Costa Rica: a beautiful country and wonderful people · 11/20/2010 - 11/28/2010

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M & I went to Costa Rica over Thanksgiving. It was my fourth trip and her first to the country. We flew through San Jose, overnighted at the Grano del Oro, and then on to the remote and beautiful Osa Penninsula. After a ride on Nature Air's small aircraft and an hour and a half 4 wheel drive passage over 18 miles of waterlogged roads we arrived at the Bosque del Cabo resort.

Here you are greeted with the Costa Rican welcome and charm that make visiting this country such a wonderful experience. The gardens of Bosque are adorned with fan palms and flowers and are frequented in the early mornings by white face monkeys, scarlet macaws, toucans and coati. It is surrounded by primary rainforest and sits high on a cliff that drops to the lava rock beaches where the pacific and the gulf meet.

We spent four days hiking through the jungle, through creeks, repelled waterfalls and enjoyed the moments with all the creatures of one of the worlds most well preserved lowland rainforest.

From Bosque we flew back to San Jose. Had dinner with a wonderful couple we met in Bosque and their local friends from San Jose. We learned from them about how they are extending microcredit in Africa and Nicaragua to try to lift people from poverty and empower the people who are neglected by years of corruption in government.

Early the next morning we were picked up by Rios Tropicales and shuttled to Turrialba, the put in of the Paquare river. The first day was hot and sunny with class 2 & 3 whitewater. We stopped for the night at a riverside lodge. We would have hiked or swam or zip lined but the rain started coming down and didn't stop through the entirety of the next day. As we waited to set ourselves adrift the next morning we watched the river rising about a foot an hour. Michelle was nervous but she took quickly to the class 4 water. After a suckhole pulled the right side of the raft into its grasp and snatched michelle from the boat, we pulled her in. By then we were in the thick of it and she was having a blast.

Thanks to our guide, Roy, and a lot of hard paddling by the crew, Michelle's short swim was the only light casualty of the day and we thoroughly enjoyed the pouring rain, waterfalls and the wild river winding and falling through thick jungle.

We spent our last night at the luxurious grano del oro, ordered room service and aired out our waterlogged belongings. What a trip.

Lessons learned:
You're going to the Rainforest--it will rain. close toed shoes like Keen's are the best. Don't even bother with Chaco's or Tevas. They'll wear your soft wet skin out.

From prior experience, try not to drive yourself around. When possible get a lift. Taking this on makes for stressful passage and you will certainly get lost or delayed more than once.

Be in the moment, the costa rican people are warm and friendly, Pura Vida is their essence of being. There are many foreign immigrants who aren't as pleasant, however, so keep your head on and be smart.

Follow this and you will have a Costa Rican experience that will enrich and enlighten.

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