Friday, March 4, 2011

Costa Rica....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day....we came into the port of Limon, Costa Rica.

As we came in, rain was pouring down.  Not surprising, for a place that gets around twenty FEET of rain per year.

Costa Rica is an interesting and peaceful country.  In 1948, they disbanned their army, and put all that money into education.  Everybody goes to school, as far as they want to go.
They are very careful with the ecology.  There are plantations, but they try to conserve as much of the rain forests as possible. 
Not having an army can be a problem sometime, though.  Right not, Nicaragua has invaded one of their larger islands, and is clear cutting the forest.  Their only recourse is the International Court.  It'll be five years before anything is done.  That's a long time for tree cutting.

I think our main impression of Costa Rica is GREEN.

We signed up for a tour of the rain forest.  A two hour drive, took us to a park with a fabulous tram ride.

It's a popular place for tourists.

The tram was built with the smallest footprint possible.  A low course, and one higher up.  Both use the same towers, and cut a slim path through the forest.

The plants are amazing.  Layer on layer of green.

Roots drop down from the tree tops, to find the soil below.  They in turn make a trellis for other plants to climb up to the sun.

From the upper level, you can see across the treetops.  Those tall ones are called Broccoli Trees, because of their shape.

I'm going to have to do a lot of research to find real names for all of these.  Our guide gave us Latin names, but with no time to write them down, I've completely forgotten them.

We got off the trams, and took a short walk through the forest.  They have paved a path, for easier and safer walking.  You're advised to wear closed toe shoes, for safety.....snakes and...

...these critters.  This is a bad photo of a Bullet Ant.  We were told it was named that, because if it bites you, it feels like being shot with a bullet.  A bit longer than an inch long, and not too friendly looking.

Although we didn't actually see them, there were signs of Leaf Cutter Ants.

They eat the ever present moss off the trees, on their way to the tops.

There was color, too, in the flowers.

After a very good lunch of local dishes, we were back on the bus, for the return trip.

We were lucky enough to be there when the African Orchid trees bloom.  Only a couple weeks in February.

We passed many banana plantations.  The blue mesh bags are to protect the fruit from insects and from ripening too soon.  Bananas are shipped green.

There are pineapple plantations, as well.

And, they grow many of the house plants we buy.  Here is a field dracenas.  We passed many more.

Even fence posts take root and grow into trees.

A roadside cafe.

A roadside hut.

Closer into town, a store and village street.

We passed many rivers.

Along the way, our bus driver...yes, the driver...spotted this Sloth.

He stopped the bus, so we could see...across the road....this little guy climbing in the tree.

We saw toucans, and small parrots...too far away for photos.  And, we stopped again to see Howler Monkeys.  You're not going to believe it....I didn't...but my batteries had died in my camera....ugh!
But, we did get to see them, anyway.

Back on board for Sail Away.  We passed this small island, just outside the port.

We spotted this house...maybe a resort?....on the island.

We sailed away from this beautiful place.

We were blessed with a beautiful sunset.

Clouds gathered above the mountains.  Ready to drop more rain, to keep everything green.

This is one of those places we'd like to return to, for a longer visit.

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