Natural Costa Rica – 27th March – 12th April 2011
The Cahuita Highlights
Left San Jose for Cahuita and stopped en route at a butterfly farm, which was fantastic – the photos prove it!
Cahuita was really nice, the gardens fantastic, and we had frequent sightings of capuchin monkeys (which we saw throughout the whole holiday). Antonio, our local guide, appeared to know everything there was to know about birds and we were invited to meet each morning at 06:30 to have a bird watching session. He had a great big “scope” which he carried around with him and it was great to see all the birds “close up”. Antonio was a great local guide and his enthusiasm was very infectious.
We had a one night stop at Sarapique where we walked through a rain forest/plantation and had a presentation on the cocoa bean and the history of chocolate.
The La Fortuna Highlights
Our next destination was La Fortuna, where we stayed 2 nights and which was the location for walking the Arenal Volcano (we were transported part way up the volcano by our trusty coach driver!). Experts state that the volcano erupts about every 500 years. It was very interesting and we saw mud pools bubbling and water holes with steam rising. It was amazing to see some of the amazing plant life which was growing close to the open bubbling mud/water. Whilst in La Fortuna we headed north to Nicaragua for a ride on a river boat. Only our group was on the boat, so we were able to sit where we liked and were able to move around to get the best view. We saw some fantastic birds and more monkeys. Whilst in La Fortuna we ate out at a local restaurant on two nights which was very nice.
The Vieja Highlights
Good journey to Vieja where we stayed 2 nights in individual wooden chalet type accommodation, which was really nice. There were lovely grounds, a swimming pool and plenty of birds to watch. We visited a local school where young children put on a dancing display and in the afternoon relaxed and had a swim in the pool. There were zip wire rides and the like for those who were interested – our group kept to the bird watching!
Next day we visited Monte Verde cloud forest reserve and saw a humming bird gallery and very many birds (inc a pair of Resplendent Quetzal, who were feeding chicks and cleaning out their nest, which originally was the nest of woodpeckers). This was a really good sighting and we were all “on a high” afterwards. On our second day we did a crocodile safari, which involved another boat ride. We got very close to the crocodiles and the tour guide was feeding them so we could get a good view. We stayed at Hotel de Montana where everyone had very large, well equipped, rooms. We ate at the hotel on the first night and ate in a local restaurant on the second – all very good!
The Pacific Coast Highlights
Next day we travelled to the Pacific coast, which was our final destination. We stayed at Hotel Villa Bosque where we had breakfast and evening meal each night. The hotel was a few yards from the national park and the beach. Some of our group had trouble with their rooms (leaking roof!).
Friday, 8th April we walked “nature trail” in San Antonio National Park. The weather was very hot! We had a picnic lunch on the beach and walked back to the hotel.
Sat, 9th April, we were offered a different walk in the National Park but most people wanted to “chill out” on the beach. About 5 people swam in the Pacific Ocean and I collected more fossils etc from the beach. The beach and the ocean were both really nice and the capuchin monkeys even showed up to say goodbye.
Sun, 10th April, we start our return journey home – for me 3 separate planes and a taxi to get me back to West Yorkshire!
I am really glad I did this holiday. I am 64 years of age now and am trying to do “special holidays” like this while I am still fit enough! I am now looking through the brochures for me next “special”.