Friday, April 8, 2011

Monkeys, macaws and crocs, Oh My!

My latest trip takes me to Costa Rica where I'll get to see the rainforest and the cloud forest as well as an active volcano. Today was our first full day and it was a long one. We took a short tour around San Jose and then hopped on the bus for a looooong bus ride down to Manuel Antonio National Park.

We drove down the "new highway" to the coast and stopped at a few spots along the way. The first stop was in Oratino which is the heart of where much if the fruit is produced. The sign in town says "ciudad de las frutas" which means city of fruit. We stopped and learned about some of the native fruits to CR an tried some of them: guavana, chayote and a cashew fruit. Some were very tasty while others left your mouth feeling like all the moisture had been sucked out.

Along the road to Jaco our guide pointed out wildlife and fold us more about CR. In Tarcoles we stopped on the outskirts of the Carara National Park to see the crocodiles bathing in the sun In the Tarcoles River. We saw at least 20 o them just chilling out on the sand beds. We drove through Jaco and Playa Hermosa on the lookout for scarlet macaws which are commonly found in the area. We tried one spot where you normally see them, but no such luck. It wasn't until we were near Parrita that the bus suddenly pulled over and we hit the jackpot. There had to be close to 10 scarlet macaws in the tree. Absolutely beautiful. I broke out my new 70-300mm lens and got some great pictures!

We then stopped for a quick lunch (at 3pm) in Quepos and then made our way up the switchback road to the Parador Hotel in Manuel Antonio Park. On our way into the park we saw several squirrel monkeys jumping thru the trees.

The hotel is beautiful. It's on a bluff overlooking the pacific with overwhelming vegetation. We were not fortunate enough to have a sunset tonight b/c it is raining off and on. Guess that is what happens when you go to the rainforest.

I'm off to dinner. Will try to update again tomorrow.

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