Costa Rica, conclusion

 ... heading back, with stops

by Russ Priestley

On this first full day at our Pacific shorefront hotel we were given the option of a day at the white sand beach of the Gold Coast, or the Canopy Trail tour through the jungle ... which is not a day at the beach. The color photo of us as jungle swingers appeared as the front page photo in the first installment. You may review it by a click here. We figured we could get a tan or go snorkeling back home in the Atlantic Ocean, but there is not a chance at home of swinging through the jungle on a sturdy steel cable and supported by a canvas sling to land on each of the fourteen wooden platforms.

We departed from our hotel the next morning to board an excursion boat on the Bebedoro River in the Palo Verde National Park, a major sanctuary for waterfowl. Eight hundred and fifty species of birds thrive here in Costa Rica ... more than on the entire North American continent. For viewing here were cormorants, herons, storks, ibis, spoonbills, egrets and grebes. Although we saw all of these, our camera shots were from a distance or the birds were in the protective cover of foliage. I had a hunch that one bird would cackle to his mate, "Hey, Mable! Here comes another boatload of those rubber-necking tourists. Let's tease them a bit, eh?"

Brahman cattle were also in residence. This breed, having a large hump over the shoulders, developed in India, is used for crossbreeding of beef cattle. They are not to be confused with the Brahmin of New England who are considered to be cultured, haughty and upper class ... by themselves, at least. Dinner at the Flamingo ended our day.

Next day we traveled south on the Pan-American Highway until reaching the Tarcoles River which runs south to the salt water of the Pacific. Our boat excursion here presented a chance to watch crocodiles. These creatures measure up to fifteen feet in length and can weigh up to four hundred and fifty pounds.

Following this we checked in at the Los Suenos
Marriott Beach and Golf Resort on the Pacific Gulf of Nicoya. Here we had a palatial Spanish colonial style set of terra cotta colored buildings in contrast to the enormous set of gleaming blue pools with their own little islands.

The interior featured polished floor tiles, marble and antique furniture. We are about 160 kilometers or 100 miles from San Jose, making that city closer to the Pacific Ocean than to the Atlantic Ocean.

In the evening we were taken into the town of Jaco, visited the local supermarket and dined at an oceanside restaurant. On the following day we passed up a chance to visit the Carara Biological Reserve, home of the endangered scarlet macaw. Instead we admired the great number of pools of all sizes and shapes on the property, plus the bountiful buffet available.

Day 13 found us leaving the Marriott to head for San Jose, our starting point. We stopped for lunch and noticed how the traffic was increasing as we neared the capital city. We had come full circle when we arrived at the Amon Plaza Hotel.

View of downtown San Jose from our hotel.

All of us attended the Farewell Dinner and were presented with a list of our traveling companions, with email and home addresses, courtesy of our Program Director Olga Nardone. It was then off to bed in order to get up at 3:00 a.m. for a quick breakfast, took a bus ride to the airport and caught an early morning flight to Miami. This was followed by a connecting flight to Boston as we reflected on a wonderful two-week trip to the beautiful country of Costa Rica and its warm and friendly people.  

Editor's note: To read Part 1 of this series click here.
To read Part 2 of this series click here.
To read Part 3 of this series click here.

August 1, 2003

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