Sailing through the tree tops as rain clouds form

Trip Start Jul 24, 2012
Trip End Jul 28, 2012

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Friday, July 27, 2012

After a good solid breakfast, and trying several different fruits that I had not seen before in combination with the familiar fruits such as pineapple, tangerine and mango, we loaded up the vehicle to travel south. Taking road number 27, for about 25 kilometers, we turn on to road number 34 which continues south along the coast toward the sea side town of Jaco. Jaco is known for surfing and wide beaches with a great view of the Pacific Ocean. There were a number of jungle areas, many undeveloped.
There were several large developments, and the advertisements, and billboards, indicated homes and lots for sell. The typical asking prices were between $200,000 and $350,000. Most of these homes had tiled roofs and minimal vegetation or trees. Outside of these areas were latin american dwellings that had fencing surround the property, and corrugated metal for roofs. Frequently along the road way, local people were selling all sorts of fruits, vegetables, and occasionally a large fish. They would hold the fish up by the gills and throat, offering the fish to the drivers. There were a number of different fish, one that was specific was bright red, and almost three feet in length.
The dwellings and small villages were separated by five or six kilometers and each small village was represented with a school zone. In addition to the number of schools we witnessed we also saw a number of buses either marking as school buses or tourist buses.
After traveling for about an hour we saw the turn off (to the left) for the Aerial Tram and Zipline Biological Reserve. The road was again a dirt path, through a small valley that was being clear cut for cattle ranching. An interesting area for a location that was a Biological Reserve, protecting the rain forest. After four kilometers we came to a gated area. The guard did not speak english, and he apparently had expected that we would have a reservation. He called on the walkie talkie, and got the "OK" to let us in. We did not know what to expect, but we were going to check it out.
Once at the small developed area, and there was only one other car in the parking lot, we got out and approached the gift shop. We were met, told it was our lucky day and that we could be accommodated with a three hour tour. We were introduced to our guide Nathan, he spoke english very well, and for the sum of $55 a piece, we could ride the tram into the rain forest and back out, with a later hike through the floor of the forest looking for the various inhabitant.
Nathan was extremely knowledgeable, and patient with us, answered all of our questions and we learned a lot about primary and secondary rain forested and the life cycle of the various trees, vines and plants. I did not know that philodendrons were a plant that strangled trees as it grew. It was interesting to learn about the competition for sun light and the various adaptations the plants and animals make. Nathan explained the uses of the various trees and plants, which were poisonous, and which were food sources. Tico people of Costa Rica eat iguanas, primarily the tail.
At the top of the hill, we had traveled up about 900 meters, there was a pretty nice waterfall and the forest was dark and deep. After a rain storm, a cup of coffee, and a walk through the gift shop we were off down the road for another walk, through Jaco.
Jaco is a small beach community popular with surfers from around the world. It is a destination in and of itself. The beach is wide and the shops and restaurants are focused toward the tourist. It was raining off on on and it had driven a number of visitors off of the beach.
We took a couple of pictures and started back to the north.
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