Wednesday, December 26, 2007
  Costa Rica! :)
And they’re up!

Costa Rica was absolutely fabulous.


I got, uh, no pictures here. Lots of dogs in this town. One really hungry cat, which I fed $3 worth of Pollo Crispi (leftovers went to the dogs). Chris overheard someone calling me a “chica loca.” Yeeeeah, that’s me. J

The town was alright, but the water and beach gorgeous. We went diving at the Catalina islands, which is 90 or so minutes offshore. On the boat ride out, we saw lots of jumping devil rays (we’re talking it looked like the water was boiling with them), a pair of mating sea turtles RIGHT off the boat, a pod of fishing dolphins, a sea snake… The islands all over were just gorgeous. I didn’t bring my camera since I didn’t know what the dive boat would be like since we took a dinghy out to it. Turns out it was really nice – a bathroom and everything. I missed out on a lot of great pictures, on the ride out and back, and the hour-long surface interval, but what can you do?

The dive was alright, but not great. Viz was pretty bad… The other group of divers had a great dive, saw mantas and all that, but we didn’t. We saw some nice fish, octopuses, lobster, stuff along those lines. You know, stuff we're used to.

We decided (as I had predicted before we even left since I knew I wanted to see the jungle) to thumb the planned 2nd day of diving. I'm glad we went, frozen face and all -- seriously, the one area we went it felt so cold it was like walking outside on a cold winter night. They tell me it was only 70 degrees, but maaaaan it felt ridiculous. Dark, no sun.. Just COLD. So it was an experience. And gorgeous scenery. And sea turtles, makin' loooove.


We drove the treacherous 2.5 hour drive – in the dark – up to Monteverde. The drive was an adventure... for which a sports bra is highly suggested. Once we got up there, we got into some warmer clothes, got ourselves a nice little cabin and had dinner in the cozy hotel restaurant. There was a mouse on the floor. Our room was, like, uh, 61 degrees or something. Thankfully, the shower water was REAL HOT. Chris started getting funny feeling from the altitude, but thankfully he was prepared.

The next day, we got up really early and went to the cloud forest and did the sky walkways. We heard and saw lots of birds, plants… There are lots of animals there, too, but you can’t SEE them. You just gotta knoooow they're there. It was really nice there. Green, wet, and lush.

We checked out the hummingbird feeders in another section of the forest, which was awesome. They’re like little helicopters, those guys. Love ‘em.

Then we began our descent, which was much prettier & quicker in the light. We got to the bottom and peeled off our clothes and started on the road to Manuel Antonio. We thought we’d have to stay over in Jaco, but decided to just go for it, even though it was dark.


We found a great hotel on the beach, the closest beachfront hotel to the park, a less-than-10-minute walk, so we didn’t have to drive at all once we got there aside from a grocery run to Quepos. We spent the next 3 days at Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, watching monkeys, lizards, sloths, birds, bats, and the like. It was my favorite part.

We did every single trail there, most of them multiple times. Chris, of course, knocked out the whole park with his buddies years ago in one day, but I reminded him (repeatedly) that he was seeing it much more thorougly this time with me. We did the Perezoso trail, um, probably five or six times. The second to last time, we heard a toucan. The last time, we saw one!

Also, it was BABY SLOTH SEASON. They have their babies in November & December, so the timing was great.

Oh, Chris got attacked by a monkey. A capuchin JUMPED ON HIS BAG he was carrying, RIPPED IT OPEN, stole our vanilla wafers, and then scampered off. Chris was just like, "Dude, those are mine!" Apparently monkeys really like plastic bags. They know that's where the goods are.

Ha ha ha – he assured me before we left that I would be bored by the sloths. Imagine his surprise when we saw one and I insisted on watching it. The one had a baby that scratched – scratched its butt, scratched its armpit, scratched its butt some more… It was really quite ridiculously cute.

We made our eggs and cereal for breakfast in the little kitchen, peanut butter & jellys for lunch to take along in the backpacks… We ate a couple of times in a little restaurant where we were the only patrons, where the service took less than 10 minutes. This was a grand improvement over the hour+ for a breakfast at the beach restaurant. Plus, the waiter was great and put out bananas for the birds and showed me the bats nestled up on the ceiling in the corner. He got an extra $1 tip sneaked onto the table for that.

Oh, yeah, we got to see crocs at the Rio Tarcoles TWICE - both on the way to MA and back. At dusk and in the sun. Lots of pics of those, but only a few made the cut...


As you see, I took a lot of pictures. I didn’t upload some 1000+ others… I missed some really great photo ops, like the entirety of the great little village of Santa Elena. He breadshop where I bought my breakfast of trenza con canela. The dogs everywhere. Puka, the emaciated German Shepherd in Alajuela who that very day found her guardian angel, shopkeeper Hazel. The kids playing soccer in the dark up in the hills on the way to Monteverde (too dark for a pic). Two young boys each walking a colt down the road with their grandpa on one of the back roads we took. We smiled and waved but didn’t stop for a picture. The run-down little shack adorned with Disney Christmas decorations.

Oh yeah, need I mention? BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER? (Chris heard this, many times.) This, in conjunction with the 70-300 lens Chris got me, or all the pics of monkeys/sloths would've been like, "Okay, so that looks like a blob, but it's a howler monkey, trust me." :) :)
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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