This website chronicles Traci and Clint's summer
vacation to Costa Rica. It is laid out with one page
per day in the form of a travel journal with key
photographs included that relate to the text, click on
any picture to see a larger version of it.. Each day
will also include a picture gallery that includes all
photographs taken that day in thumbnails. The link to
each daily gallery is at the bottom of each page. Click on any
photograph to see a larger version of the photo
(700x500). All pictures were taken on a Canon Digital Elph S500 at full 5 mega pixel superfine quality. If
you wish to have 5 mega pixel version of any photo
please email me and I will send it to you, the pictures
are large, around 2.5 megs each.
We awoke at 4:30 this morning so
we could be at the airport by 6am. Our flight left promptly at
7:30. It has been almost 2 years since we've been to the
Charlotte airport and for the most part it's the same. The
only big change was the completed D and E concourses. Our
flight out to
San Jose was on time and the movie for our trip was
Shrek 2. I can't wait to see this on the
home theater when it comes out since I know I missed allot
on the little screen and some of the audio was drowned out by
We arrived at
Juan Santamaria International Airport and went smoothly and
uneventfully through customs and got our luggage. Our driver,
Giovanni, met us outside the baggage claim area and was very
nice. He said he didn't speak English well but it was very
passable and far better than my Spanish. The first part of our
3.5 hour planned drive was along the
Pan-American Highway that runs all through Central America.
Around San Jose it's a 6 lane highway and then as you get into
the country it drops to a 2 lane road that occasionally gets a
3rd lane, usually which ever side is going up a hill.
This first thing I notice is how
much Costa Rica reminds me of Hawaii. But where Hawaii always
had that certain je nais se qua that let you know you were still
in the USA, Costa Rica really feels like the third world. The
houses as far as you can see from the road are typical one level
boxes with metal roofing. Many look like they have been around
for over a hundred years. I'm sure they haven't and it's just a
factor of keeping anything looking "new" in a tropical climate.
Throughout our drive, the poverty, compared to US standards, of
even this "well off" third world country is very apparent. We
take allot for granted in the USA, and this drives that point
home with a vengeance. The countryside is gorgeous. Mostly
overcast with very low clouds obscuring the mountains that
surround us everywhere we look.
We got very lucky on this trip.
Apparently this week has seen quite a bit of
protesting by both teachers and the truck drivers. Their
tactic of protest is to block roads with trucks and leave them
there. The Costa Rican people are very peaceful. They just sit
and wait for the police to show up and solve the problem. Our
driver said he was stuck for 2 days with out food as a result of
the road blocks until the police showed up with big tractors and
moved the trucks out of the way. Apparently the Red Cross
dropped in food for the stranded people while they were
waiting. He'd been waiting in San Jose for our flight for 16
hours since the only way he could ensure he'd be there was to
leave early enough to wait out any more road blocks.
After we left the Pan-American
highway we were on a paved but VERY twisty road filled with
switch back after switch back. The locals ride their bikes and
play right at the road side while traffic blasts past at
60-80kph. And there are random speed bumps that everyone slams
on their breaks to go over slowly.
About midway along the windy
road we came across one of the protest roadblocks. Two trucks
chained together. Traffic was backed up in both direction for a
long ways. Our driver apologized and called his boss who sent
his son out to meet us on the other side of the road block. It
took about 45 minutes for the son to get to us, so we stood
around and chatted with our driver and watched some other
American's who were driving themselves get frustrated at the
roadblock. After we got through that it was a pretty quick trip
We checked into the resort
without any problem but didn't have any currency smaller than US
$20, so tipping has been a bit difficult.
It is beautiful here and of
course started to rain right after we checked in. It was about
5:30 when we got checked in and the sun was almost set. We put
our bathing suits on and rain jackets and headed out to explore
around the hotel grounds and wondered down to the hot springs.
We got a locker at the hot springs and wondered around in the
pouring rain to sample the hot springs. Now imagine, it's very
dark out, the sun sets here at six pm, its raining a nice cold
rain and the hot springs are dumping out walls of steam. It's
amazing, the paths through the well manicured jungle are lit,
but with my glasses on, water spotted and steamed up, I might as
well be blind. The hot springs feel great. Some are part of
raging waterfalls of very hot water which you have to fight
against to stand still. I can't wait to see what it all looks
like in the daylight.
On our walk back to our room
Traci stopped and said "what's that?"
There in front of me in the
parking lot was an Armadillo. The only thing that went through
my mind, standing in the dark on the edge of a rain forest in
the rain was "what do I know about armadillos?".
They are from Texas and roll
"That doesn't do me much good,"
I thought. Do they have any aggressive behavior??
I tried to take a picture of it
but by the time I got to an awning so my camera wouldn't get wet
it had decided the humans were in it's way and turned around and
headed back into the jungle.
We got cleaned up and went to
the restaurant for dinner. Great food, Traci had one of the
local cows, in the form of beef tenderloins and I had gnocchi in
a cream broccoli sauce. It was very good. The restaurant is all
open walled so you can watch the rain and see the jungle.
There are all kinds of
interesting noises in the jungle, maybe tomorrow we'll figure
out what some of there are.
We are scheduled the Cano Negro
tour tomorrow, leaves at 7:10 am and returns at 4pm, another
here is two hours behind EDS, it's ten after nine and it's time