Time for a new house

Time for a new house
Time for a new house

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Another Sea Day and Costa Rica January 9 and 10

01_09_2 (2) We wakened at 7am to the clear fresh skies of the Pacific Ocean and another peaceful day at sea.  Up to the track to walk our morning mile, then down to the rear deck of the seaside cafe for an excellent breakfast.  Spent some time in the computer lab checking email, went to the theater for an interesting talk on the plants and animals of the rain forest, and spent the afternoon sunning and swimming.  Typical for a day at sea, and I barely remember the details.  The day just completely fell into the rhythm of eating, walking, reading, knitting, and just sitting in the sun.

01_10_Costa_rica (3) After a peaceful night at sea, Sunday morning dawned, our day in Costa Rica!  I looked forward so much to this part of the trip.  Mo has been to Costa Rica before, but for me this was just a little taste of a country I hope to visit more in depth.  We were in port by 7am, with the mountains misty and beautiful all around the bay.  We landed at Puntarenas, a small beach town/fishing village on a peninsula on the western coast.  The outing we chose stayed on the drier side of Costa Rica, in order to experience the more rural countryside instead of the hugely popular zip line/canopy tours in the rainforest. Costa Rica is a small country, just about the size of West Virginia but it has three mountain ranges and such an abundance of flora and fauna that almost one quarter of its total land is held as national parks or private reserves. Most Costa Ricans reside in the fertile agricultural plateau in the heart of the country, many near the capital city of San Jose.  We traveled in the western part of the country, the dry side (with only 120 inches of rainfall).

01_10_Costa_rica (11) The day was lovely, with a long bumpy bus ride through small towns and 01_10_Costa_rica (42)villages, on rough dirt roads.  We stopped at a small store and restaurant along the way for coffee and a visit with the wild macaws that live in the trees.  Only partially wild, since they were happy to be hand fed by the tourists while we took their picture. Since it was Sunday, there were people around, hanging out on porches, sweeping floors, leaning on brooms and shovels, and watching us watch them. 

01_10_Costa_rica (79) When we arrived at the Tempisque River, we boarded a long narrow wooden boat with our fellow tourists and the guide to see crocodiles and look for bird life.  It was a bit scary, since the wind was high and the river was wild and muddy.  The boat seemed entirely too small for the rough waves, especially with large crocodiles in the river!  When something appeared on shore, silly tourists were all rushing to one side of the boat or the other, tipping it precariously in the wind and waves.  I wasn’t at all sure that this boat was made for the number of people on it, especially dumb people, and especially in the wild winds! 

01_10_Costa_rica (85) We enjoyed the ride in spite of the scares, hearing howler monkeys, gorgeous birds, a brilliant roseate  spoonbill, huge iguanas, and a very big crocodile.  After we landed on shore, we were herded into brightly painted oxcarts and hauled across the open countryside to an animal reserve. The cattle in Costa Rica, in this part at least, are all brahmas, beautiful soft faced cows and bulls, with muted colors.  I think they were the prettiest cows I have ever seen.  At the reserve, we saw many rescued animals, ocelots, monkeys, toucans, tapirs, peccaries, and some very huge crocodiles.  Our lunch was typical Costa Rican food, beans and rice and wild tasting but good chicken. 

01_10b_Costa_rica (49)On the  way back to the ship, we had hoped to shop for some Costa Rican coffee, but since it was Sunday, all the shops were closed.  We arrived in Puntarenas at sunset for boarding our ship and sailing out of the harbor.  Beautiful.  I would truly love to spend some more time in this country.  The day trips from a cruise ship are such a tiny taste of what is part of a magical, tropical country.

The rest of the photos of our day in Costa Rica are here.