Saturday, January 1, 2011

Prager Family Costa Rica Adventures - La Fortuna

Wild poinesittas for all you Christmas fans!

The Prager family just returned from two delightful weeks in Costa Rica. What a trip! It was fabulous. I just love when a vacation goes smoothly and exceeds expectations. Since the trip was long, I am going to write about it in parts...otherwise this would be one very long story. We rented a car, which allowed us to explore three different areas of the country. After flying into San Jose, we traveled north to La Fortuna then to Monteverde. We ended the trip on the central Pacific coast in Manuel Antonio.

Part 1 is about La Fortuna, our first big stop. But before we got on our way, we spent a night near the airport to catch up on sleep and get our rental car. The overnight flight to Miami really did us in. Besides the roads are not lighted or well marked so we wanted to drive in the daylight. Good thing because even with our GPS and a really good map, we found ourselves unsure where to go on a few occasions.

Our hotel by the airport - stayed there coming and going.

Got the tiny SUV...ready to go.

Semira and Lily never pass up a pool...even a cold one when they are are exhausted.

La Fortuna is a town very near the Arenal Volcano. The volcano is typically active so I was really looking forward to quite a lava show. Unfortunately when we got there, we discovered that other than the daily puffs of smoke, the volcano has been pretty quiet for the last three months. The local interpretation of this is that the volcano was either going dormant or was getting getting ready for a big blow. Either way, no lava for me. But it was still very pretty. The rain held off so we had great views all four days.

Above is the view of Arenal Volcano. Below is Arenal Lake.

In addition to taking in the volcano, we did a bit of hiking with a guide and by ourselves on the Arenal suspension bridges. Both were a chance to see some of the vegetation up close. I can't say enough about the forests here. The diversity of plants and animals is simply amazing. And everything is so darn big!

We also found a smaller scale canopy tour that allowed the kids. Many of the canopy tours only take kids 8 and older, but this one was open to smaller kids. Lily was allowed to do the zip lines by herself since she was six. This was a bit nerve wracking for me. I really wasn't up for that since I couldn't see her or do anything if something happens. Lily did the practice run by herself as well as the first little zip line. As soon as she saw the second one though (it was a lot longer), she wanted a guide to take her. This made me feel better! So a guide took both Semira and Lily down the lines together. It was really cute. In the middle of our 12 zip lines, there was the opportunity to experience the Tarzan swing. Lily didn't do it, but super Semira was game. Seriously, the swing was a free fall. It was so much scarier than the zip lines! Since it was so difficult to take pictures, we ended up buying the DVD of all the pictures from our group. Below is Semira on the swing...notice she is totally quiet, a Semira rarity. I think we hit her fear limit with this one. She was speechless!

Lily and Semira getting ready to go. A bit of apprehension below (mostly serious Lily) as they received instructions and had a practice run on the zip line.

The rest of our days were spent eating great food, doing a little souvenir shopping with the kids, playing in our hotel pool and hot tub, and enjoying the daily towel animals left by our maid. The food in Costa Rica is right up my alley. I ate black beans with rice and fried ripe plantains everyday for breakfast. It was downhill from there...eating black beans and rice at nearly every meal! I just loved it. The abundance of tropical fruit was also amazing. You can never get enough of fresh bananas, pineapple, papaya, and mango! I got spoiled since having anything but bananas in WY is a treat. The best part is that the fruit actually had taste...go figure when it is ripened on the tree and not shipped three thousand miles, it actually tastes good!

Life is good!

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