Thursday, January 31, 2008

Costa Rica - Day 1 & 2 at a Glance

Our day started at 2:30 a.m. when we woke up to get ready for the airport. Fastforward: We landed in Costa Rica at 2:00 p.m., found a Taxi to take us 90 miles to our resort for $80.00. (pretty cheap!) We entered the resort at 4:30 p.m. which was 14 hours of travel time. We checked in, took a shuttle to our bungalow, rid our burdon of luggage and took off to explore what we could before dark. Our resort was P-E-R-F-E-C-T! The entire place was set in amidst the jungle with preservation in mind over the almighty dollar. Very little of this rainforest was escavated for buildings, and what was, was replaced with beautiful tropical plants and groundcovers. The bungalows were set in around the largest of the ginormous trees, and the vines and such were kept in their natural state.
The rooms were pretty much what we expected, nothing froo-froo, but there was a fantastic view. We loved it that way, because we didn't want to spend any time there anyway. It was cozy, had a fridge for snacks and drinks, it was clean, had double beds, and the shower worked great.
Our first night out, we were lost. The map we were given was confusing. We took wrong turns a few times. It was a long walk back to the office, but we needed to get back there so that we could call a shuttle to take us to the snack shop because we were starving. We didn't realize just how big it was until we had to walk. We had burgers at an outdoor cafe and at this time it was dark. The sounds were awesome! The jungle comes alive at night, along with the ocean waves that we heard from our table. We decided to find our way to the surf, so that we could get a sneek peek at what to expect tomorrow when the sun was up. We walked among hermit crabs scavenging for food all over the beach on this night. We walked back to the office to get a shuttle back to the room. This was getting old real quick! />

On our first morning, we headed to breakfast which was across the path, and as we approach, I see a monkey on the roof! Wow, monkeys for breakfast! We sat under the outer shelter, and was entertained by a few of the monkeys trying to steal food. We couldn't believe that on our first full day, in our first few minutes, we get to share our morning with monkeys! Who does that? We were ecstatic with amazement! We stayed until we realized we were the last ones there, and eventually left. I probably took 200 photos... already.
We start walking in no particular direction and are perplexed on what to do and where to go. With all this walking, we need a plan or we will wear out our shoes zigzagging. I thought that maybe we should rent a golfcart at least for the day so that we could get to know our surroundings for future endeavors. We headed toward the office and found out it was $55 per day. What a scam! might just be worth it in timesaving and sense of direction for just one we rent and take off. Wow, did we ever explore! We found all kinds of trails, found the beach, found the pools, and all kinds of stuff. We decided to find the other beach which is famous for its white sand, and start driving. />

This beach was not easy to get to. There is no way we would ever walk. We took a winding road up and down hills along the coastline for what seemed like miles. It had great views, but no one ever walks. We find our own little parking lot for golfcarts and hit the beach. It was gorgeous to say the least. The surf was bigger than any beach I've ever been to. We saw boogie boarders do their tricks and we enjoyed the day until sunset. We saw Scarlet Macaws flying high and squawking over the beach, and I could hardly contain my excitement. I had to get a great picture of these guys. I could hardly wait. I walked the coastline with my camera ready, but never did get a decent shot that day. Our first day at Costa Rica was more than we ever expected!...and... the Macaws will taunt me again...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Costa Rica at a Glance

I am back from beautiful Costa Rica! I took a bazillion photos, and am still going thru them, but...I did find 1 to tease my readers with. This monkey was kind enough to stop by, on his way to breakfast, and pose for his glamour shot. I have a million stories, and pictures, and way too little of time to blog it all with, so to do my stories justice, I will temporarily post this teaser, and settle in to my digital duties before I unload. Check back tomorrow, I just might have another teaser, if not a tidbit more of a story. Until then...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Photo of the Day-Finally!

I just had to post the picture that won "Photo of the Day" on the website I belong to called My Park Photos. I have been a member on this site for 2 years, posted 100's of pictures, and finally...I win!

This site is international and is intended to show photos taken from various parks around the world, and to promote and encourage visitation to local, state and national public lands. The photography from these members is quite impressive! Most of the time, I have felt out of my league, and others, quite worthy, but this particular photo was not one I thought had a chance. I was completely surprised! There are 100's of members and I have benefited from meeting various people through the site, who encourage & critique, as well as offer their friendship through common interests. Their support keeps me posting time after time, and I am so glad I found the wonderful community on the site.

If you haven't already been to the site, check it out!

I am off to Costa Rica, so come back soon, I will post again when I get back with fabulous photos from the jungle! January 26th.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Costa Rica Here We Come!

Todays post is all about Costa Rica and our upcoming trip on January 18th. We will be there for a week, and have lots of activities planned. I am hoping to come back with 1000's of images and the great task of weeding through the "crapshots" for some awesome images of Costa Rican wildlife. My suitcase is already packed and the camera gear on the ready.

The resort is in the Puntaneras region along the Central Pacific coast. There are 3 beaches at this particular resort which borders the surrounding jungle reserve. We are staying in a bungalow within the jungle on the resort grounds. One of the beaches is the only beach to get a "4 blue flags and quadruple A rating" (whatever that means!). They have a zipline within, along with guided nature walks both day and night. There are 3 trails on 750 acres of private jungle. This particular reserve is of great importance from a biological standpoint because it is one of the few remaining forests in the transitional life zone between the Dry Forest of the Northwest and the Rainforest of the Southwest. It is regarded as an excellent place for birdwatching with over 330 migratory and resident bird species, including the brilliant Scarlet Macaw, Marbled Wood-Quail, Three-wattled Bellbird, Toucans, Trogons, Manakins, Flycatchers, and Hummingbirds. The reserve is also home to white faced monkeys, spider monkeys, sloths, white-nosed coati mundi, tyras, raccoons, iguanas and a large number of butterflies.

Other activities I am getting excited about is the zipline canopy tour off the property, Arenal Volcano/Hotsprings tour, dolphin/whale watching/snorkeling on a catamaran, and possibly whitewater rafting if we can squeeze it in.
The representation of animals in the image above is a shortlist wishlist for our stay in Costa Rica. I'm not entirely sure the Jaguar is a given there...but the others seem within reach of my goal.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Another Long Eared Photo

I really liked this photo (click on photo to enlarge), so I had to add it to the blog. I photoshopped all of the background branches out, as it was very distracting to me. (reference the 3rd photo of the previous post)

This individual flew out of the pines that contained a total of 6 LEO's into this bare tree about 10 feet away. I think his stay was short because of his exposure, as he flew off and back into the pines after maybe 3 minutes. Of all the different pictures I have seen of this bird by amateur photographers, I have never seen a shot where he wasn't partially hidden. Lucky me!