Feb 17/23-Puerto Viego

Anjou is our guide at Jaguar rescue centre is from San Diego

148 varieties of snakes in Costa Rica …only 28 are poisonous

Floky-1 toed sloth… won’t be released because it’s genetically mutated so they don’t want it replicated in nature.

The toucan has a neurological condition so can only hop… not fly

Ocelot & margates are smelly. One has leukaemia and feline V immunity (didn’t get the full name) like house cats get.

Howler monkeys can be heard 2 kms away but can sound like they are just on the other side of the wall.

In the spider monkeys troupes, the female is the alpha. The thing hanging out their butts is indicative as to who is higher up the chain of command.

3 finger sloths look like they have a perpetual smile on their face as opposed to the 2 fingered sloths

The 2 fingered gal was electrocuted so is missing most fingers so cannot be released. Sloths only take a poop once a week when they can lose 1/3 of body weight

Mamamia and Abba ….. Abba is missing 1 arm from electrocution. Money they make at the centre goes to insulated power lines

40% of rescued jaguars are released within a year. Some take longer to get better. None were in the centre today.

Toucan is greatest predictor of macaws besides humans. Macaws can live to 70 years

Netting used in Kevlar jackets are made from the web that orb spiders’ web.

Feb18/23-Pto. Viejo to San Jose & 19/23 returning home

We got a chance to sleep in a bit so didn’t leave until 11:30. It was a good thing since some people had a bit too much partying the night before. Some were noticeably quiet on the bus.

Going through the Braulio Carrillo National Forest was a constant climb on a very winding highway. It was very beautiful…. Kind of reminded some of us of some highways in BC only with palm trees thrown in. It was strange that in places the two out of three lanes were downhill. The elevation at the highest was at least 5400 feet above sea level before our descent into San Jose.

We went out for our final dinner with the group. Jaxon and I left ahead of everyone else because 3am was going to come early.

When we checked in at the United counter, they had my one checked suitcase opened for inspection….. never happened before. And then when we were to board our flight they randomly had Jaxon open his pack sack and body waned and patted down…. Kind of weird but he took it all in stride.

It’s been a fantastic journey a very long day returning home but someone was really looking forward to seeing mom and dad and even brother.

Unfortunately at YVR, we missed where we were to pick up our checked luggage from International baggage and redeposit for our flight to Victoria. Consequently we were unable to go back and find it…ended up waiting for an incredibly long time ….too long, for someone to bring it to us. Finally they did and we had to race to go through security AGAIN where there was a huge lineup and limited X-ray machine. I had paid $31.50 for the one bag to be checked ….to Victoria only when going through security had a knife confiscated because it wasn’t checked. (Gee, they didn’t say anything about the fact I also had liquids/gel over-sized for carry-on). I said that I knew it was there but that I had paid to have it checked. He said well you can go back through to that place but I said throw it away, I don’t have time. Jaxon ran on ahead to hold the plane for me. When I am almost at the gate, he is running back towards me to security where he left his suitcase. I said I wasn’t going to get onto the plane until my grandson got here but he made it back in time even if he vomited into a garbage on his run. The plane left with us on it…with under 5 minutes to spare.

I love to travel to different places, don’t mind flying too much but hate airports!

Next journey coming the end of March…stay tuned!

Feb 16/23- travel from Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca & Feb 17 in PV

We left our La Baula Lodge around 9:30 heading back upstream and then onto Puerto Viejo on, as the sign on the boat says, “Public Transport”. It takes approximately 1 hour. Then the hike up from the river bank packing our suitcases and backpacks, to our awaiting bus.

The highway that we are travelling on a the main from Pacific to Caribbean, is constantly packed with transport truck as I mentioned before…. Carrying offloaded freight from one coast to the other to be reloaded on awaiting freighters as a way to avoid the heavy cost of using the Panama Canal. The amount of construction on the highway is absolutely huge. 4 years they have been working in it.

If you think things are cheap here, think again. Lunch for Jax was cheese burger and ginger ale and I had the worst beef sandwich and water (not bottled) totalled 12,400 colones …. translates to $29.47 CAD incl. tax and tip.

