Following a short (5 hour) non-stop flight from Phoenix to San Jose, we began our Caravan Tours journey with an evening briefing and dinner at the Hotel Real Intercontinental. The following morning, up bright and early, we spend the day exploring the cloud covered Poas volcano and hiking in the cloud forest - all to no avail as the the crater remained invisible (the picture in the slide show is from a previous trip made in 1999 - obviously a better day for visibility). We also toured the Cafe Britt coffee plantation (where I was a co-star in the coffee tasting presentation), bringing back memories of our first visit to Costa Rica those many years ago.
We then travelled to La Pavona on Costa Rica's northern Caribbean coast, where we boarded a boat on the Rio Suerte river to cruise to Tortuguero National Park, accessible only by plane or water, our home for the next 2 days where we cruised the scenic rivers and canals, looking for crocodiles, caimans, many varieties of birds and monkeys. This jungle paradise is truly one of natures' most beautiful offerings.
As we said farewell to Tortuguero National Park, our heaven in the Costa Rican jungle, cruising back to the mainland, and our motor coach, we head for our next stop in the San Carlos valley - Fortuna, stopping along the way to visit an organic pineapple plantation and taste the fruit - always a favorite, but being this fresh, we are now spoiled for life. Fortuna is in the shadow of an active, but now sleeping volcano - Arenal. Unfortunately while we are there, it is continually shrouded in rain clouds. While in this area, we cruise the Rio Frio to see many birds and monkeys, and before turning and returning to the dock, briefly enter Nicaraguan waters for a photo op.
We are past the halfway point of our trip and although exhausted with the early morning awakenings and the fact that our trip is sadly nearing its end, we board our motor coach and stop for walk on hanging suspension bridges though the forest canopy, then a circuitous drive around Lake Arenal, and enter Guanacaste province on the Pacific Ocean and our next 2 nights at JW Marriott luxury resort for a little R & R.
Costa Rica in many ways, still a diamond in the rough, has made amazing strides economically and politically in contrast to the other countries of Central America. Perhaps with such small population, many obstacles cannot be overcome, but with the gift of fertile soil, plentiful rainfall, and the ability and willingness to learn from others, Costa Ricans are moving forward with education and healthcare.
Turn on your sound for the video.