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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Pacuare Rainforest, Costa Rica: December 12-14, 2021

We are in Costa Rica because back in September it was one of the few countries that allowed us in. To enter we needed either to be vaccinated (we definitely were) or provide proof of health insurance that would cover any Covid-related medical expenses and isolation expenses. No pre-travel Covid tests were needed. Beginning in December places of business were allowed to request proof of vaccine before entry.

After seeing the photos and videos posted by an acquaintance, we hired the travel agent (Mandy at DPP Travel) who arranged his fabulous trip. After years of doing our own planing and logistics, this was definitely the least stressful way to go. 

After a very brief overnight in San Jose, Costa Rica, we were picked up from our hotel and driven toward the Pacuare Lodge on the Pacuare River in the Pacuare Rainforest. We left before morning coffee and breakfast, but about halfway to Pacuare we woke up to our vacation with coffee and breakfast at a restaurant/coffee plantation.

The volcanic hills in this area support coffee, sugarcane, and macadamia plantations. While we breakfasted, we watched hummingbirds visit the flowering plants.

This was also our introduction to the most used phrase in Costa Rica: Pura Vida. The phrase literally means Pure Life, and it is used for everything: hello, goodbye, have a nice day, and high fives. It is used the way some people use LOL in text messages. If anywhere in the world you hear someone say Pura Vida, that person is from Costa Rica.

Post breakfast, we continued the drive to the Pacuare River Put In at Linda Vista. The rest of the journey to Pacuare Lodge was via raft. From Linda Vista to the lodge took about 1.5 to 2 hours. Most of this part of the river was a float trip with Class II and III rapids.  Along the way we had a brief stop for photos at a small waterfall. The water temperature was quite comfortable. The Pacuare River flows west to east from the mountains toward the Caribbean Sea.

And, then we were at the Pacuare Lodge. The suites range from riverside to high in the rainforest. We were in the Morpho Suite surrounded by the rainforest.

Morpho is a very large suite with a lovely covered back porch complete with its own swimming pool. The water was colder than the Pacuare River so the first night I just dangled my feet in it. The temperature was even cooler the next day because we had a lot of rain because we were in a rainforest. The hanging sofa was the perfect place to birdwatch. All the "windows" are screens with no glass. There was both an indoor and outdoor shower. 

All meals and two excursions a day are part of the package at the lodge. The first afternoon we went on a short hike to a waterfall led by a naturalist who identified plants and birds along the way.

A tiny hummingbird nest with baby and one egg
The next morning after breakfast, we were outfitted for a six zip-line canopy tour.

About the time we climbed up the first platform, it began to rain, and rain, and rain which you can hear in this video.

The rain didn't slow us down on any of the 6 connecting zip lines. It did, however, increase the speed as we traversed each segment. I was always coming in way too hot to several of the platforms; our zip line experts were always giving me the slow down hand signal.

The last platform is at the lodge where rappelling is the way down. We were soaked to the skin but it was a thrilling morning.

It rained the rest of the day and with our now soaked shoes, we decided to pass on the nocturnal hike. A red-eyed tree frog did visit our deck and that is the only reptile seen by those who went on the hike. I spent the afternoon on the protected deck, bird watching, and reading. Despite the rain, there were lots of birds flitting from tree to tree. 

 Montezuma Oropendola
It was difficult to get any photograph of the Montezuma Oropendola because they move so quickly from place to place. They have yellow tail feathers and a loud, raucous call that sounds like water being poured into a container. The "pendola" portion of their name refers to the nest that is constructed by the male. He builds the nest and the female may or may not accept it. If she doesn't approve of his construction techniques, she destroys it and he must begin again. That sounds perfectly reasonable!

Montezuma Oropendola nest
Summer Tanager (a migrating bird)

Collared Aracari (a small toucan)

On our waterfall hike and canopy tour it was always stressed to be careful where you put your hands because many insects use railings as roadways. A particular inch-long ant was pointed out. The name is bullet ant supposedly because if it bites you, you will feel like you were shot. I already mentioned the part about our shoes being soaking wet. I was barefooted as I watched and photographed birds on the covered deck outside our lovely suite. I didn't notice that bullet ants were now occupying the deck floor boards, and I stepped on one. Before the ant died, it bit or stung my foot. My toes began to tingle almost immediately and the bite did hurt. Checking the internet, someone suggested wiping alcohol on the bite. Because of the pandemic, we happened to have quite a few alcohol wipes so I was in luck. It did seem to take the sting out of the bite. I took an anti-inflammatory pill at night because my foot was throbbing. I survived and the next morning my foot felt better. I think the symptoms lasted about 24 hours, but I didn't feel like I had been shot or wish that I had been. Maybe I flattened the bullet ant before he could do too much damage.

After just two wonderful nights at the Pacuare Lodge, we departed via raft. This time the raft trip took about 3 hours from the lodge to Siquirres (still in the province of Limón) with Class III and IV rapids. The river was full and the water brown from all the recent rain and run off. The sun was out the entire distance. We rafted through narrow canyon walls with waterfalls and ferns as we descended in elevation to where a driver picked us up and transferred us to our next hotel and a new area.

We were the two additions to a wedding party. The two brides were in the other raft. The woman, left front, is the mother of one of the brides. She lives in Santa Rosa, California. The two guys in the front live in Sacramento and one of them worked briefly as an extern at the Federal Courthouse in Sacramento. We did run into quite a few Californians in Costa Rica.

After the last Class IV rapid

Next stop: Arenal Volcano and the Nayara Lodge in La Fortuna in Alajuela province.