We stopped in a place called Moin, for a short break. This place is big for shipping containers for the port of Limon. Limon is also an important cruise ship port. Ship passengers sometime take 2-3 day trip out of here to visit La Fortuna and other places.

Puerto Viejo has a lot of people that originated from Jamaica. They were brought here to work on the railroads and most decided to stay. They have had a big influence on the food and language (combination of Spanish and Jamaican English) of that area. There a large population from China as well. They were also brought to work on the railroads.

The next day we went to the jaguar rescue centre. That was a big disappointment. There were no Jaguars but they did have a good number of rescued animals. It was difficult to take pictures since there was glass between us and them.

After lunch we were to bike riding on the multi-coloured bicycles….pieces robbed from one bike to another…lol! But…..it was a torrential rainstorm. As a matter of fact the power was cut for a while. Anyway…that was cancelled. Too crappy to do anything.

I will be quite happy to leave this place although it does have its charm. The mosquitos are driving us all crazy.


Feb. 15/23-Tortuguero

After we arrived yesterday we did a little walk along a path near the town to see the green macaws that feed on the almond beech trees that are there.

First we head over to the park admin to pay for park entrance. Only the guide had to get out. Most of our group with the exception of Jaxon and I, went kayaking in the canals so because he and I were only two, joined another group from the UK (Explorers travel company) guided by Juan Carlos.

Reptiles are thermal receptors not cold blooded as most people believe.

1970…park began. Those that lived here in the park were allowed to stay… along the waterfront but no one can take up residence after (grandfathered). The area of the town is a sand bar with mouths of 2 rivers on either end so is an island

Black mandible toucan.

Bloodwood trees besides 1000 other species of trees …. Is the base that all things grow from in the forest

Manatees are totally protected. They are the sloths of the sea. No boats are allowed with motors in the section where there are because they float near the top of the water and so get run over by the motors

All fresh water in the river (is not brackish) because the country rose one meter in 30 seconds in 1991 during an earthquake so is higher than the Caribbean Sea

Orependula is very common

Baby caymans are protected in nursery from predators and the males.

St Joseph trumpet…. Yellow flower vine.

22 jaguars in 22 kms… seen during turtle nesting season. Other times they live in forest. Years ago all the mahogany trees were cut down to extinction.

Bamboo was introduced from another country but the plan for furniture making failed and now it has become invasive

Spider monkeys tried to shake a sloth out of the tree but failed… very unusual cuz they are vegetarian.

Heard howlers but didn’t see. Wished I had gotten video of the sound they make but…..

Red headed manakin

Most of cocoa is affected by a fungus so probably world shortage of chocolate coming up and so price will probably climb.

American crocodile

Later we went for a walk in the National park but didn’t see much more than what we had previously except for a Central American Agouti…. an overgrown rodent.


At one point there was a board with instructions as to what to do if coming face to face with a jaguar.

Apparently there are 28 on the 22 kilometre island. We went to the ocean side where our guide told us about the turtles… the first of three types that come to lay their eggs are the Leatherbacks. I believe he said the turtles start to come around June with the last here until November. Usually they lay about a 1000 eggs each. Last year the jaguars ate 400 of them.

The guide also mentioned that you don’t swim in the ocean here. There is great undertow, a sudden drop off, sharks and barracudas.

Also out because of the big drop off and currents there is an area that sucks all the plastics in the ocean to spin around.

On the way back to the entrance there was a group of spider monkeys entertaining us.

Feb 14/23-travelling from Sarapiqui to Tortuguero

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Tortuguero is on the Caribbean side of the country. To get there we take a bus then a boat. “Town” is on a coastal island that is separated from the national park and where our hotel is, by river. There are no vehicles in the town.

Plantain products are wrapped in cloth bags as well as bananas. Apparently bananas, plantain as well as pineapple crops are sprayed with chemicals although not as highly. We saw a huge, huge drone that is used to spray but we were passed before anyone could take a picture.

