Last Update: 05-NOV-2016

Costa Rica adventure - December 2013 - Part 2
Playa Hermosa, Grecia, Sky walk, at Villa Lapas, Parque National Manuel Antonio

All photos were taken with a Canon PowerShot S90 10mp, S100 12.1mp camera or a Nikon D-70 6.1mp camera
Any Video was shot with a Canon PowerShot S90 or a S100 camera and converted with AWS Video Converter 6

  • Information on cameras used on these trips

    Saturday - DEC 07 2013

    The cell tower near the house. Phone and internet

    It's 2pm and the clouds have returned

    The fan in the bedroom actually worked. And made no noise !

    Sunday - DEC 08 2013

    Great Kiskadee - largest of the tyrant flycatchers. They are VERY COMMON ! The opportunistic behavior of the Great Kiskadee allows for it to flourish in most Latin American urban areas. Not being appreciated as a songbird, the Great Kiskadee is not usually kept caged and therefore has escaped the depredations of poaching for the pet trade. Also, its feeding mostly on live prey makes it extremely difficult to keep in captivity.

    Kiskadees would drink out of the pool. They even did it when we were sitting on the edge of the pool or in the water but were a little more cautious.

    Every day the small town of Desmonte (I think) would set off some large mortar fireworks. It would shake the house and make a rather large cloud of smoke over the town.

  • MOVIE - 63 meg Driving on CR-713

    Since the clouds were moving in on Sunday afternoon we decided to go for a ride. We went west on 3 a few miles then north on 713. This road was very rough and it was the only time I used the four wheel drive. We ended up going up over the mountains and even saw some pine trees. We ended up in San Ramon and this was the only place that we encountered that did not want US dollars when I bought gas. I was happy that I have a 20,000 bill to pay for the gas.

    Looking at cloud covered Volcan Poas

    Clouds to the west. Lots of antennas and another look at cloud-covered Volcan Poas

    We ended up in Grecia where a large horse parade was taking place. Also, we wanted to see the metal church.

    Grecia (Spanish: meaning "Greece") is the capital city of the canton of Grecia in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica. It is also the name of the distrito (Spanish: meaning "district") that includes the city. The district of Grecia covers an area of 6.86 sq km, and has a population of 15,457

    This is a popular city with North American expats. Since the city is higher (999 meters, 3277 feet) it's cooler

    Grecia is noted for its unique church, Iglesia de la Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, made entirely of pre-fabricated steel plates painted red. There are several urban legends about this church. One recounts how the church was donated by some foreign country, and sent to Greece as a gift, but was wrongly shipped to Grecia, Costa Rica. Another legend states that the final destination of the church was the city of Punta Arenas in Chile but was disembarked, by mistake, in the port of Puntarenas, Costa Rica and later sent to the city of Grecia where it was assembled.

    However, records clearly show that the instruction, shipment, and construction of the church were a coordinated effort of Grecia's population, the Catholic Church, the Costa Rican government, and Alejo E. Jimenez Bonnefil (1858-1922), a Costa Rican coffee producer and exporter who was in charge of commanding and importing the church from the manufacturer, Ateliers de la Societe de Couvillet in Belgium, in the late 19th Century.

    Cool moth at the house. And its not poisonous

    Monday - DEC 09 2013

    Dave and Monika wanted to stay home today so we headed to the coast.

    Mary wanted to either go ziplining or do the hanging bridges of Monteverde, however we couldn't go that far without spending the night. We will do Monteverde and Arenal on another trip and stay a night or two. But I found that Sky walk, at Villa Lapas, (an hour away from the house) has the Sky Way walking tour 1.5 miles (2.5 km) in length, and five suspended bridges at more than 180 feet above the ground! Each of these bridges is an astonishing 300 feet length, crossing through the very heart of the tropical rainforest. We got there around 10 AM, which was later than we should have because it was hot and we saw very few birds.

    This looked like a guava tree with rather large fruit on it. Psidium species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, mainly moths like the Ello Sphinx (Erinnyis ello), Eupseudosoma aberrans, E. involutum, and Hypercompe icasia. Mites like Pronematus pruni and Tydeus munsteri are known to parasitize the Apple Guava (P. guajava) and perhaps other species. The bacterium Erwinia psidii causes rot diseases of the Apple Guava. The fruit is not only relished by humans, but by many mammals and birds as well. The spread of introduced guavas owes much to this fact, since animals eat the fruit and disperse the seeds in their droppings.

