Sunday, February 7, 2016

Costa Rica - Day 5 (1/23/2016)

As usual, I was up before sunrise on Day 5, enjoying the nice color in the heavy cloud cover.  Our agenda for the day was to drive to Hanging Bridges where we had a choice of hikes through the rain forest.

Sunrise at Arenal Springs Resort.
 We quickly learned why they call it a "rain forest", as our entire visit was accompanied by rain.  We chose the two-mile hike, which climbs steeply for a while before leveling off and eventually coming back down to the Visitor Center.  Hiking in the rain was bad enough, the fact that we saw almost no wildlife was really disappointing.  We saw two eyelash pit vipers, very poisonous snakes only a few inches long.  I failed to get acceptable photos, although others were more successful.  Frankly, it doesn't feel like a great loss.

Rain forest
 Our trail included six suspension bridges up to about 100 yards long, as well as 10 short stationary bridges.

Pam taking a photo of me taking a photo of her.

Rain forest

View from the Visitor Center.
 Driving to our next destination, Guanacaste Province, we passed a small group of coati mundis foraging along the shoulder of the road.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get a decent photo, only one after the bus was in motion.
Coati mundi
 We stopped for lunch at an historical hacienda in Guanacaste.  After leaving the bus, we began to see howler monkeys in the trees above us.  As luck would have it, I had left my long lens on the bus, so my photos were not what I would like.  It was that kind of day for me.

Howler monkey
 After lunch, a few of us walking the grounds spotted iguanas in the trees.

Iguana showing off his dewlap.

Our next stop was at Playa Grande, where leatherback turtles are known to nest.  The only purpose of the stop was to hear a video presentation on the plight of the endangered leatherbacks, a blatant pitch for contributions.  Most people were happy enough to donate, but the time there was largely a waste (in my opinion).  We did make a short walk on the beach, but our time might have been better spent getting to our hotel, the JW Marriott, which was a beautiful resort on the Pacific Ocean..
Playa Grande beach
 The Marriott has a huge, curving pool with multiple infinity edges.  Located on a stretch of beach with loads of volcanic rock, the resort was an ideal spot for our "free time" scheduled for the following day.

Rocky beach

Pool area

Pool in afterglow

Pool on a windy evening.

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