Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Costa Rica - Day 7 (1/25/2016)

Day 7 started bright and early with a bus ride through the cattle country of Guanacaste Province.  Tour Director Elston Valentine was on the mic, telling us all about the culture, government and taxation of Costa Rica.  It's a fascinating country and the most stable democracy in Central America.  They disbanded their army in 1948 and rely on diplomacy to make their way in the world.

Tour Director Elston Valentine

Cattle ranch

Cattle ranch
 Passing a Barbecue restaurant, I thought the statue of the Brahma bull seemed appropriate. However, I was a little concerned when I noticed there was also a statue of a monkey in the tree.
Barbecue restaurant
After lunch, we arrived at the Tarcoles River and boarded our pontoon boat for the promised wildlife tour. Right away we spotted a large crocodile heading ashore to sun himself.  On the closeup, notice the teeth that bad boy is showing.  Many birds were also seen during the tour, including scarlet macaws.  Unfortunately, the macaws were too deep in the jungle for me to get a photo..

Tarcoles River

Crocodile close-up

???? Lizard

Multi-colored iguana

Great blue heron with a fat catfish

Black-bellied whistling ducks

Tri-colored heron

Northern jacana

Black-necked stilt

Yellow-crowned night heron

Magnificent frigate birds

Magnificent frigate bird close-up

Mangrove black hawk
 Back on the bus, we made our way to the San Bada Hotel, a lovely resort on the Pacific Ocean and right next door to Manuel Antonio National Park.  On the way, we passed through a community that Elston described as home to many U.S. ex-pats and wealthy Costa Ricans. 
Impressive estate
 From the fourth floor, we had a good view of the hotel pool below.
 Once again, we were treated to a "Happy Hour" of free drinks.  The bar is on the 6th floor, which has a stunning view out to the ocean.  The sunset that night was pretty stunning itself, and included several para-gliders enjoying a spectacular ride.
Sunset and para-glider



Sunset and para-glider
 Later, we took time to visit the pool with friends.  It was a lovely swim on a warm evening.  Afterward, I came down and took a few photos of the beautiful hotel and pool.
Pool and hotel