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  • Writer's pictureUrsula

Costa Rica Round Trip and Pacific Coast 25.2.-6.4.22

The three-week round trip starts in San Jose. On the way there we visit 'Frogs Heaven' where we are shown some snakes in terrariums and especially the 3 typical small poisonous frogs of Costa Rica (the red-eyed frog, the black poisonous frog and the blue jeans frog). They are skilfully captured by our guide and perfectly presented for the photo shoot.

From San Jose we are taken by bus to the northeast, where we transfer to a boat for an exciting, well hour ride to Mawamba Lodge in Tortuguero National Park.

We take two boat tours on the canals of the Tortuguero rainforest (where it starts to rain really hard on the first tour and we get thoroughly wet despite the rain jacket), watch birds, monkeys, iguanas and turtles and enjoy the park.

We continue into the mountains into the cloud forest, where it is already very cold. The first stop is near Turrialba with the volcano of the same name, which is densely covered in clouds. The national park is closed because the volcano is very active at the moment. At this altitude, there are many beautiful flowers, which seem quite familiar to us and are only found in our homes.

The next day we drive further up into the mountains to San Gerardo de Dota, a small mountain village in the Quetzal cloud forest. We take a short hike along the stream to a small waterfall and observe the numerous hummingbirds in the beautifully landscaped garden of our accommodation.

We leave at 6am with a guide and a crowd of other birdwatchers to look for the famous Quetzal.

And we are lucky and get the male in oestrus and a female in front of the lens.

In Golfito on the Pacific coast we are taken by boat on a short ride to Playa Nicuesa Lodge. Here we spend a few days with various excursions and swimming in the warm Pacific. You can independently go on various hikes around the lodge to discover animals and plants. A guided hiking tour takes us, partly wading in the water, to a waterfall where we enjoy a cooling bath.

Very impressive is the excursion by boat where we go up a river towards the end of the trip and from there paddle down again with the canoes and also explore some side arms. On the way we meet some dolphins, which come very close to the boat.

The next stop is Quepos, where the famous Manuel Antonio National Park is located. The entrance ticket should be bought at least one day in advance because the number of visitors is limited. We start early so that we can avoid the crowds of tourists. There are different hikes, sometimes up, sometimes down, where we always come across beautiful bays and can observe animals from time to time.

Marina Ballena National Park is also close to Quepos where you can hike to an offshore shark fin shaped island at low tide.

Now we head back into the mountains: first to Monteverde, where we stay at the Belmar, the most beautiful hotel of our round trip. The food is also highly recommended. In Monteverde there are several parks that are worth visiting. We decide on the private park Curi-Cancha, which also has open areas in some places. We take the tour with a guide who tells us many exciting details about the flora and fauna. We even discover the shy Quetzal, unfortunately far up in the trees... so no photo.

The journey continues to La Fortuna with the Arenal Volcano. There are countless activities to do here, such as river rafting, treetop hikes or canopy tours. We do a hike in the Arenal National Park to the lava fields. The hike is almost entirely in the forest, and only towards the end does it go through the lava scree to a viewpoint of the volcano. In this area we see coatis for the first time, in packs.

Our last stop is San Jose. So far, this is the only city in Costa Rica where you can see some beautiful buildings, parks and sculptures. And of course there are several museums, which we did not visit.

At the end of our stay in Costa Rica, we rented a small flat in Jacó on the Pacific where we take it a bit easier.

Here we visit the private butterfly enclosure 'Royal Butterflies'. We don't see many different species but we learn a lot of details from the owner.

In Carara National Park we go on a two-hour hike through the jungle. We are not very lucky and only get a few lizards and the small black-green poisonous frog in front of the lens.

Nearby we stop at the crocodile bridge to watch the huge animals from above.

And then it's back to Switzerland for another month, where we will hopefully take our practical boat test. At the beginning of May we will finally start in Seattle with the Panamericana. The next blog will be published at the beginning of June.

Bye Bye Costa Rica! In one year we will probably be back here, passing through to Panama.

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