    Ken's friends, the Leaf Cutter Ants

    Rio Tarcoles and looking up the coast towards Puntarenas

  • MOVIE - 22 meg Leaf cutter ants

    Along the hanging bridge trail

    Along the hanging bridge trail

    Still along the hanging bridge trail

    The green-and-black poison frog, while not the most toxic poison dart frog, is still a highly toxic animal. The very small amount of poison the frog possesses is still enough to make a human ill. Like most poison dart frogs, however, the green-and-black poison dart frog will only release its poison if it feels that it is threatened, and wild specimens can be handled if the human holding it is calm and relaxed. Green poison dart frogs live in the rainforests of Central and South America. Males are territorial and fight to establish their home territory for a mating season. Females lay up to six eggs in a small pool of water and they leave the males to look after the eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the male carries the tadpoles on his back and deposits them in a pond or stream where they develop to maturity on their own.

    Still along the hanging bridge trail

    Hiking back to the car along a very hot road.

    These are cool how they stick to the trees

    We ate at this place in April and I remember it was ok. We tried it again. NOT GOOD. We did not get much and the hot dog I ordered was similar to a Vienna sausage in texture and size. Our basic lunch came out to 46 US !

    They had no soup & the salad bar was closed. Also, the WIFI was down. What can I say as all this was on the big sign out front. Its called Steve & Lisa's

    Two weeks of meals and this one was by far the worse we had.

    Playa Herradura is a small beach located on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, about 3.5 miles (6km) north of the town Jaco. It's Spanish name means "horseshoe", which refers to the shape of the beach.

    From the beach you can see the Marriot resort north of town. Playa Herradura or Herradura Beach is home to the Los Suenos Resort and Marina and is globally known as the Fishing Capital of Costa Rica, playing home to Costa Rica's only full service five star Marina, and home to the largest fleet of the country's top Big Game Sport Fishing Captains and boats. Each time we have been here there are lots of small fishing boats along this beach. The water is warm and the beach is black sand.

    We ate a pleasant lunch at El Pelicano, which is right off the beach, with views of the water.

    Some type of worm thing was all over the beach

    We continued south past Jacó and stopped along CR34 at the viewpoint

    Leaf cutter ants here too

    Playa Hermosa Trip #2

    Heading further south below Jaco we follow a road that leads to a beautiful deserted beach. This is a wildlife refuge for sea turtle nesting. There are wetlands along this stretch and many colorful birds. Also iguanas are plentiful at the parking area amongst the palms.

    Playa Hermosa is a small community of surfer friendly hotels and small restaurants & all accommodations are located beachfront, with surf right out the door. Because the surf in Playa Hermosa is more challenging than nearby Jaco, this area attracts a more experienced surfer. We drove by a few surfers but saw more fishermen in the surf and a few swimmers.

    Someone taking their cow for a walk/run on the beach. Something you don't see every day.

    Next we saw the cowboy trying to catch him. He motioned to his buddy who had a lasso, which would be needed to get the cow back to the ranch!

    Ride back on CR27 and encountered road work. We would have liked to take CR3 but figured it was very cloudy in the mountains

  • MOVIE - 64 meg Driving on CR27 over the Mts. Not that intense

  • MOVIE - 10 meg Fog on our unpaved road

    Tonight's featured bug - Tarantula

    This is where we would do most of our shopping. Supermercado Coopeatenas. It was safe and had everything we were looking for. Also, I felt safe using the credit card here.

    Tuesday - DEC 10 2013

    Parque National Manuel Antonio adventure

    The drive down to Parque National Manuel Antonio was great ! We left early and arrived at the park before 8. Again, we were worried that this was far but it was not much more than driving to work and much more scenic. We drove thru palm oil plantations and could smell the oils being processed. Again, CR34 is a easy road to drive.

  • MOVIE - 20 meg Driving down on CR34 across the palm oil plantations

    Parque National Manuel Antonio

    This park is just south of Quepos on the Pacific Coast, 132 km from San Jose. Perhaps It is so popular because of its expensive white sand beaches backed by an evergreen forest that grows right up to the high tide line. The principal habitats are primary forest, secondary forest, mangrove swamps, lagoons and beach vegetation.

