Live from Costa Rica...

Old Jul 10th, 2011, 05:48 PM
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Sarah: I admire your son. Most of us are so self absorbed at that age, I know I was. And you were right about the sleep, they had a great day today!

mlgb: Thanks, I miss my volcano.

plumboy: It is a golden orb, I googled it. And AOL has been a big highlight for us, you'll love it. Oh, and it's much hotter in Bklyn right now...temps are nice here...not to rub it in or anything.

MoonGirl: You are right on about homesickness, thanks. I told them the same thing about missing things in Costa Rica when they get home. They've actually been great today, not a mention of home and they've been so happy.

Day 10:

We were out early and drove south to Hacienda Baru. Daniela and Christopher had round two of zip lining - they both enjoyed themselves but said the lines were slower and shorter than Los Lagos. While they zipped, Ryan and I walked the trails at Baru and had an amazing experience - the trails run through the most beautiful rainforest!

We saw a Blue Morpho butterfly, numerous basilisks skipping across streams, and a troop of Capuchin monkeys which gave us a bit of a scare. We were surrounded by them at one point, and I was videoing a mother with a baby on her back, when out of nowhere two very large monkeys jumped down to a close branch and bared their teeth at us...their HUGE teeth! It was actually pretty frightening! I pushed Ryan behind me and we slowly backed away. They stared us down until we were a good distance and then they all retreated into the canopy. Wild!

We then drove a half hour further south and had lunch at Tilapias El Pavon where we all caught our own lunch at the tilapia farm. It was fun and tasty...worth the drive! There is also a small waterfall across the road from the restaurant where you can swim, but it started raining so we headed back north.

Dinner was at El Avion. I've read some bad things about this place...touristy, mediocre food, etc., but in my opinion this is a must see...it was very cool! If you don't know about it, here's the info: www.costaverde.com/avion01.htm

The food was simple but good and the view of the Pacific from the upper level of the rear porch is just stunning. The kids loved playing the cockpit while waiting for the food. We had a great time and I'd highly recommend a stop, especially if you have kids.

Tomorrow is going to be a lazy beach and pool day...we're gonna take it slow these last few days...Pura Vida
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 01:28 PM
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Ah, so you were lucky enough to get a couple monkeys to "smile" at you... It is scary, and you are right they have BIG teeth!!!

I was walking through the rainforest once here, nobody around, no monkeys I could see, decided to stop and have a fruit snack. Before I was even able to peel the banana I was surrounded by Capuchins, all "smiling"... Message was pretty clear at the time, hand us over the banana and there won't be any trouble.

Now I am big on rules, and you should never ever feed wild animals, but in this case I was left little choice. If I hadn't there was certainly going to be trouble!!!

Great reporting!
Cheers
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 03:38 PM
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incabod: You know, it was really scary! I have a feeling that unless you've seen them "smile", as you say, then it seems silly to be frightened by a monkey! Glad you get me on this one!

Day 11:

Not much to report. Massive rain storm right now. Just heard that Aqua Azul had to close because a chef is out sick (imagine that happening in NYC?) so the kids are now begging to go back to El Avion. We may just do it since their deck is a great place to watch a storm from.

We were at the beach all morning. Again, this is Tulemar's biggest asset...it's just so shady and beautiful. I have to say though, it is quite rocky...everyone who has tried boogie boarding has come back all scraped up (me included). The surf is rough, as well.

After the beach we wandered around Quepos, which is an interesting little mix of tourist traps and shops catering to locals.

Animal sightings today were limited to birds - Christopher has been checking them off in his guide throughout our trip. Today, we finally saw the bird with the best name EVER...we've been looking for it the whole trip ever since cracking up laughing when we noticed it in his guide the first day...........The Magnificent Frigate Bird! It was a big moment for us all when Daniela spotted it...lol!

Oh, and we saw a few capuchins on the Tulemar property...which I am now deathly afraid of!
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 05:49 PM
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Day 12:

Last day in Manuel Antonio. We got to the national park at 7:20AM...and it's a good thing because by 9AM this place was just overrun with visitors (you NEED to get here early, trust me!) In the time we had before the crowds arrived we had a nice walk and saw a few blue morpho butterflies and a ton of playful squirrel monkeys.

Stopped by Cafe Milagro for the second time this week, which has some good breakfast and bakery items.

