Looking for a Catamaran Cruising Blog?

If you found this blog via a link from a cruising site ~ we did cruise Mexico on our Ocean 49 cat for a season. See the first text box on the right for links to our preparations, trip down Baja, life in Mexico, cruising and trip back up to SoCal. Unfortunately we are back to the grind in the USA...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Off To Tenorio ~ Drive Day

Tenorio National Park ~ the one that no one's heard of.
Not in the guidebooks.
Not really on the map.
However, the map is how I found it.
In researching our trip, I wanted to find three or four inland areas to explore.
Inland areas that were not too far apart.
Ones that conveniently divided the driving into four non-strenuous days.
Okay, we had Monteverde, had Arenal, Poas... what else is around...?
Tenorio Volcano National Park!
Where the aqua blue Rio Celeste is!

So up, adios to Monteverde and Carlos and the monkeys at The Quetzal Inn.
Up the hill to the "not the highway" gravel road.
A stop at Don Juan Coffee Tour to buy green coffee beans and who is that in the info booth?
The long haired frog tour guy!
That's two times in Monteverde we ran into people we had met before!
I love how my small world encompasses other countries...
Back onto the gravel road for miles.
And miles.
And miles.
To Dos de Tilaran where on my, what's this?
A paved road!
With a line down the center!

Then to Tilaran.
Fuel (that was fun).
And on to the South side of Lake Arenal!
Where the Longhorn Bar and Grille is conveniently located.
Not open yet, but the owners were happy to sell the boys some Costa Rica microbrews!
And I got to pet the puppy with the largest feet in the world...
So we were all happy!

But not as happy as we were when we got to drink real microbrew beer at The Tilawa Hotel and Microbrewery.
Jim was really happy.
Susan was happy watching us.
Lots of dirty barefeet.
Hippie chick clothes.
and hand rolled cigarettes...
And why was this?
Costa Rica's version of Burning Man was to be at Tilawa in a couple of days.
Lots of "Dude's you sticking around?"
"Uh no".

Back on gravel roads.
Past the huge wind generators.
Past a billion baby cows.
More baby cows.
And finally on the paved road to Bijuaga!
Next stop ~ the small town of Bijuaga, rain and Tenorio National Park.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

And Now for the "Scare the Crap Out of Ourselves" Part of "Scare the Crap Out of Ourselves Day"

It's called "The Tarzan Swing".
The finale of the Selvatura Zipline tour.
A little lightheaded wobbley walk from the last zipline around a few bends, over a hanging bridge to the sounds of screams.
Yes, screams.
Just follow the screams, yells and hysterical laughter and it will lead you to the Selvatura Torture Tarzan Swing.

Oh yay, more stairs up to a rather tall platform.
Where they double hook each person to a couple of lines hanging from something.
Something up above.
In my extreme case of fear, I don't know that I looked up at it.
I was watching the backs of the people crammed on the stairs inches in front of me.
And hearing those screams...
By this time there was a stack of people behind me.
No place to escape to.
Sort of like being in the middle of an elevator.
So up the rest of the stairs to the elevator like platform where we were pushing to be last.

Yeah, let's let Alan go first!
Then let's send Jim!
Then Susan!
And by that time, possibly I will have been able to climb down the side of the platform and get the hell out of doing this.
And no one will notice I didn't do it.

So off Alan went.
I can't remember the noise Jim made.
But Susan?
Susan who never says the words "Oh My Gawd" (only "oh my word")?
Here, listen for yourself:

Yep, it was "ooooohhhhhh mmmmmyyyyyyy gggggggggg".
Then "Ok, I did my scary thing for the day".
If you can hear that over my hysterical laughter.
Remember, I hadn't gone yet.

Selvatura ~ Either "Really Good Timing!" or "Scare the Crap Out of Ourselves Day"

Read the guidebooks!
They ALL say "No trip to Costa Rica is complete unless you do a zipline tour!"
Really, they all say this.
Or the one I have does.
I think you could fly to Costa Rica and fly back and your trip would be complete... but your fun and experience would not.