Coast guard station

Electric company employees going to work with their atv along … picture by Carl Sayers

Feb 12/23- La Fortuna to Sarapiqui

Bananas have cloth bags around them while growing so that the product doesn’t get any damage to skins or they will be rejected. It takes Pineapple 2.5 years to grow naturally. Only 50,000 hectares are used for growing. More chemicals used on them than any place in world. They speed up growth rate so that they are ready in 6 months. Hmmmm, makes you think!!!

Drug dealers were using pineapples to hide cocaine for transport but government now have X-ray machines on all exports so not so much gets through.

We stopped at a coffee cooperative. Crops are brought in from the growers from Oct to Dec. it takes 4 years to grow a plant that produces. They plant 2 together because the plants compete with each other. For 12 kilo of beans picked, the pickers gets $2. There are 120 farms in this co-op. Th e farmers spray the bushes with a vinegar water mixture for prevention of fungus, twice a week. The beans are dried in a greenhouse for 4 months, then an additional 8 months before go to 50 year old ovens for roasting. The 1st quality beans are heavier, 2nd and subsequent are lighter. Darker roast depends on number of minutes roasted. Light has more caffeine. To make a pot of coffee, the use one heaping tablespoon of coffee per cup, medium ..,,..1 heaving tbsp for every 2 cups

Feb 13/23 -Sarapiqui

In the morning bright and early we got up to go bird watching on the property, which incidentally has 31 individual tent cabins. The tents are quite cute and roomie although quite rustic but with individual bathrooms with showers. Jaxon had a tough time getting to sleep with the tropical deluge pounding on the “roof” and howler monkeys howling. The howlers sounded as if right outside the walls although I am sure they weren’t all that close. They are so loud they can be heard for several kilometres.

As with the night before when we did a night walk, my camera or phone were not cooperating so pretty much any pictures are from some others in the group.

Jaxon, Mary and I went white water rafting. It was fun although I would have like a little more adrenaline. At one point where there was a pool that wasn’t running too rapidly, our guide was going to cut open a pineapple for us to enjoy using a very sharp knife. Mary said to him be careful you don’t puncture the raft when he promptly dropped it into the water. Jaxon jumped in but it was too deep him to reach it, then the guide jumped in an retrieved it. I have pictures but not sure how to download cuz it’s a Dropbox file.

Back at the “lodge”, they all went down into an open area and had a bonfire.

Sorry about some of the double pictures.

Feb 11/23-La Fortuna

We had a nice relaxing start to our day. We just caught up on our blogs (homework for Jaxon), had breakfast from a bakery and hung out with some of the others. Oh yes…. bought drinks and snacks to take in our hike in the afternoon.

We hiked up as far as the lava flow of the Arenal volcano. I am not saying we walked the whole way. A bus drove us part way up.You are not permitted to travel any higher toward the top for safety reasons. It was not a long hike but extremely steep.

The Arenal volcano first erupted in 1968. Before that it was just a hill. Every year it has kept growing by 4-5 metres just from escaping gasses. It is not a volcano like the ones in Hawaii that spew lava that runs. It is an explosive type that blows great huge chunks sometimes as big as cars along with hot gasses. The last major eruption was in 2010. It is still considered as active because those gasses present always as a little clouds stop the crown. Most of the time you cannot see even half of the volcano because is shrouded in “real” clouds.

After our descent, we went for a bit of a hike through a rainforest to the hot water river and enjoyed our drinks etc. The river was totally full of people sitting in it…. reminiscent of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival when everyone sat in the Coldwater River to cool off. This one was like sitting in a warm bath that didn’t ever get cold. No one wanted to leave.

Below are picture of us sitting in the hot water river

Feb 10/23-La Fortuna

Some of us went to Cano Negro to see wildlife from a boat. Rebecca is our guide.

Rebeca was our guide on the bus. She shared guiding on the boat with Joshua. They were so informative…. They were the way guides are supposed to be.

There is no hunting at all in Costa Rica . Jaguars have been spotted 3 times in last 6 months in the area we are going so we’ll see if we are so lucky.

If being chased by an alligator run zigzag cuz they can’t run that way.