Pool time, lunch at "home" and then a trip to Spa Uno which was so nice! I got my first ever massage (ahhh...), Daniela got a manicure/pedicure, and the kids got their own massage and a little tour of the surrounding forest - they took such good care of the kids there (for only $15 per child, too). I highly recommend this place if you have kids and want to have a relaxing "adult" hour or so. When we were all done, one of the workers called us out to the back deck where there was a sloth at eye level, moving across a branch like 10 feet away. I got a ridiculously perfect, brochure quality picture:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=1&theater

Dinner at Agua Azul where the food is good and the staff is extremely warm and friendly. Definitely a gringo hangout, but a lot of fun and a killer view. I tackled the "big-ass burger" tonight...and lost!

Back to Pura Vida tomorrow for our last night in Costa Rica
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 03:53 AM
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Home:

Got home late last night and woke up this morning thinking I was still in Costa Rica...never had that happen after a trip before. Guess I miss it already!

On our last day we returned to Pura Vida hotel in Alajuela - I highly recommend them for a first and last night. The breakfast is the most memorable meal of our trip, the property is gorgeous, and they really take good care you. Setting up the car rental for us was such a huge convenience - we only had deal with the car company representative for like 5 minutes when he dropped the car off to us - all the paperwork was done - and we returned the car by simply pulling into the Pura Vida lot and handing the hotel the keys...the was it.

Visited Zoo Ave. in the afternoon, which was nice but kinda anticlimactic after seeing so much wildlife in the wild.

And that's that.

Another big thanks to all of you here for your invaluable help in planning my family's first trip to this beautiful country!!!
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 05:23 AM
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Sounds like you may be candidates for the Osa next time... glad you had such a nice time. And back to Brooklyn just in time for super nice weather here!
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 08:57 AM
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Great reporting, it was really fun to read the live reports. I agree with Plumboy, Osa is in your future, you would dig it.
Cheers mate
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 09:12 AM
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Glad you guys had such a great trip. How far is Pura Vida from the airport? It looks like a great place.
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 09:23 AM
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I loved your pictures and the live trip report! Thanks for sharing it with us....it sounds like you had a great vacation!
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 09:35 AM
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Enjoyed your live reporting.

Pura Vida is just north of Alajuela. Their website is excellent.
It's especially great for a first night in San Jose if you don't want to start driving immediately. Although they don't have a pool, they do have two nice doggies and lots of orchids.

http://www.puravidahotel.com/info/location.html
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 11:29 AM
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Thanks everyone (and sorry for all the typos in my stream-of-consciousness posts...yikes)!

I really can't recommend Pura Vida enough. 10 minutes from the airport (they even pay for your cab to the hotel when you arrive) and they are just so welcoming. Carlos was amazing with our kids - he gave them multiple tours of the property and taught them about the plants, birds...even picked fruit with them shortly after we arrived. And again, the included breakfast is unbelievable and setting up the car rental for us was SO helpful!
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 01:06 PM
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NICE... Almost makes me wish I was a tourist!
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 08:03 PM
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Oh, and I think you're all correct...the Osa is probably in our future
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 08:43 PM
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I really enjoyed reading your updates. It made me wish I'd done a similar "live" journal. And that sloth picture you took is amazing!
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 03:57 AM
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Thanks BAJJ!
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Old Jul 20th, 2011, 04:31 PM
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Thanks again John for this very informative and entertaining report! Hope your return to the States was not too much of a letdown! I'm sure this is a trip that your kids will be talking about for a long time -- they are lucky.
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Old Jul 20th, 2011, 06:35 PM
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John127

I could not see any of your pictures on Facebook !!

would like to see that Sloth !
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Old Jul 20th, 2011, 07:15 PM
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Moongirl: Thanks, I got so much help from reports on this board, so if I can even help others a tiny bit...

Percy: Try this link, it should work:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...6e5e5b2&type=1
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Old Jul 24th, 2011, 04:00 AM
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I just discovered this trip report and have to say it's nice to hear about another who loves volcanoes! We went to Montserrat 2 years age and we spent a lot of time checking out the volcano as well. This summer we visited Pompeii and people commented on how we would be so close to Mt. Vesuvius - any coincidence? Now we are considering Costa Rica for next year and you guessed it, I'll be considering the AOL thanks to this report!
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Old Jul 25th, 2011, 02:56 AM
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kwren: I visited Pompeii many years ago and was also fascinated/obsessed with Vesuvius. Too bad Arenal hasn't been spewing lava nightly like in years past, but by next year, who knows? If you do decide to go to Costa Rica, a couple of nights at AOL is a must for you!
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