Costa Rica 2009:
Day 7 - Guanacaste


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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]

Thursday, June 25: Another beautiful morning in Costa Rica!
We checked out of our rooms at Arenal Springs Resort and waited by the pond on the grounds ...
... and admired the turtles and fish.
We couldn't resist one last gorgous photo of the volcano as we were leaving.
We got our first glimpse of Lake Arenal as we climbed the hill to our next destination: Arenal Hanging Bridges.
We split into two groups and set off.
There are six suspension bridges here and numerous smaller normal bridges, but the tour started out immediately with a suspension bridge. That's a brilliant strategy: if anyone can't handle suspension bridges, they'll know right away.
Each bridge featured a sign with the name, length, and height of the bridge.
Here we go!
The view looking down is pretty cool.
Here's one of the normal bridges, ...
... and another.
This was a tiny natural spring in the side of the hill, ...
... and here is a lizard who almost went unnoticed.
Here's another bridge, ...
... and a completely unexpected tunnel.
Here's a snail ...
... and a centipede. Or maybe a millipede. We didn't stop to count the legs.
Ladies and gentlemen, here's Jill!
Also appearing: Debbie and Tom.
Looks like there's a waterfall over there. Let's go see it. If you look really closely, there's a bridge way up on top too. We'll go see it later.
Getting to the waterfall involved walking down a steep trail.
It was worth it, but man, that walk back up was brutal!
Our guide pointed out this tiny nest tucked into the hillside.
This bridge was aptly named, ...
... as they had clearly worked around the existing tree when building the bridge.
It takes sharp eyes to spot these tiny poison dart frogs.
Heres one of the big ones: the bridge we saw earlier high above the waterfall.
Tom was in charge of the camera for this one, so we're treating you to two consecutive photos of Debbie for a change.
Cherish this moment, people.
The view from up here was pretty spectacular.
Here's the Pilon Tree Bridge sign, ...
... and here's the pilon tree. This baby had to be tall, since the bridge was 21 meters tall (69 feet).
Here was our tour guide, Angel. She spoke little English, but as Shirley explained, the tour guides here are just starting to learn their trade.
Here's the big finale -- the view of Arenal volcano.
This is a long one, folks.
A view this classic requires a photo of Orchy. It may end up in an Orchard Software newsletter someday.
We still had a few more sights to see before concluding our 1 hour and 45 minute hike, such as this bizarre grouping of fruits or nuts or something. It's hard to take notes when you're hiking, so I didn't write anything down on this tour.
Oh! Happy Day! Our guide spotted this bright yellow Eyelash Pit Viper. To put its size in perspective, this whole yellow blob was about the size of a man's palm. Adorable but deadly.
Rick got a fantastic closeup of him so you can see his tiny face.
We don't remember the name of this blue bird. Possibly a blue dacnis? Do you know what it is? Contact Us
The hike ended and before we knew it, ...
... we were back at the starting point. They had a snack bar and a terrific lookout deck, where we could look at the volcano again.
The volcano's peak was clouded over, but that's no problem because we were just leaving.
We passed hundreds of these living fences in Costa Rica. The fences are built using cut tree trunks and branches, but the land is so fertile that the wood usually roots and grows.
Jill had finished her book, so she kept occupied on the bus by sleeping and weaving a bracelet.
The next part of our trip involved driving along the length of Lake Arenal.
We stopped for lunch at Plaza del Café, associated with the local coffee cooperative.
We're not coffee drinkers, so we peered over some shoulders at the beautifully decorated coffee being served to our fellow guests. We did buy some coffee to serve our guests at Christmas. Let's hope we remember to take it out of the freezer then.
We stopped to admire these flowers on our way ...
... to the co-op building.
We saw various coffee stuff in the building but didn't linger because there were people there filling bags of coffee.
Back to beautiful Lake Arenal.
Tom and Debbie were fortunate to have seats on the left side of the bus so we got great views of the lake.
The terrain changed as we moved further west into the drier province of Guanacaste.
One of the great things about our tour was that we were never on the bus for more than two hours without a stop of some sort. We stopped here for ice cream and shopping.
There was a platter of cheese samples laid out for us, but we all had one thing in mind: ice cream. We tried mango and coconut ice cream and declared it delicious.
We arrived at the Doubletree Resort in Puntarenas in the late afternoon. Shirley gave us a brief tour of the grounds, then one of the managers spoke to us in a private room about the resort.
We all left with our room keys and warm chocolate chip cookies. We had adjoining rooms with Jill again which was very convenient.
We changed quickly and headed out to explore the resort. First order of business: photographing this lizard on a patio.
Jill immediately joined the other kids in a line dance lesson.
It looked like things were going well, so we headed straight for ...
... the beach. We'd been warned that this wasn't a recreational beach because the currents are too strong. We believe it.
The land across the way is just the southern tip of a peninsula, so you're looking at the Pacific Ocean here, folks.
There's the dock with the sunset bar off in the distance. We checked it out later.
Meanwhile, the dance lesson had turned into a dance contest. With the prize being a bottle of champagne, only those old enough to drink were eligible, which narrowed the field to five. Each contestant was asked to repeat some Spanish sentences after the emcee. With our limited Spanish, we think they were saying, "I have a cockroach and a <something else>. Stomp stomp stomp!" The Spanish-speaking crowd roared in laughter at the way the English-speaking contestants butchered their language.
Next, each contestant had to dance the required routine.
Finally, the audience passed judgment by applauding and screaming for their favorite.
Jill was the winner with Janet a close runner-up, thanks to the cheers of the rest of our group.
Competition over, the kids jumped in the pool while the adults congregated at the sunset bar.
We were too busy talking to Mayra and Ben to take photos of everyone in our group enjoying the open bar, but we did get a shot of the sunset.

We met up with Jill again just in time for dinner.

Day 8 >


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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