S: Costa Rica - 2009
BC: Pura Vida!
FC: August 2009 | Our Trip to | CostaRica
1: Costa Rica literally translates to "Rich Coast". It ranks first on the Happy Planet Index and is the greenest country in the world. It possesses the highest density of species anywhere on the planet and much of the country is protected in National Parks and Forests. Costa Rica was the first country to constitutionally abolish its army. We noticed a true sense of pride and strong work ethic from the people we met and learned that the "Ticos" have a high life expectancy and zest for life. Everyone was very friendly and enjoyed wishing us a "Pura Vida!" We stayed in the North Pacific Guanacasta (Gold Coast) region in Ocotal, near Coco Beach. | August 1st-8th, 2009
2: George | Elena | Josh | Sandy and Diana | Lauren | Our Gang | Friends are relatives you make for yourself.
3: William | Will | Judy | Shelley | Cameron and Jennifer | We celebrated three August Birthdays in Costa Rica - Lauren (6), Shelley (40), & Sandy (64).
4: Villa Vista Preciosa | V i l l a V i s t a P r e c i o s a | High above the beautiful Papagayo Bay in Ocotal, Costa Rica, nestled in the mountainside, sits Villa Vista Preciosa- a large, privately-owned vacation reverie with open terraces, arches and cloisters, comfortable rooms, and quiet corners. This amazing home is just a short 25 minute ride from the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia. The main villa has six bedrooms (two with a king bed each, two with two queen beds each, and two with two full beds each) and there are two additional bedrooms over the detached garage (each with two queen beds). A private bathroom accompanies each bedroom. A brief trip down the scenic mountain brings you into the residential community of Ocotal which is less than three miles from the bustling and vibrant seaside town of Coco. We visited the charming fishing village several times and enjoyed the local shopping and culture. Villa Vista Preciosa's wonderful trained staff pampered us with professional and personalized services and our tour guide, Alan, helped us plan our zip line tour, sport fishing day, river tour and professional massages. Our home away from home was Paradise!
5: Our House!
6: We thought Villa Vista Preciosa was the most beautiful house with the best views in all of Ocotal.
8: LET ME SHOW YOU TO YOUR ROOM... | Private Bath in Each Bedroom | Diana, Josh & Lauren's Room | Sandy's Room
9: AND TAKE YOU TO THE GARDEN
10: Breathtaking Views | Our front door view.
12: August in Costa Rica is a winter month but the term "winter" is used to designate the Rainy Season or Green Season. We actually only had one afternoon of heavy rain. Being so close to the equator, we noticed that sunrise and sunset happen very quickly. The sun would rise around 5:00 am and we would awaken each morning to the sound of nature's alarm clocks- local roosters and howler monkeys. The sun sets around 6:00 pm year round. Most nights, we'd all be asleep by 8:30.
13: Everything was so lush and green.
14: The Artwork
15: The house was filled with beautiful pictures, pottery, and architectural pieces.
16: Fun in the Sun
17: We loved spending time in the pool every day.
18: the beaches | Coco Beach or Playas del Coco is the diving destination of Costa Rica. | These most northernly beaches ring the horseshoe shaped Bahia Culebra or "Snake Bay".
19: The huge bay is surrounded by cliffs cut with lonesome coves sheltering gray & white beaches. | The fishing boats would anchor each night just off shore and prepare for the next day's trip out.
20: What's for dinner? | Jennifer and Rosa were our wonderful cooks. We wanted to bring them home with us!
21: Red Snapper Grilled Steak Mahi Mahi Grilled Pork Chops Chicken Quesadillas Beef Tacos Mixed Vegetables Rice & Black Beans Fresh Fruit Lite Garden Salad Cream of Corn Soup Homemade Chicken Soup Chips with Salsa & Guacamole Omlettes & Bacon & Sausage Mixed Drinks Fresh Juices Costa Rican Coffee Cakes, Ice Cream, & Flan
22: l e t ' s g o s h o p p i n g ! | Pottery Coffee Jewelry | Elena loved the little shopping cart at the grocery store! | Local vendors brought pottery to the Villa
23: Wooden Goods Souveniers | We found good bargins at La Tienda in Coco Beach
24: ECO-ADVENTURE DAY | On Monday, we took an hour and a half drive to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park. The Gang hiked up the mountain for about 15 minutes then zipped through the trees on cables that were 150-400 feet off the ground. It was a 12 platform course that took about an hour and was an unforgettable experience. Sandy and Diana rode further down the mountain on horseback. We all met at the Hot Springs Spa- a gorgeous hidden paradise surrounded by the forest, streams and wildlife. The Gang sat in a sauna for a few minutes before applying HOT volcanic mud all over our bodies. We let the mud dry (come on healing powers!) then took a VERY cold shower before enjoying several of the natural spring pools, each of a different temperature (we all liked the hot springs the best). The Gang also took on the 1365 ft. waterslide, the only one of it's kind in the country constructed totally inside the forest. The water was COLD and the slide was FAST! After our adventurous day, we enjoyed a buffet lunch before returning to the Villa.
25: Cheeks and Tomato, our Fearless Leaders | ZIP line- Even Cameron Wanted to GO!
26: Hi Coati! | horseback riding
27: THE WATERSLIDE | Yes, the water was that cold! | Cameron's ready for action!
28: mud bath treatment and natural hot springs | Everyone loved the natural spa- it was incredible!
29: Everything was so lush and green, it looked like the Garden of Eden.
30: take time to just sit back and Relax | Relax | Relax | Relax | Elena always fell asleep on the bus rides.
32: tampisque-palo verde Riverboat Tour | The Tampisque- Palo Verde Riverboat Tour is perfect for nature lovers. We took a two hour ride from Ocotal to the Palo Verde National Park and saw many papaya and melon fields along the way. We boarded our motorized river canal boat and cruised up the Tampisque and the Palo Verde Rivers where the two converge. The area's density gives it a rich mix of mammal, amphibian, and reptile life and the lowlands and marshes create the perfect conditions for the largest concentration of waterfowl and wading birds in all of Central America.
33: BATS | BOA CONSTRICTOR
34: Our Guide told us that there are about 200 Crocodiles per mile in the Tampisque & Palo Verde Rivers. | The JESUS CHRIST LIZARD is so fast, it can walk on water! | CROCODILES
35: HOWLER MONKEY | BRAHMA BULLS | The blue and white markings tell you that this is a Second Generation Blue Heron (Third Generation Herons are totally blue)
36: IGUANAS | The green iguanas are herbivores, the black ones are carnivores (look out monkeys!) They can grow up to five or six feet long and have very powerful tails.
37: CAPUCHIN MONKEYS
38: Here Fishy Fishy!
39: The Catch 5 Sailfish Wahoo Rainbow Runner Bonita Amberjack Pacific Pike and Needlefish
40: our amazing staff | Rosa, Sylvia, Noel, Jennifer & Nora- They were all so sweet and loved to play with "Elenita", Cameron, and Lauren | Planning our Activites with Alan
41: Hasta Manana Costa Rica- We hope to visit again soon!