Who stole the Arenal Volcano?

So, we went ot Arenal to see Costa Rica’s youngest and most active volcano, but what did we see?

Looking out from our restaurant at breakfast, the promised volcano was shrouded in mist, and I was beginning to wonder whether it really existed.

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After breakfast, we were whisked off on a volcano spotting trip.

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We had an hour’s hike through the pouring rain and squelching mud, in order to try and get a closer look.

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We clambered up the treacherous lava rocks, risking life and limb, hoping to catch a glimpse of the 1600 metre high landmark which towers over the town of La Fortuna.

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On reaching the top, we had a beautiful view of the Arenal Lake, but the elusive volcano was nowhere to be seen.

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The descent was far more challenging than than the ascent, but on the way, we were rewarded with a sighting of this gorgeous ‘One Day Orchid’, so-called because it only blooms for a day.

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There was also a very strange looking creature, lurking in the forest.

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The weary travellers climbed back onto the bus and we were soon on our four hour journey to Monteverde. We may not have seen the volcano, but we did catch a spectacular sunset from the balcony of our El Establo Hotel,

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before going down to the restaurant for dinner. There, I enjoyed the prettiest pasta dish I’ve ever seen.

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Today is windy and pouring with rain, and we’re off for a visit to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, for a couple of hours on the Selvatura swinging bridges. I’m really getting used to having ‘bad hair days’, but I’m having lots of fun. 🙂

I wish you all a stunning weekend, wherever you may be.

A Caiman surfaces in the reflections of the jungle.

Today is very grey and damp. We are now in Arenal, and our hotel is situated about 3 miles from the centre of the  volcano. Unfortunately it’s covered by cloud and shrouded in mist, so unless the weather changes drastically, I won’t get any pics.

Instead, I thought I’d take you on a little jungle boat ride down the network of black-water canals in Tortuguero. The extreme dark colour of the water is caused by the tannins from certain trees and plants along the water’s edge, and the mirror reflections of the massive tree roots and dense foliage were amazing. (Click on any image to enlarge.)

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I really loved this pic.

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One can’t help wondering what might be lurking in these waters.

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Aha! Think I think I spotted something hiding in a nice shady spot. Could it be a crocodile?

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Sadly, I think it was just a croc-shaped log, but I wasn’t disappointed for very long, because suddenly this gorgeous guy swam out to inspect our boat. He was not a a crocodile, but a Caiman, a much smaller member of the crocodylian family.

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Looks like Mr Caiman’s parents didn’t send him to the orthodontist when he was a kid. Poor guy really should have had braces.

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Now I see that he has a sticky-out tooth on each side. Do you think they could be his wisdom teeth?

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Thankfully, he didn’t find us nearly as interesting as we found him, and we eventually moved off, leaving him to reflect in peace about his impromptu photo shoot.

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Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers. Have a really wonderful day with family and friends.

Wordless Wednesday: Tree spirit in the jungle

Yesterday, as we were cruising down the channels of Tortuguero, looking out for crocodiles and other wildlife, we passed by this tree trunk sticking up out of the water. It was right in the middle of the river, and I wondered who had thought to carve the weird face on it. 😕 I can see a second face here, with long green eyelashes. Looks like it could be the face of  a tree spirit. Do you also see it?

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In the jungle the mighty jungle

Well, here I am in the middle of the jungle in Costa Rica. On Saturday morning, we were up very early for the two and a half hour coach trip through mountains and national parks, from San Jose to the Caribbean coast. When we stopped for breakfast along the way, we paused to say “Hola” to this cute little fellow, the tiny Blue Jeans Poison-Dart frog, so called because it looks like he’s wearing cool denims.

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This humongous Sable tree, made me feel very small indeed.

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For many miles, the road was lined with banana plantations. Costa Rica exports more than 2 million tons of bananas a year.

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There was also an abundance of Papaya trees.

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Arriving at the port, we boarded our waiting motor launch which was to take us down the Suerte (Lucky) River to Tortuguero (Land of Turtles) in Limon Province.

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On the way, we saw a boat just like ours and full of tourists who were being transferred to a rescue boat. Their boat had apparently hit a log and was sinking, so the skipper had run it into the reeds where the water was shallow, until help arrived.

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Another one seemed to be having engine trouble,

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and this one was long past redemption.

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We stopped along the way to admire this Common Basilisk lizard, also known as the ‘Jesus Christ’ lizard, because of it’s ability to run on water.

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The male has a high crest on his head and back. They grow up to two and a half feet long, and can run up to 7 mph.

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Arriving at the Evergreen Lodge, we docked here, and were greeted by very friendly and helpful staff.

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Our little chalet on stilts was waiting for us,

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and our room was bright and welcoming.

