Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bienvenidos a Costa Rica

We left Panama on Saturday and took the bus across the border to Costa Rica.  We arrived at a little ecolodge on the ocean in the afternoon and were promptly greeted by a bunch of white-faced capuchin monkeys.  They played in the trees outside our cabin although they moved so quickly I could barely snap a picture.
White-faced capuchin monkeys
One Toucan
Tou Toucans
We spent two nights at this ecolodge hiking the trails, playing in the ocean and swimming in a natural spring.  The food was really good and most of it was grown on their farm.  We had fun each night at dinnertime although our kids were practically falling asleep at the table by the time we wrapped up.  The view from the jungle overlooking the ocean was amazing.  The coastline in Uvita is protected by the Parque Nacional de Ballena, (Whale National Park), and you can see the shape of a whale's tail formed by the sandbars and coral reefs on the north of the beach.  Pods of Humpback whales frequent the area although we weren't there at the right time of year.
The whale's tail formation is hard to see in this photograph, but you can walk all the way out to the end at low tide.
Natural spring called a posa
Getting ready to jump (it was nice and deep!)
The waves and the beach were great.  We visited the town of Uvita on Sunday to hang out at the public beach and Harper was bodysurfing on the mellow waves all morning.  The surf was shallow for a nice long stretch and the current wasn't too strong.  Harper navigated a little Spanglish deal with a boy there and he shared his inflatable whale with her for a bit.  Cal loved jumping in the waves and when the surf got larger he just cracked up as he bounced around and held on to us for balance.
Here is the public beach in Uvita.  You can see la cusinga on the hill opposite.  
Just in front of the lookout area at the lodge we saw toucans and parrots both mornings.  We also heard howler monkeys throughout the day (and intermittently throughout the night!) but we never saw them.  Our first time hearing them we nicknamed them "growler" monkeys because their calls were really loud and kind of scary as we hiked back up the jungle trail from the beach.  Harper and I picked up the pace as they called to each other over our heads.
Another time Harper and I saw these crazy looking animals in the trees and I can't remember their names.  They looked like a mix between a monkey, a bear and a raccoon.  I wish I my camera to get a picture.
The coolest leaf-imposter bug ever!
Golden orb spider (the size of my fist)
Hummingbirds are all over this place.
The people working at the lodge were really friendly, especially one guy named Adam.  He is Costa Rican and spoke English very well, but he made sure to chat in Spanish with Harper and Cal each time we saw him.  He gave them all kinds of attention and they were happy to see him at breakfast and dinner.  He also helped us heaps in navigating the bus schedule to Jaco on Sunday and we were very grateful for his advice as we just made it in time!

i heart this photo of Harper
Not a bad spot for a snack

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