Apparently there are gasbar fish in the river. They can get up to 1.5 metres. They have been in existence since the time of the dinosaurs. Hope we see one.

On our way we passed a spot where there were well over 50+ iguanas in the bushes. Did you know that they can lose their tails twice. If they are attacked they can shed their tails. Pineapple has to be planted by hand. Cacique Guaro (said something like Cassica)… Costa Rican rum made from sugar cane.

Going to be near Nicaragua so we need to carry passport in case we are. Stopped to be checked by police. The area we are going to is in the dry lowlands.

Iron in the soil (red colour) protects the produce from fungus that is caused by humidity.

School year is Feb to July when have 15 days off, then back until December.

As we started through the area.

I will be posting mostly my pictures but some will be from Carl Sayers. He has a way better camera and equipment than I do. I will identify his as per his request.

Mutated howler monkey ….. orange …. Sort of like an albino but the eyes and skin are not affected as if albino. They are not black and so not camouflaged. They are kicked out of troupe but this one was sort of adopted by another. He’s about 9 years old…. Wrinkles on the face apparently

Cayman… temperature of egg cause sex of baby. If they are too hot they become make females. Because of the higher temps lately, there are more females than males

Male green iguana turns orange to attract female during mating season, then goes back to grey green colour.

Spider monkeys troup… females are the alpha. They are largest monkeys in country. At night they hang by their tails. The new world ones their tail joints lock so they don’t fall.

Yellow crowned night heron

Did not see the howler monkeys but could smell them…. That is their poop…. smells somewhat similar to marijuana.

Anhinga…. Female brown throat

Spider monkeys picking bugs off each other

Capuchin monkeys…. Caymans and iguanas are afraid of them. They also eat baby howlers

Saw blue morph butterfly. It’s is not blue but is brown so birds cannot see them.

Red-slider turtle

50 litre of sugar cane juice… become 20 litre molasses after boiling 8 hours

Machine used to crush the juice from the sugar cane p

Leftovers used for feed for cattle, compost and fire wood.

Liquor is “contrabando” cuz 60% alcohol. That sold is called chirate

Feb 9/23- Monteverdi to La Fortuna

Oh my, the roads are so steep & twisty….. so mountainous! It’s got to be extremely difficult for the cattle to graze on the side of the hills (their legs one side of their bodies are longer than the other so they don’t tip over..,,, lol!). As walking would be. You’d be constantly hiking. The driver is driving 1st gear most of the time when climbing. Where we climbed up to Monteverdi, we are now basically descending though.l

We stopped for snacks and bathroom brake at same place as before. This time (for the benefit of others that went through here 4 years ago) there were no ducks in the pond and no parrots in the rafters outside.

Arenal Lake is an artificial lake. (1975) Before, the water ran off toward the Caribbean side but now it diverted into the lake where it was then directed toward the Pacific side with 2 dams to produce electricity. It is then diverted into canals that water the farms on that side off the country.

20% geothermal electricity produced from Miravalles volcano.

We drove through an area that has even more wind than we have been experiencing (mountain pass that channels the wind) and so has many wind turbines.

Between 20s & 50s a lot of the country was deforested for farming. What remained became protected by becoming National Parks. The govt then began paying farmers to allow the land to return to forests. Now 65% of the country is covered by forests

After having a late lunch we taxied to Los Lagos to soak in the many natural hot pools……pools naturally heated by one of the volcanoes. The higher the pool, the hotter the temperature. Even the lower one, the one with a swim up bar, pretty darn hot. There were several slides that travel through tunnels and hot water shaped volcano, etc. Jaxon had a great time. Unfortunately because we were in the water, I did not have my camera or phone (should have brought my waterproof case but didn’t). One of the gals did. You should take a look at it on Google maps …. Los Lagos La Fortuna Costa Rica.

Feb 8/23-Monteverdi

We were up early to go zip lining this morning. 13 of the group of 16 went. Of those 13, most also did the Tarzan swing. Not me or Jax or Carl.

It’s really difficult to download and send the videos so maybe later I will.

Resident cat having breakfast sitting in a high chair…. Too funny!!