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Last night I had an ice cold shower, as our primitive bit of plumbing is at the end of the line for the hot water, and others must have used it all up. The wash basin has only a cold tap, and the water pressure leaves much to be desired. Frank, one of my faithful followers, will be pleased to know that although there’s no soap or face cloths provided, we do actually get toilet paper. 🙂 I was awakened at 2 this morning by torrential rain beating down on the tin roof. There are no windows, just insect netting, so every sound from the jungle can be clearly heard. The Howler monkeys are the loudest animals, and their harsh , rasping howls can travel for three miles through the dense jungle.  As I write this,  I can hear a million insects out there, as well as the croaking of tree frogs and the calls of the night birds. Every so often, I’ll be startled by a bit of tree branch falling onto the roof. There are so many mosquitoes here, and my all over perfume of the moment is ‘CVS Insect Repellent’. I can thoroughly recommend it, as I haven’t been bitten yet, which is most unusual for me.

We’ve been kept so busy with boat rides, beach walks and hikes through the jungle, that I haven’t had time to visit your blogs. I have so many pics, and so much to tell you, when I get the chance. In the morning we leave to go back to San Jose, and then we have another ten days of touring to look forward to. I am missing you all, and will visit as soon as life returns to normal.

WPC: Unexpected in San Jose

Well, here we are in San Jose, Costa Rica. After we’d got settled in our hotel, we went for a walk around the town. It was starting to get dark, so we didn’t have time to go into the city proper. The streets around the hotel were quite disappointing, being lined with car rental places and all the fast food outlets one gets everywhere, but glancing up above the McDonalds and the Taco Bell, I suddenly spotted something most surprising.

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These beautiful ball gowns looked quite incongruous, and were totally unexpected in that particular setting.

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I couldn’t help wondering who buys these amazing dresses. They’re certainly a bit too fancy to wear for dinner at Wendy’s or KFC. 🙂

To see more Unexpected entries, just click on the WPC logo.

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Tomorrow we depart at 6-30 am for  the Caribbean coast, where we will learn about the Banana industry here. We then travel by motor launch down canals, through the heart of the Costa Rican jungle to Tortoguero (The land of turtles), where we will have a tour of the turtle museum. I’m so looking forward to that.

(Our tour guide phoned this evening to say that the hotel we’re staying in tomorrow, doesn’t provide soap or wash cloths, so to take the soap with us from this one. Now, as we’ve taken the option and paid extra to stay in 4 star hotels, I just wonder what our fellow travellers who are staying in the cheaper places will be lacking.  I hope they have toilet paper.) 😕

Costa Rica, here I come.

Today we leave for a two week tour of Costa Rica, so if I am conspicuous by my absence on your blogs, I’m sure you’ll understand. I’ll try to pop in when I can, and may even do a few posts if the internet access allows.We are touring east coast, west coast and the Arenal Volcano. From the itinerary, it looks like somewhat of an eco trip,  as we’ll be learning about  hummingbirds, coffee, bananas and my very best; lots of local EEEK!! INSECTS. I’m packing a couple of cans of bug spray, just in case the bugs want to learn more about me. 😯

We will miss the Thanksgiving celebrations at our club, but here are a few pics of my neighbour’s garden down the road. They always decorate appropriately for every occasion.

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Have a wonderful weekend, and a very Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers and followers. See you soon.

A Short Spaniard for Ailsa’s theme

Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week, is ‘Short’, and I immediately thought of one of the street performers I saw whilst wandering along Las Ramblas in Barcelona a few years ago.  I couldn’t quite work out what I was seeing. Was he a Jack-in-the-box, like the toy I once had as a child, which used to play ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ before the little man inside popped up and sometimes gave me a fright? This ‘Juanito’ was much more scary than my child’s toy.

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I assumed that he was a poor old beggar, and was a bit concerned that it seemed rather rude to stand and stare at someone so ugly and deformed. Then a woman boldly marched across and put money in his pot, and he suddenly stood up. He was now no longer short, but scarily tall. I really can’t imagine how he folded himself up like that. Was he perhaps made of rubber?

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To see more bloggers’  interpretations of Ailsa’s  theme, just click here.

Wordless Wednesday: To bee or not to bee

I was thinking of offering a prize of a jar of honey to anyone who correctly guesses the number of bees on and in this hive. Just joking.  I didn’t get close enough to count. 😀

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Thanks so much to all of you who’ve followed me here. It’s quite a challenge to build up a new blog, but this busy bee is working on it.

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WPC: Yummy Layers

When I saw the new Weekly Photo Challenge, my mind went immediately to one of my favourite desserts, which is made up of yummy chocolate layers. Occasionally I indulge and eat the whole piece myself, but this time I thought it prudent to share it with hubby.

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There was however, method in my madness, because I wanted half of his Key Lime Pie. 🙂

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If you think there’s something vaguely familiar about this post, it probably means that you have been following the hammock-loving adinparadise. 

I do love a challenge, so have decided to branch out with a new blog, as I have a couple of unwelcome followers, and I don’t know of any other way to get rid of them.

To see more layers entries, just click here.