Welcome to La Fortuna, a beautiful little town at the bottom of the Arenal Volcano. Here in the center of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, we experienced the most spectacular rain forests. All that elementary school education about tree frogs and sloths finally came to good use! We were sooooo lucky because we happened to have perfect weather for our entire stay (they don't call them "RAIN forests" for no reason). And usually the clouds are so thick and dense that you can't even see the volcano. But the gods came in and parted those fluffy cumulus muffins and left us a perfect view of this majestic beauty - every. single. day. See for yourself!
BUT - getting to a perfect destination requires some imperfect travel (Ce La Vie?). Since we decided to do public buses, we ended up having a full day trek from Nosara to La Fortuna. Yeah, tell me about it. And this time it wasn't by choice. In the end we took five different buses and went to the following towns: Nosara, Nicoya, Juantas, Canas, Tilaran, and then finally La Fortuna. A total of 6 towns, 5 buses, and 10 hours! It was long, but the journey was pretty hilarious. Our bus from Juantas to Canas was so packed that I had to squeeze into this little space at the bottom of the back door. I was surrounded by many small children. We didn't have room to take of our packs and Rachel's straps kept hitting the kids in the face. I kept trying to move them, but Rachel and I just busted up laughing every time we looked at each other. She tried to capture the moment, but as I'm sure you can imagine, getting a picture in that mess was an adventure itself.
See that kid on the left? He was hanging on for dear life. His toes were hanging off 6 inches of standing room. One time we stopped and started really fast so I put my hand up to keep him from falling. My hand just happened to be really close to his derriere. Aaaawkward. Haha.
At our final stop before La Fortuna, we enjoyed ourselves some species of oranges. YU-UM! In Costa Rica they scrape off the hard outer edge so you can squeeze the orange for your very own juice.
When in Costa Rica, do as the Tico's do. And by golly you better do it with joy!
These lil guys were our first encounter with Costa Rica wildlife (aside from those scary Howler Monkeys... *shudder*) They are called Coati and they feed off human scraps. Soooo, Tico Racoons. Every country has 'em I guess. I imagine they like their cheetos spicy, so keep that in mind.
For the rest of the day, we just wanted to chill. Our hostel had a pool. Wahoo! So we saw no reason for getting out of beach mode just yet. But lucky me what did I discover out on the pool deck?
THIS GUY! I call him Gustavo.
He was a little camera shy. And Jenny shy. We made eye contact and he smiled before he ran away.
But he made up for it by showing off his swimming skills!
Ok, enough of Gustavo. Sorry girls, if you want more, come over and see the action series I got of him. I'm thinking of making it into a calendar.
Anyway, La Fortuna is pretty much activity central of Costa Rica. Rachel and I participated in three. I had to separate them into different posts, but here is activity 1: Hanging Bridges!
These pictures were taken at the beginning of our trek. It's part of the national park. What a beautiful view! And that Volcano sure looks great too. (haha, ok, oldest trick in the book, but I just couldn't resist.
We finally made it into the rain forest. Apparently there are so many people on this trail everyday that most of the wildlife has fluttered away, but we got lucky. We found THIS GUY!
Yep, that's a snake. Be jealous. So jealous.
And when the wildlife was sparse, Rachel and I became the wildlife.
This my Spider Monkey face... caught in the act!
Watch out Tucan Sam! Tucan Rachel's on the rise!
Now I'm an alligator... ready for the kill.
And Rachel is... uh... a SLOTH. Reaching, reaching, reaching... She'll get there eventually.
And then we actually saw a sloth. People, I can not tell you how EXCITED I was! All I really wanted to see was a sloth. Most people go their whole Costa Rica lives never getting in contact with these fine fellows, and there I was, face to ...sleeping bod. But he was a sloth. And I fell in love.
Oh my GOSH! Isn't he the sweetest?
And just to prove that we were on a high hanging bridge, we had the "Credible" Richard (our chill-tastic tour guide who said "Yes! I am so credible!") snag a quick photo of us.
Pretty nifty indeed. And this is the beautiful view from the that very hanging bridge.
And just to prove it wasn't all rain forest, I made Rachel take a picture of this sa-weet squirrel. She chided me saying, "when I get home, I'm going to look through all these pictures and say 'Why are there so many %*#@ pictures of squirrels!?'" (she actually only said dang, but I had to add the exclamations for effect... tee hee).
Ok, well, he may not look like much to you, but check it. He was Brown, Black, AND Tan. A Tri-colored squirrel! You should have seen it, he was great!
And just because I couldn't resist, I took some pictures of flowers that are native in Costa Rica. Impatiens and begonias. Look at those colors! Beautiful aren't they? Apparently they grow like weeds. How "unfortunate."
Tomorrow we get to explore the Rio Celeste - a beautiful river that has been turned blue by volcanic sulfur. We will also discover the town of La Fortuna in all of it's charm. I'm getting excited just thinking about it!!