Final Days.

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“This is how you grab a flower.” “I don’t care, I’m looking at the camera. “

Our final day at El Remanso Lodge. Over breakfast the Lodge did it’s best to keep us here with a display of howler monkeys, toucans, Macaws and a fab breakfast. The night before Linda said yes to a rather important question…. who put that bottle of Champagne in the room? Paul. So he must have something on his mind… and she said yes!! We are now engaged. Fab. A totally fitting end to an enchanting place.

The last stay was a total surprise. Xandari Resort. We sort of expected a slightly ‘airport’ hotel. What we got was an hotel within 20 mins of the airport, but in another world. Bush walks, waterfalls, fab plantings around the hotel, great food and lovely staff. If (when) we are back in San Jose this is on our list.

Relaxing stay before back to the cold and work. What disasters await?…..

The holiday is almost over, but will last in our memory. Hopefully for more than the first surgery.

Thank you Imagine travel. Sinead was Fab. Good advice, and seamless.

But Thank You to Costa Rica. Surpassed our expectations. We will be back.

27.1.19

“Relaxing” day, just loads of wildlife and the promise of a walk into the forest at night, again. The birds and mammals just are amazing, and many reptiles think you are lovely. For lunch or dinner. We are increasingly aware how extraordinary this place is. Many ‘resorts’ have loads  of wildlife that are fed and nurtured for the benefit of tourists. The monkeys are fed bananas, the humming birds are fed sugary drinks (a bit like the humans)  and the photos are taken. Here, they try not to interact with the life around at all. No feeding, no pampering, not a ‘zoo’. So we see what we see, sometimes not what we want to see. And bushes and trees get in the way of the Nikon. Hey ho. Totally fab. But sometimes they choose to turn up on top of our heads. Not sure who is watching who!

At night the rules change. We can not see. ‘They can’. And they bite, and do. The fer de lance snake will happily kill a human. Looks great. The spiders won’t kill you. But apparently it really hurts.

The night is so interesting. All bets are off. Other than mine is a cold beer.

Osa, 26.1.19

Osa Peninsula is quite extraordinary. Remote. Life is teeming. Everything trying to outgrow each other. The birds chirping in a most exotic way. Flashed of colours are everywhere, except where the camera is pointing. Howler monkeys, spider monkeys, we are becoming good at telling the difference, even just from their noises in the trees. We can even start to recognise a few bird calls.

Collared ant eater

Sleeping after an ant feast.

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The afternoon was all about walks around the hotel.Loads to see and the start was a sooo cute collared anteater. Grubbing out ants, rubbing his nose when the ants bit too often and then moving on when ant reinforcements arrived. Amazing, and a privilege just to watch. We prefer a menu and a glass of wine.

Fab day.

 

25.1.19, to Osa Peninsula.

The trip started well, 9.45, lovely breakfast and found that the directions were wrong, but in a good way! They said 25km of dirt track, but: new road! Yea. Much easier. But then it got real. Dirt track is a bit of a compliment, very steep, across two streams, both of which needed full 4×4 and Paul swallowed a brave pill. It worked, phew. The car could probably cope with a lot more. Human issue!

Arrived at El Remanso. The place is, well, just totally, wow. No wifi, no TV, but eco and the staff exude local knowledge and information. Wildlife everywhere and no need for locks – we don’t even know our villa number. Everyone just seems to know us!

Night walk, and loads of bitey things.

Ronaldo, our night guide took us down to the river armed with torches.  He has an uncanny way to spot all kinds of creepy crawlies which would simply have been invisible to us – scorpions, tarantulas, crayfish, agouti (looks like a giant rat but cuter).  He could even call to the red eye leaf frog and it called back enabling him to track it down to the leaf it was sitting on.  An eye-opening hike.

Back for supper. Grand day.

Tomorrow a walk in the woods!

On the water.24.1.19

 

We started the day with a boat trip hopefully to see dolphins and to snorkel. The waters around here are apparently great. However we came across a pod of false orcas and we got side  tracked. Apparently, very rare in these waters and can be quite aggressive towards humans in the water so snorkeling sadly cancelled. But what a great reason to cancel! They are hard to photo, don’t usually leap in the air but look huge in the water. We saw one with a fish in its mouth – honest. And you can hear the echo location system they use. So fab!

Then, a pod of spotted pacific dolphins, including a baby with its mother. Again, hard to photo!!

We landed on a remote beach, only to be greeted by 4 Aussi’s saying one of them has just been stung by killer bees, and pointed to a swarm. Ouch. We kept well away, but did manage to find some coral, and imagined what the  snorkeling might have been.

The morning passed so quickly. Lunch was tuna, then a walk to the waterfall.

Loads of birds here.  Just sitting by the pool, flashes of colour dip down into the water for a splash and a preen.  Streaks of scarlet and blue whizz across our field of vision – totally distracting and absorbing.

This is a Scarlet rumped Cacique, uncommon apparently. Spectacular in flight.

Tomorrow to Osa. And off grid for a few days.

