June 9, 2009


Last June Brian's parents took the family to Costa Rica for our family vacation. Well, we had such a great time that we had to do it again this year. So on the 11th we headed back for more fun. We left early Thursday morning and landed in San Jose. The next day we woke up early to go on a river rafting trip. We went down the Pacuare River in class 3 to class 5 rapids. It was lots of fun.
From the river, we were driven to La Fortuna where we met Gayle, Lorna, and Bauer who flew there instead of taking the river trip. In La Fortuna we stayed at a place called Los Lagos. It is a resort at the base of the Arenal Volcano and it is gorgeous there. On the 14th (mine & Brian's anniversary) we went to a place called Baldi Hot Springs. They had a bunch of different pools with a range of different temperatures. The hottest was 152 degrees. Ouch! They also had a couple of fun waterslides and a garden. And for our anniversary, Brian and I got massages.

One of our very favorite parts of our trip last year was the zip-line we did called Sky Trek, Sky Tram. So of course we had to go again this year. There are 8 cables that you go across. The longest is over 2400 feet long and the highest is about 656 feet high. And this particular zip-line was rated the best in Costa Rica and is also the safest. It is so cool because you have a perfect view of the rainforest, Arenal Volcano, and Arenal Lake. It’s beautiful. Bauer and Gayle weren’t able to go so they stayed back with a guide. They got to ride up the gondola with us and then went to a butterfly farm. They were able to see one come out of the cocoon. They said it was really neat.
After our zip-line tour, we went on a hanging bridges hike. I don’t know that everyone loved it but I did. It was really neat because you walk through the middle of the rainforest and there are tons of plants and flowers and bugs to see. Not many animals, although we DID see some wild bores. That was cool. It got to be quite the hike at one point but I kind of liked it because I felt like a fatty without doing my workouts while we were gone.
The next day we went to an animal sanctuary/refuge. It was really neat to get so close to the animals. Bauer was able to pet a deer and hold a monkey’s hand. There were lots of different animals and we were able to just walk around at our own pace. It was kind of like a zoo. My favorite were the big cats. I have always loved them the most. I think they are so beautiful.
On the way to the sanctuary we stopped to see iguanas. We went last year and wanted to go see them again. There is a restaurant where there are tons of iguanas just laying around. There is also a monkey that comes to visit. It's kind of gross but it's really cool to see all the iguanas around.

On the 17th we flew from Arenal to Manuel Antonio where we stayed at a place called Hotel Parador. It is a beautiful hotel and the people are all very nice. When we got there we found out that our two rooms that were supposed to be next to each other were really on separate levels. And on top of that, there were a lot of stairs to get to them. Gayle would have had too hard of a time going up and down the stairs that much so Lorna went to see what we could do. They went through a few options but none of them really worked out. Finally they offered us the Presidential Suite. It was wonderful. There were 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room. It was great.
Come to find out, there was a little bit of a communication gap and the room ended up costing twice as much as we thought. It was still cheaper than it normally costs to stay in though and it was nice to all be so close but still have so many rooms. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if our friend Danny had been working. Last year when we stayed at the Parador, Danny was a bartender at the pool and he absolutely loved Bauer. In fact, as we were leaving, he ran up to find us and gave Bauer a pin with the Costa Rican flag and the American flag on it and he even got a little teary-eyed as he hugged him goodbye. It was so sweet. This year Danny was on vacation. Bummer. While we were in Manuel Antonio we did lots of fun stuff. The first day, we walked through the national park to see wildlife. We didn’t see much though. A couple of toucans, a turtle, a sloth, some iguanas, a raccoon, and a crab are about all we saw.
We still hadn’t seen any moneys so we decided to go on the Mangrove tour the next day because we did it last year and saw tons of animals. Mangroves are trees that grow in watery places with roots above ground. If you look at the picture, you can see all of the roots of the trees . The tour was really neat. We learned a lot of cool facts about the Mangroves and all the animals that live in them. And best of all, we saw lots and lots of animals. We saw snakes, caymans, bats, birds, monkeys, and even a tiny anteater. I guess these anteaters are pretty rare and they are extremely hard to find. If you look at the pictures you can see how they roll up in a little ball and hide in the leaves so they are nearly impossible to spot.
The next day we went to the beach to play. We got up early so we could shop along the beach before it got too hot and then we played in the water and just enjoyed the sun and sand. We put sunscreen on Bauer before we left and then again a couple of hours in but he still got really sun burnt. I felt so bad.
He was hurting so badly that it hurt him to be held and he even would sleep with his blankey on him. And anyone that knows Bauer well knows that he absolutely LOVES his blankey. The next day we went to the beach in the morning for just a little while and then took off for our flight back to San Jose.

San Jose is completely different than the rest of the places we went. Actually, everywhere is so very different than the next place. Arenal is very jungly (is that a word?) but also is very centered around the volcano and lake and Manuel Antonio is all jungle and beach. Brian says that it reminds him of the set of Lost. You walk out of the jungle and onto the beach. Well, San Jose is not jungly (there’s that awesome word again) at all. It is just like a big city. A big city that is way run down and filled with crime. Anyways, there wasn’t really much that we could do since we got there after most things had closed and the next day we had to leave for the airport at 1:00. We ended up just shopping. We went to a mall the night we got there and then the next morning we went to a bunch of souvenir shops. But we did get to see the temple. We didn’t even realize there was a temple until we were heading to dinner and drove right past it. We made our driver turn around so we could take pictures. There is a huge fence around it so we couldn’t really get a good picture but it was really neat to see. Our cab driver kept telling us that it was the Mormon’s church and wanting to tell us about it. We kept telling him that we knew and that we WERE Mormon but I guess he didn’t understand.

So that is our vacation. It was tons of fun. We got to do a lot of neat things and see and learn a lot about Costa Rica and the plant and wildlife there. I love how beautiful it is. I love how there are so many different kinds of plans and flowers growing all over the place. One day I would love to go on a trip there and do nothing other than take pictures. It would be great. Thank you so much Gayle and Lorna for taking us. That is so generous of you. We had such a wonderful time.

1 comment:

Stefanie said...

Wow! I'm so late, I just read your post. What a BEAUTIFUL place. And how good was it that you got to do some many fun things and see practically everything! Quite jealous myself! ;)