We started off our 5-week Costa Rican adventure in a lovely inn with amazing views of the surrounding mountains and the city of San Jose.  Poas Lodge became our first home-away-from home.  We stayed for 2 nights waiting for the fog to lift over the Poas volcano so we get a glimpse of the green acid crater lake inside one of the most active volcanoes in Costa Rica.  The rain never stopped, the fog didn’t lift, but the boys had a great time hanging out with a family from Florida, sitting by the fire drinking milkshakes, playing games, watching movies, and taking walks whenever the rain briefly paused.  The morning we departed we got out early and hiked up to the volcano view point, just in case.  We couldn’t see a thing, but we knew it was lurking out there under the clouds.



View from Poas Lodge of the fields on the side of the mountain


View of the Valley from Poas Lodge


Keeping warm by the fire at Poas Lodge. Poas was the only place we were anything less that very hot for the entire 5 weeks!



Hummingbird feeder outside window, Poas Lodge (Izzy Heltai took this beautiful shot)


We had fun waiting for the fog to lift over the volcano (it never did)






Caiman in Tortuguero

Caiman in Tortuguero

The journey from Poas to Tortuguero was arduous and required a great leap of faith–we followed vague directions and a GPS that had not yet proven itself to us over mountain roads wrecked by the 2009 earthquake, through small villages, past magnificent waterfalls, and  a couple of hours on what seemed like a gravel cowpath through miles of farmland.  Then suddenly, out of nowhere, was a pavilion with a restaurant and a rickety boat dock.  We left our car, dragging all our luggage through the mud to a small riverboat, where it was precariously piled on one end, and miraculously didn’t fall into the water during the couple of hours we sped through the jungle to the the small town of Tortuguero on the northern Caribbean coast.

Howler monkeys in Tortuguero

Howler monkeys in Tortuguero

We had come to Tortuguero to see the sea turtles nesting.  It was our first solid dose of jungle and the dense air and  humidity that is part of the experience.  It was a shock to our systems.  Our second day there we took an early morning boat tour (with excellent guide Daryl  Loth, also owner of the riverside Casa Marbella, where we stayed) through the jungle and were rewarded with loads of monkeys–everyone was happy.  That night we  met our guide from the state park at 10:00 for our trek down the beach to observe the sea turtles. This activity is very well-regulated–only a small number of people are allowed to be near each turtle, and we had to remain in total silence in the dark.  We watched by moonlight as the huge turtle dug her hole, went into a trance to lay the eggs, buried them and camouflaged the hole.  We silently followed behind her as she walked back down the beach and disappeared into the sea.  It was one of the most amazing feats of nature I have ever witnessed. The boys forgot they were tired and sticky and thirsty and sat in the sand in awe.  No photos were allowed.

A cricket??

A cricket??