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Uvita. 23.1.19

Early am (well, not that early) dirt track down to Ballena National Park, timed for low tide to walk out to the famous “whale tail”. The most astonishing vast empty gold sand beach fringed with palms, no people, no hotels, no hawkers – bliss.  Costa Rica surprises us at every turn as, overheating, we headed for the shade of the palms and heard squawking and shrieking.   Our patience was rewarded with the scarlet flashes of the vibrant primary coloured scarlet macaws.  Through our bins and camera lens the noises were a preliminary to a bit of a courting ritual.  Not sure if it was him or her swinging upside down on the branches -what a treat to witness.  Definite highlight of our day.   Sadly, the macaws are now extinct on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Amazing birds, and in the wild easily heard, a bugger to photo.

Our pm expedition took us to some isolated waterfalls. Paul demonstrated his climbing prowess  (more practice required at the climbing wall).  He discovered the delights of the waterfall pool – very refreshing.  The thing it’s easy to forget is that there are loads of  nasty bitey, stingy things around and as we gathered up our garb, watching our every move are more poisonous frogs.

The day topped off with a swim in the villa infinity pool, Oxygen Villas,  listening to the howler monkeys, cicadas, shrieks and calls of all the wildlife around – pretty amazing..

Tomorrow a boat trip and hopefully snorkeling. Fab.

 

22.1.19 Travel to Uvita

The day started well, Linda feeling much better. Not full breakfast better but at least a piece of toast and peppermint tea better. And a slight smugness that we had saved $300 on no supper, no lunch and no alcohol. I’m sure we can spend it, three times over tomorrow!

The trip down to Uvita started not so well. Our directions stated ‘Go to the main road’. Well, no clues. Sat nav said turn left, we did and the road certainly was not in any sense main.  Pot holes deeper than the grand canyon, no tarmac at all and the satnav just said ‘unmade road’. Thanks Garmin. We guessed. Eventually back to a road. In fairness the views were to die for. We almost did, but now, sitting in our next rather splendid hotel, it was all worth it. And we are safe, yea. Oxygen Villas is totally Fab. Views, great food, nice folk and a yellow throated toucan that  says hi. We have never seen one before. Life can not be sad with toucans in it. They are so happy. I know that this is pure anthropormorphing, but it makes us feel better.

Driving in Costa Rica is actually fairly mellow. And a car is really helpful once at the hotel.

Tomorrow down to the beach. Lovely temperature, sounds of the night and no mozzies. Perfect.Our route. 5 hours of fun.

Maybe tomorrow will be cold and cloudy. Don’t think so!

Cloud Forest, 21.1.19

A day of quiet contemplation. Well, not that quiet as it was blowing 40 knot winds and raining hard at times. The bird watching guided tour in the morning was cancelled and the heaters in the rooms struggled to keep us warm. But, we saw lots of clouds and forests, so all good!. Linda feeling a bit poorly so a gentle day.

We can imagine the relief that would be obtained from the tropical heat of the rest of the country. It is a pleasant 15c here whilst where we are going today, Uvita, it is 29c. And no bugs here. The humming birds, and birds in general, are great but we struggle to see and hear them in this weather. So only photos of things that don’t mind the rain. Plants. A reason to come back? Yep.

Cloud Forest, 20/1/19.

Our first night at El Silencio. Quiet, it is. And jolly wet, quite cold and not exactly cheap! Linda says the styling is superb, sharp and she wants to replicate it at home. Paul says, er, jolly nice. The room is fab, with a rather lovely hot, private Jacuzzi, yea! It was built 11 years ago, total luxury but not really our price bracket. Affordable for 3 nights, just. But we don’t exactly miss the bucket shower that we had in Cambodia. But here is probably 100 times the price. Honestly.

The birds are great, but gosh they are hard to photograph. The ones in the photo are purple throated mountain gem humming birds. We know. The male is purple and gets the credit and the name, but, as ever the female does all the work and has an orange breast. The male went down the pub and hasn’t been seen since. They fly so fast, in a random pattern and never stay anywhere longer than 0.00000001 s. ( I only slightly exaggerate!)

We saw the tufted flycatcher, guess what, catching flies. Cute. On a branch and zooming up for a fly and back to the branch.

It is very green, wet and rather lovely. Total contrast to yesterday in 30c and 99% humidity. Here it is about 1,500m high and we are enjoying no mozzies.

 

 

Day 4, To the Cloud Forest.

 

A day of travel. A 5.30 am start to get the best out of the Jungle walk, breakfast and then a cruise for 2 hours up a small ditch through the rain forest. Fab. The transition from protected national park rain forests to commercial lands was quite dramatic. Pristine nature, then commercial pineapples. Money …..hey ho.

First impressions of the cloud forest…, well, lots of forests, and, er, clouds. The rather special hotel,  El Silensio  is totally fab. And our car. A great 4×4, and not really needed so far, but, feels solid. And $5 a day for number plates, $22 a day for insurance, $3 a day for paint (joke) but $300 for 10 days over the price quoted that “included insurance and unlimited kms” etc.

Tomorrow, about 15c lower temp than yesterday, but new birds, new walks, and new forest noises. Bring it all on! Lovely meal, and feeling relaxed.