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Costa Rica

In June of 2023, my Dad and I went on a group tour to Costa Rica. We spent 9 nights in the country.

On day 1 we flew to Costa Rica and arrived in San José which was founded in 1737 as “Villa Nueva de la Boca Del Monte del Valle de Abra”. The city’s name was later abbreviated in honor of its patron saint: “San José.” Costa Rica is home to one tenth of the world’s bird species and of the world’s butterflies. This is the hotel we stayed at:

On day 2 we drove through downtown San José and over the continental divide to Puerto Ecológico Caño Blanco. From there we took a boat ride through the Tortuguero canals until we reached Tortuguero Village. We then walked to our hotel and around the village. The village was founded in the 1930s by Colombians exporting sea turtles and coconuts. Tortuguero Village today is accessible only by boat and home to just 700 residents. It is the most important Caribbean breeding ground for green sea turtles who have lived here for over 100 million years!

On the morning of day 3 we took a boat ride through the Tortuguero canals to see howler monkeys, spider monkeys, caimans, and other wildlife.

In the afternoon we took a hike through Tortuguero National Park.

Our group finished the walk on the Caribbean beach.

In the evening, we were able to observe a pregnant sea turtle (about 4' long) dig her hole on the beach, lay eggs, bury them, and return to the Caribbean.

On day 4 we traveled by boat back through the Tortuguera canals to Puerto Ecológico Caño Blanco. We then headed by bus to Sarapiquí, where the Rio Sarapiquí and Rio Puerto Viejo converge in the Caribbean lowlands (making it a popular destination for ecotourists and birdwatchers). We stopped on the way to sample local food. Once we arrived, we took a chocolate tour at La Tirimbina.

On the morning of day 5, we did a zip line canopy tour.

In the afternoon, we took a whitewater rafting excursion in on the Sarapiquí River rapids (level 2-3) while admiring the lush Costa Rican scenery and stretches of tropical forest. Our rafting guide was Ronaldo.

On day 6 we traveled to the Arenal volcano region going across the Central Valley. On the way, we did a pineapple tour.

We then had lunch at Finca Educativa Don Juan (an education farm) and visited the town of La Fortuna.

Later in the afternoon, we visited Arenal 1968 at the Arenal Volcano National Park.

Our hotel for the next two evenings had a great view of the volcano.

On day 7 we visited La Fortuna Waterfall, the Rio Fortuna waterfall located within the thick rain forest near the town of La Fortuna.

We then kayaked on Lake Arenal where we viewed Arenal Volcano, the green hills of Alajuela, the San Carlos plain, and the Pacific lowlands.

We then spent a few hours at Baldi Hot Springs.

On day 8 we continued our western journey towards the Pacific Ocean. Our first stop, after driving the shore of Lake Arenal to its' west end, was at a cafe with a nice view.

We drove to near Rincon de la Vieja National Park, a rain/cloud forest located high in the mountains (but were unable to visit since the park had been closed earlier in the day due to dangerious geothermal gas levels).

We then traveled to Tamarindo for our final hotel.

On day 9, we visited Langosta Beach Club.

On day 10 we flew home.

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