Costa Rica 2019: Rainforest

Volcan Arenal

Our trip to Costa Rica began in the rainforest at Hacienda Guachipelin, waking up to the sound of dozens of different bird calls at 5:30 am. Bright sunshine transformed into a deluge of warm rain as quickly as a light switch is turned on and off.

Hacienda Guachipelin

What is it like in the rainforest? Poisonous snakes in the road and on the path. Mosquitoes, biting flies, leaf cutter ants carrying their prize, and thousands of other tiny and giant insects buzzing and chirruping in the trees.

We enjoyed the freedom of a rental car. And the road signs!
Eyelash pit viper that we saw on a night walk
Leaf Cutter Ants

The sweet smells of fruit, flowers and decay layered on top of each other just as the forest itself is life piling on top of life.

Parque Nacional Volcan Tenorio

We enjoyed several days exploring three different volcanoes and their rainforest environs. Part of volcanic fun is soaking in natural volcanic hot springs. In Rincon de la Vieja you can visit Rio Negro Hot Springs and soak in the 10 pools of different temperatures.

Enjoying the view at Rio Negro Hot Springs
Rio Negro Hot Springs

If you don’t mind getting down and dirty you can use a paintbrush to paint yourself (or your spouse) in skin softening volcanic mud.

Mud treatments at Rio Negro hot springs

At the foot of Volcan Arenal in the town of La Fortuna are several hot spring resorts. But if you don’t want to pay their pricey fees you can soak for free at El Chollin.

The path leading to El Chollin hot springs
El Chollin Free Hot Springs

A highlight was the seeing the gorgeous and surreal blue water of Rio Celeste in Parque Nacional Volcan Tenorio. It’s a 3 mile hike with some steep stairs but it’s worth the sweat and $10 US entrance fee to see this magical place. At the end of the trail you can see where 2 rivers converge to make the milky blue water. At the end of our hike we had the special treat of seeing a Three Toed Sloth!

Catarata de Rio Celeste
Three Toed Sloth, Parque Nacional Volcan Tenorio

We heard the expression “Pura Vida” everywhere we went. It translates to “Pure Life”, but it’s used as a greeting, a farewell, an expression of “it’s great!”, “have fun!”, and we found ourselves saying it back to the Ticos by the end of our trip.

Pura Vida means Pure Life, and you’ll hear it spoken all the time in Costa Rica

I’d like to thank and give credit to my wonderful and talented husband Ian Nutting for his photography on this trip. Most of the pictures in this blog (and the upcoming) were taken by him with his camera, a Sony NEX-F3. Pura Vida!

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