Costa Rica 2009:
Day 6 - Fortuna


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Costa Rica 2009: [Day 1 - San José] [Day 2 - San José] [Day 3 - Tortuguero] [Day 4 - Tortuguero] [Day 5 - Fortuna] [Day 6 - Fortuna] [Day 7 - Guanacaste] [Day 8 - Puntarenas] [Day 9 - Central Valley]

Wednesday, June 24: We were awoken at 5:00 AM by a call from the front desk to tell us that the volcano was clear. We had signed up for this service thinking they'd call in the middle of the night so we could see lava, but it was already too light out to see it. It was a good thing, though, because we got to hear the howler monkeys. Their calls were significantly quieter through our closed windows than they had been in Tortuguero's screened cabins.
We got to see the sunrise turn the sky pink over the volcano.
Here's a closeup through our binoculars of what's going on up there.
Our amazing luck continued to hold, because the Arenal volcano is only visible 30% of the time and we had clear skies and summit.
We could get used to this -- having breakfast outdoors surrounded by gorgeous views.
Here's that view again. We don't know how anyone could get enough of it.
Hummingbirds are everywhere in Costa Rica, but they're difficult to photograph. Here's one in spooky silhouette.
The grounds of Arenal Springs Resorts are filled with beautiful touches like this floral display outside the bungalows.
We headed out for the day's first tour and passed the Iguana Bridge in Muelle. Iguanas hang out on the trees and power lines over the river, ...
... so tour buses slow down as much as possible to get a view. On our way back, there were even more.
We passed a sugar cane processing plant.
After a 90-minute drive, we arrived in Los Chiles, home of Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge.
We boarded a boat for another river tour.
Many of the kids headed to the front of the covered boat to bake in the sun.
Our first unusual sight was this orange howler monkey, shown here with others from her family. She has a recessive gene that causes her fur to be all orange, instead of black with some orange.
There are seven cormorants hanging out on various branches in this photo.
Tortuga!
Here are a pair of howler monkeys.
Here are three aninga not currently drying their feathers.
This is a greenback heron.
We never tired of seeing iguanas.
Here's some freakishly large fruit we didn't recognize.
There are seven bats in this photo all arranged neatly in a row along the trunk of this tree.
Another tortuga!
And another!
Despite all of the cool wildlife we saw, this was the highlight of our tour: sneaking under the barbed wire fence to get this ...
... photo of us in Nicaragua! Country number 52, 51, and 7 for Debbie, Tom, and Jill respectively. This was about as far as we were comfortable going.
Heading back south from the Nicaraguan border, we saw these Costa Rican cows.
Here's another sloth. Is there any way any of us could have spotted him ...
... in this photo? He's up there. You just have to know where to look. It's a good thing they rarely move, so once one is located, you'll have a good idea where he'll be for the next week.
At this point, we'd seen howler monkeys and spider monkeys, but had not yet seen capuchin monkeys. We had expected to see them in Tortuguero where they are more common, but hadn't. So, with our excellent luck, we saw them here. Our guide spotted a pair in the bushes.
One kept getting closer and closer to us, and put on a good show by walking to the end of a branch for us just before the end of our boat tour.
Back from our trip, we walked up the street to our restaurant. Costa Rica is such a fertile country that even the power wires support plant life.
Lunch was at the Heliconia Restaurant.
We didn't get a single shot of the restaurant interior except for this tiny dog.
Our bus driver, José, got the little son of one of the restaurant's staff and put him in the driver's seat of the bus. He was thrilled and turned out to be especially good at honking the horn.
When we were back on the road, Shirley came around, as she did every day, with Costa Rican candies for each of us.
On the drive back, we passed this lot in the middle of nowhere chock full of Maersk containers.
We stopped for a minute when the front window of our bus was hit by a rock. It left a golf ball-sized dent in the front glass, but after assessing the damage, we continued. The window stayed intact for the rest of the trip.
We arrived in Fortuna for an hour of sightseeing and shopping just as the rain really started coming down. It was the first and only time of our trip that we got rained on at an inconvenient time. We just stayed in the nearest souvenir shop and did a little shopping.
We put on our anoraks and got out our umbrella and continued shopping
We also taught Jill the Bundlings Helsinki Rule: when it is raining during your free time in a foreign country, find a pub or restaurant ...
... and have a local beer.
We then amended the rule to also include having a treat at a local bakery.
It was raining but the volcano was still clear. That makes Jill happy!
Next stop: Baldi Hot Springs. This must be a sweltering place to visit when it is 90 degrees and sunny, but when it is raining and overcast, it's the best place ever.
When we checked in, Jill added to her growing Costa Rica bracelet collection.
The volcano was close and clearly visible from the main bar area. The foreground steam is from the hot springs; the background steam is provided by the volcano.
We got a quick photo of Tom and Jill before Jill disappeared to explore all the different springs with the other kids.
We started up the hill at the first pool but did not brave the waterslide.
There's that excellent volcano again.
Here is one of the many pools featuring a swim-up bar. We later indulged in a Coca-Cola Light each. At this point, we locked up the camera and spent the rest of our time enjoying the many different pools and different temperatures.

Then it was time to go, and Jill said farewell by sitting on the statue of the fat lady.

Day 7 >


Costa Rica 2009: [Day 1 - San José] [Day 2 - San José] [Day 3 - Tortuguero] [Day 4 - Tortuguero] [Day 5 - Fortuna] [Day 6 - Fortuna] [Day 7 - Guanacaste] [Day 8 - Puntarenas] [Day 9 - Central Valley]

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