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Home > ~~ 2003 PHOTO GALLERY ~~ > 12/18/03 to 1/11/04 Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano


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Arenal Volcano was dormant from 1500 AD until June 29, 1968 when it erupted and destroyed two neighboring villages killing 80 people and 45,000 cattle. Since then the volcano generally produces a huge ash column, large explosions and glowing red lava flows daily.

This is where we started our trip. Instead of flying into San Jose and staying the night there, we decided to go immediately up to the Arenal/La Fortuna area. The volcanic activity is supposed to be best seen at night and we had a really decent place to stay with a good view. But, in our two nights there we didn't see or hear any activity. It rained cats and dogs. Apparently, one of the locals told us that for every 100 people that go up the volcano only 1 sees anything.

One day two we hiked down to the Rio Fortuna waterfall which had heavy flows due to all of the rain.

30 files, last one added on Jan 30, 2005

Monteverde Cloud Forest/Santa Elena


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Monteverde is a small community founded in 1951 by a group of Quakers from the States. After being jailed for refusing to register for the military draft in 1949, 44 original settlers migrated to Monteverde, bought 1500 hectares of land and set aside 1/3 of their land to protect the watershed. In 1972, with the held of the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund, more adjacent land was purchased establishing the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

Monteverde is famous for the phenomenon of its cloud forest. A cloud forest occurs when moist, warm air originating from the ocean is forced upwards by mountain slopes. As this moist air rises it cools forming clouds. The constant high level of moisture creates a unique environment with an incredible diversity of innovative life forms.

After leaving Arenal, we came to Monteverde for 3 nights. We stayed at El Establo. Out of all of our hotels, this was the only hotel that met and exceeded our expectations. I honestly can't say enough about the place.

On day two in Monteverde we went to the Reserve and hiked around the Sendero Bosque Nuboso, S. Brillante, Sendero Pantanoso, Sendero Rio, S. El Camino, S. Wilford Guindon trails which took us to the Continental Divide, waterfalls and the cable bridge. Luckily, the paths were rather dry and we didn't require boots. Overall, the reserve is really beautiful, noone was there so we had the place to ourselves but we didn't see the all of the wildlife we've read about.

On day three here we decided to do the Sky Trek Zip Line Tour next to Santa Elena Cloud Forest. The zip tour was more of an amusing ride as opposed to a means to see wildlife. It was really pretty fun to glide through the upper canopy at times hundreds of feet above the ground.

43 files, last one added on Jan 30, 2005

Playa Montezuma


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Located on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Playa Montezuma was a once small fishing village that supposedly came to fame some 20 or so years ago with UFO seekers, hippies and budget travelers. While Montezuma does attract budget travelers we didn't see the UFOs or hippies. Instead we found miles of abandoned beach met by the jungle, waterfalls, Cabo Blanco and our fist encounter with monkeys.

From Santa Elena we caught the bus to Puntarenus (which took forever), caught the ferry to Paquera and then the bus to Montezuma. We stayed at El Sano Banano and El Jardin and both were okay.

As for the town of Montezuma, we were in the "love it" crowd. The town is tiny and as opposed to all of the other places we visited Montezuma was nicely compact and perfect for foot travel. Overall the beaches were spectacular but for a few days around Christmas when the Ticos flooded the area there was a lot of trash on the beaches. Apparently, Ticos don't have any desire to pick up after themselves (see the trash on the streets of Puntarenus). After the Ticos left, the trash was gone thanks to high tide.

Coming from the mountains down to the beach, the heat and humidity were rather overwhelming. It was hot and so humid that there was steam visibly looming over the beaches.

We stayed some 8-9 nights or so and days were spent mainly going to beach. Meaghan shed her first layer of skin here.

On one of the days here, we did go to the Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve and hiked 2 of the most exhausting hours (heat and humidity) each way to the beaches. On another day we went to waterfalls just west of town.

On maybe the third day, we saw our first monkeys. While not the same as seeing monkeys in the wild, a local soda fed a family of monkeys and on a daily basis they came down ready for breakfast. I don't like the idea of feeding the wildlife but for a moment these monkeys were so cool I really didn't care.

Lastly, instead of doing the bus to Paquera, ferry to Puntarenus and then bus to Quepos in order to get to Manuel Antonio, we decided to catch a little boat straight from Montezuma to Jaco and then catch the bus to Quepos. Cool little ride and it saved us 5-6 hours in travel time.

80 files, last one added on Jan 30, 2005

Manuel Antonio


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Manuel Antonio is one of the most beautiful parks in Costa Rica. Despite being one of the smallest national parks (1700 acres), no other destination in Costa Rica has received more international attention.

This attention brings droves and droves of people. But, despite the hoards of visitors, the wildlife, jungle and beaches are rather remarkable. This is the only place we saw slothes. In fact, it was rather hard to miss them because there were 20 people taking pictures of them. We also saw the squirrel monkeys and white faced capuchin monkeys.

56 files, last one added on Jan 30, 2005

Dominical/Playa Dominicalito


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Dominical is a tiny little town on the beach as you head south from Manuel Antonio. Its famous for surfing, the beaches, jungle water falls and the views.

While we were here for 12 days, we really didn't do anything. We'd eat, go down to the beach, eat again and go to bed early. We stayed on Playa Dominicalito at Costa Paraiso Lodge, a really nice place, and we also stayed at Villa Rio Mar which is on the banks of the Rio Baru.

One really cool thing here was that we got to whales a few hundred yards from the beach. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera.

52 files, last one added on Jan 30, 2005

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