Costa Reekin'

Trip Start May 23, 2010
Trip End Aug 31, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of San Jose,
Sunday, June 6, 2010

No problems in Guatemala City for us and the journey from Guatemala to San Jose was very smooth indeed.  Having envied my pillow for some time, Emma pinched the pillow from the TACA airways flight, which will come in handy.  It's no match for my feather Air France Business Class one, of course, and she will no doubt swap them over at the earliest opportunity...

We arrived to a hot and sunny Costa Rica (or 'Coasta Rica', as some American inexplicably pronounce it) and made our way to the student area of the capital where our hostel awaited.  Bit of a lazy day for us, and we went to a shopping mall nearby to replace a couple of t-shirts that we'd managed to somehow ruin in Guatemala and Belize.

The next day we took a Combo Tour, which included seeing a few things in the San Jose area in one day.  First stop was the Doka Coffee Estate, where we had painted cockerel for breakfast.  That's the name for their breakfast dish of rice and beans - Gallo pinto - though I was hoping they'd serve up the wretched beast that kept waking me up in Antigua.  Given we were in coffee Mecca, I also fell of the decaf wagon for the first time in about 4 years to sample their AA grade brew.  Very nice indeed.  I didn't stop talking for the rest of the day.  We had a bit of a tour of the plantation and saw how coffee is grown, harvested and processed, before heading off to seeing Volcan Pacoas, which is high up in the rainforest.

Unfortunately, 'rain' was the operative word!  As soon as we stepped off the bus, the heavens opened and we saw the local cats and dogs.  Our cagouls did little to help us, and I soon discovered that my waterproof shoes were anything but.  We reached the lookout point of the main crater to discover that it was completely obscured by cloud.  Em was particularly unimpressed, taking refuge under a walkway.  The cloud did shift a little so we had about 60% visibility and could see...ta da!...some sulphur clouds instead!

By the time we reached the tour's final stop, La Paz Waterfalls and Gardens, the rain had eased quite a bit.  Here they had a bit of a 'zoo', so we explored the aviary first (you'd have loved it, Dad).  They had parakeets, red macaws, a toucan enclosure you can walk in and a few birds of prey, too.  A monkey house had spider monkeys and some capuchins, plus some two-toed sloths that reminded me of Em in the morning (fast asleep and immovable).  There was also a cute little furry thing that liked having its head scratched.  Wait, that was Emma.

The butterfly house was stunning, filled with blue morphos species fluttering all around us, and the hummingbird garden was very cool too.  Em avoided the serpentarium - just as well, since many of them had signed on their boxes saying "Flesh eating venom", or "Bite can cause cardiac arrest".  Friendly!  Finally, we saw some big cats: ocelots, pumas and a mighty jaguar. 

Finally, we saw the resident waterfalls, which though a bit dirty from the rain carrying mud into the river, were very impressive.  We got wet (again).

Home to San Jose, for a well earned shower.  We discovered that my shoes had also developed a new smell that seemed to repel mosquitoes (and Em).
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