and coffee beans. They have a plan to grow as a country and are back on track - so they feel/hope.

Church originally build by the Spanish. Mostly destroyed by pirates in the 17th C and then rebuilt.


Black sand beach at Punto Arenas - where we were docked.

They took us to a roadside stand for rest break and to taste fruit (good coffee too!) after riding to Orotina - a medium size city at a railroad crossroads which was originally for goldmining. Then on to another city, the 2nd oldest - Esparza, through some farming and hilly areas. There we were met by children doing folkloric dancing in the square. Some were dressed as totem animals. The church was open for us to visit too. Then back to Punto Arenas via another shop/resturant with fruit to taste (yummy mangos!).

After lunch I walked back down the LONG pier to the "flea market". It was still sprinkling, but then it had been raining for 4 days so wet was the order of the day. Some fun shopping for crafts. Then back along the long pier to the ship for mundane things like laundry.

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Rights to all pictures and text reserved by Robin Berry and Will Ringer Oct 2006.