San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Tamarindo, Costa Rica, February 5-9, 2013

February 5, 2013

So enjoyed the Pacific Bay Hotel that we decided to stay another night.  Relaxing day playing ping pong, and hanging out at the pool, and eating delicious meals….  The breeze is amazing, we opened all the windows in our room  – didn’t need the air conditioning!  We could barely hear the waves for all the jungle noises!

Nicaragua  jungle view from Pacific Bay Hotel

Nicaragua jungle view from Pacific Bay Hotel

Gaby and Gabriel, Pacific Coast Hotel, Nicaragua

Gaby and Gabriel, Pacific Coast Hotel, Nicaragua – our hosts and chefs 🙂

Pacific Bay Hotel, Nicaragua

Pacific Bay Hotel, Nicaragua

February 6, 2013

On the road again....

On the road again….

Rode to the border of Costa Rica along Lake Nicaragua.  This is a very windy area due to Lake Nicaragua and the winds coming across from the Caribbean – more windmills!

windmills in Nicaragua

windmills in Nicaragua

It was a typical 2 hour crossing at the border….  busloads and busloads of people were coming into Costa Rica from Nicaragua – not sure why.  Costa Rica is considerably more expensive than Nicaragua….   We had to stand in line with them to get our passports stamped… then another hour for Scott to get the motorcycle through customs.  After riding an hour into Costa Rica, we arrived at the Rincon de la Vieja National Park.

Rincon de la Vieja

Rincon de la Vieja

P1050143

Rincon de la Vieja Mountain Lodge, Costa Rica

Rincon de la Vieja Mountain Lodge, Costa Rica

Stayed at the Mountain Lodge – our little cabin is so charming! It is very rustic, with a creek bubbling along the back little patio, hammock on the front porch. The grounds are beautiful – a large variety of plants, pond, little swimming pool… horses grazing.  The sunset was gorgeous! P1050054 Our little casa….P1050061

Tree on the way - be careful!

This sign is on the tree that is growing in the middle of the road

Sunset in Rincon de la Vieja National ParkSunset in Rincon de la Vieja National Park

February 7, 2013

We rode into the National Park and decided to take the 2 mile hike.  A few hundred feet on the trail there was a large group of coati  (I think this is the right name for them!) and monkeys (white-faced capuchin).

jungle hike

coati on our jungle hike – see all the dark brown vertical tails?

jungle hike

coati – jungle hike

The coati were digging around in the leaves, eating bugs, while the capuchin were climbing above in the trees.  We stood and watched them for quite awhile – they didn’t mind us at all, coming up to within 5 feet of us.  When the coati got startled, the entire group (25 at least) would all run up the nearest tree at the same time to the same point and freeze – then they all would return to the ground to start snuffling in the leaves.  It was as if they were choreographed!

White faced capuchin

White-faced capuchin

As we continued on the trail, we were in awe of the beauty of the jungle!

Jungle

Jungle

P1050110

We tried to walk quietly to see more wildlife – saw some pheasants, an iguana and a family of spider monkeys.  We crossed several streams by stepping on boulders, traversing a huge tree and once by a suspension bridge – a great way to spend our morning! P1050095

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

The park is centered on a volcano, so along the trail we saw vents spewing sulfur steam, boiling mud pots and thermal water ponds.  The mud pots would spit mud out – we kept our distance – you could see where the mud had spit out onto the trail!  It was upwards of 245 degrees F!!

steam vents

steam vents

We were amazed at how close the trail was to each of these sights – we are used to Yellowstone where you are kept at a distance from anything dangerous!

bubbling mud pots

thermal waters

P1050128Boiling mud pot

After our hike, we returned to the lodge for a swim before packing up and heading to the coast.  We took a look at a few beaches, but didn’t see any hotels on the water that looked decent.  As we drove further, we saw a huge resort- the Occidental Grand Resort- and decided to stay one night.  The place is FULL of tourists from Europe and Canada – all inclusive, spending a week or two at a time.

Occidental Grand Papagayo, Costa Rica

Occidental Grand Papagayo, Costa Rica

Playa Buena, Costa Rica

Occidental Grand Papagayo, Playa Buena, Costa Rica

Occidental Grand Papagayo, Costa Rica

This guy came and sat next to me this morning as I had coffee – Occidental Grand Papagayo, Costa Rica

We were watching tv later in the evening… with our sliding glass door open to hear the ocean, when I looked over to see a raccoon sitting on the chair in our room!  Sorry, no picture – I was too surprised to get the camera before Scott encouaged him to leave. February 8, 2013 When we packed up the bike, a crowd gathered…. employees and  guests asking us questions and taking our pictures – wow, I feel like a celebrity!  The guy standing to the far right said, “When I grow up, I am going to have a motorbike like this!”

Occidental Grand Papagayo, Costa Rica

Occidental Grand Papagayo, Costa Rica

We took off after lunch on what we thought was going to be a short ride to the next beach.  There is no “coast highway” so you must return inland to the main highway, drive down to the next beach road and drive back out to the coast.  We were just a few minutes away from the beach when we came upon the traffic backed up for over a mile…a traffic accident involving 2 cars and a motorcycle – one fatality…. road closed completely.  With the bike, we were able to ride to the front of the traffic…

accident..... so glad we weren't  involved

accident….. so glad we weren’t involved

We waited for a few hours, then decided we should turn back – not wanting to get stuck in the dark.  We found the Iguanazol Hotel in Playa Jonquilal just as the sun was setting.  Very basic hotel, but our room faces the ocean and they have a restaurant!  Enjoying lobster and the ocean breeze…. ahhhhh….

Playa Jonquillio, Costa Rica

Playa Jonquilal, Costa Rica

February 9, 2013

After smashing big red ants all over our room and in our bed last night, we decided move on today.  But not before taking a walk on the beach….

Playa Jonquilal, Costa Rica

Playa Jonquilal, Costa Rica

Playa Jonquilal, Costa Rica

Playa Jonquilal, Costa Rica

We rode north on the dirt road for an hour and ended up in Tamarindo – where we were headed when we came upon the accident…. We stayed at Capitan Suiza Boutique Hotel on the beach. I could stay here for a long, long time….. but they only had a room for us for one night.  This hotel was built in 1991 by a Swiss couple and their kids.  I would like to return here to visit again some day!

Capitan Suiza, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Capitan Suiza, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

We sat and watched the pelicans diving for sardines.  I have never seen so many pelicans doing this at once!  The local men would catch them in nets – two guys holding the net while two others chased the sardines into the net. Great entertainment!

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

We enjoy reading everyone’s comments on the blog!  Without the technology we enjoy today, taking a trip like this would be really hard if we couldn’t stay connected to you all!  Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

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3 Responses to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Tamarindo, Costa Rica, February 5-9, 2013

  1. Denise says:

    Costa Rica is one of our favorite places. We’ve gone twice; once to Quepos and surrounding area, and second, north of Tamarindo – exploring lots of beaches with a rented 4-wheel drive. Don’t care much for the food – very bland, but the fruit is excellent and the “ticos” are gracious people.
    Keith had a pet coatimundi named Archie when he lived in Peru as a child.

    • That is great! I agree with you about the food – it is also much more expensive here compared to the rest of Central America! The fruit is SO good – that is all we have for breakfast every morning. Smoothies are very good too. We will be heading toward Quepos in a few days, have heard that the Manuel Antonio National Park is a good place to visit. 🙂

      • Denise says:

        Yes, it is. Beware of the monkeys stealing your clothes while out for a swim, however. They are very comfortable around people. Enjoy 😊

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