    We've wanted to go to Manuel Antonio National Park but were concerned with the 3 hour ride. It was an easy ride however and we enjoyed the day very much. Although Manuel Antonio National Park is Costa Rica's smallest national park, the diversity of wildlife in its 6.83 km2 (3 sq mi) is unequaled with 109 species ofmammals and 184 species of birds. Both Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth and Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth (perezosos) are a major feature, as are three of Costa Rica's four monkey species - the Mantled Howler monkey, Central American Squirrel Monkey, and White-headed Capuchin monkey. Black Spiny-tailed Iguana, Green Iguana, Common Basilisk, White-nosed Coati and many snake and bat species are also common in the park. Included in the 184 bird species are toucans,woodpeckers, potoos, motmots, tanagers, Turkey Vulture, parakeets and hawks.

    We arrived shortly after the park opened around 8 AM. We opted to not hire a guide but found that there were plenty along the main trail and they did help us find various species high up in the canopy, including the sloths.

    Spider webs & along the trail

    The guide told his group that the sloth was giving birth. She made no sound and we could see the baby clinging to the mother. Amazing sight!

    We walked the length of the main trail and ended up at Playa Manuel Antonio. This beautiful beach was so inviting I went right in. There were a dozen swimmers and the temperature was wonderful, and so refreshing after the hike. The park ranger came running toward me and waved me in. I asked if he saw a shark. He said cocodrilo, put his palms together, opened them and forced them closed. A croc!

    Lots of raccoon's around here. We saw people hitting them with sticks to get them out of their beach supplies.

  • MOVIE - 18 meg crocodile in the surf

    I got it - crocodile - shown in this photo above the date stamp.

    So I got out and we walked to the sign he was posting.

    Maps and trails in the area

    I imagined a caiman in this photo below the log (tree)

    We took the Punta Catedral trail, which provided great views.

    Mirador (viewpoint) Punta Catedral

    Mirador (viewpoint) Isla Verde

    It was very hot at 84.4 dewpoint (70 is nasty at home) 105.3 degree heat index with 82% humidity. The trail was well maintained and had beautiful flora.

    Along the trail, nasty spikes on a tree and very white rainforest water

    Mirador (viewpoint) Playa Gemelas Punta Serrucho

    Puente / Bridge - La Trampa

    At the end of the trail near the beach we encountered the white capuchin monkeys. They are used to people and we were warned that they will take your backpacks.

    They look so tame

    The guy in this photo had his backpack open and the monkey started to take one of the bags, before we yelled and he zipped his pack.

    Mirador (viewpoint) La Trampa

    Back to the deserted beach Playa Manuel Antonio to take some christmas card photos

    The beach remained closed so we headed to Playa Espadila Sur

    This beach is still part of the park and there were no beach umbrellas or drinks (which we needed) so we continued north to Playa Espadilla Norte.

    We had to cross a lagoon and they warn you about crocodiles, but we saw none.

    So we rented a large beach umbrella with chairs and got some drinks. Horses, motorcycles, you name it they had it on this nice beach.

    Yes, we take lots of insect and critter photos but we do understand that cameras can be used for other reasons! Nice outfit!

    More horses

    Cool old tree

    Nothing on the web

    Interesting way to make chairs out of rebar

    Back up CR34 to Jaco

    Like I have said. CR34 is a great road. Hardly any traffic, lots of places to pass, Interesting trees, critters and views of the pacific. The speed limit is 80kph (49mph). I stayed around 100kph (62mph) and it felt very safe. I would not have any issue driving this at night.

    After leaving the beach we headed north to Villa Caletas for sunset and dinner. It was a beautiful night and dinner was very good, but pricey at $80 per couple. We need to arrive at 5:00 next time for happy hour for $5 drinks.

    Villa Caletas

    Appx. 1,150 feet above the pacific.
    We ate at the Mirador Restaurant.

    Hotel Amphitheater - We enjoyed the world famous sunset at Villa Caletas with cocktails and music.

    Mary wearing the flower from my drink

    Excellent sunset from our table. Looking across the Golfo de Nicoya 52km (33 miles) to the end of the Nicoya Peninsula (Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve)

    Rather large spiders around the restaurant

    This was one of the most memorable days of the vacation ! Will definitely go back to Manual Antonio and eat at Villa Caletas again !

  • On to - Part 3 - Around the house, Monkey Mangrove Tour near Quepos and the flight home

  • Costa Rica adventure - December 2013