Anyway, after reading (but apparently not the fine priint) the brochures we headed up the hill to Selvatura.
A complete adventure park!
Hanging bridges!
Butterfly garden!
Every way to empty your money belt of colones!
Gift shop!
Nature walks!
We wanted the ziplines.
Ziplines only, even though they wanted us to buy more.
We got there just in time to be added to a tour.
A "tour"?
You mean there were specific times a day?
Only three?
Oops - got lucky and walked right into it.

Alan, Jim and I had done this when we were here four years ago.
It was the four of us and three zipline dudes.
Two to assist and one to take pics.
This time it was 40 of us and 8 or 9 interchangable tour dudes.
Completely different experience.

We sent Alan first to show Susan the ropes ziplines.

Fifteen ziplines.
Lots of laughter.
A couple people got stuck.
One lady had to have a tour guy go with her.
Scared, really?
I think she thought he was cute.
Kids laughing.
Everyone smiling.
Gross sweaty gloves.
Up hills.
Up steps.
Zzzzzzzzzziiiiinnnnnggggg sounds as people flew across the canopy.
Me with a totally smelly, sweaty (and not my smell or sweat) helmet.
And then the big, long ones.
The last couple lines were really, really long.
Especially the last one.
It was really, really, really, really, long.
Maybe one more really.
So long, they send you tandem.
Probably for a few reasons.
So you can't spin!
Which can be way dangerous (ask Jim how close he came to trees...)
So you don't get stuck in the middle and have to be rescued (ask Alan and Susan who didn't quite make it to the platform)
Time-wise to get all these tourists across and it doesn't take the entire day.
So you have backup to see the landing platform when your eyes are tearing from the wind (ask me who's legs were being blown sideways from the wind).
So you have backup to see the landing platform when you are laughing so hard you are crying (ask me about this too).

So when the guidebooks tell you "No trip to Costa Rica is complete unless you do a zipline tour!", I think they are pretty much right on.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Santa Elena Fun

Santa Elena and Monteverde are basically the same thing.
At the top of a really long, nasty, skinny gravel road.
Santa Elena is the town (all 2 blocks of it) to the North / NorthWest - eh some direction.
And Monteverde is really the area.
And the cool reserve with huge leaves and trees.
Santa Elena has a grocery store!
With wine!
Fresh bread!
Monteverde Cheese Factory Cheese!
Snickers Bars!
And all of this in walking distance from the hotel!
Oh and an ice chest!
Ice too!
Needless to say we went into the grocery store a few times.
Once I even heard someone yell out "Heather".
Figured I was hearing things.
Jim said, "Yeah, you think you heard your name and know someone here".
So I looked around and there was Freddy from The Sloth Sanctuary waving.
At me.

Uh, what else.
Got the tire changed for...
Get this ~ $1.50 US!
Yes, one dollar and fifty cents. Did I mention that I really love Costa Rica?

Enjoyed killer dinners at El Marquez and Restaurant El Sabor.

Enjoyed the butterfly gardens!

The flowers!

Absolutely beautiful!
We enjoyed the monkey show outside our breakfast room.

But didn't really enjoy the monkey show on top of our roof at 3 am...

Critters skittering around.
Dropping things.
Laughing at the humans below.
Dropping more things.
Skittering some more.
Roosters crowing.

And we enjoyed our makeshift bar...

Monteverde Leaf Cutter Ants

I just love these guys.
And girls.
I am sure there are girls amongst the guys.
Or one would hope...
They just don't stop.
Back and forth, back and forth.
The back ones bumping into the forth ones.
Sometimes the trails go on for an incredibly long time way whatever.
The trails can be indented into the hills and trails by inches.
Usually we would spot the trail before we would see the ants.
It's amazing to see how large a piece of leaf some of them can carry.
And the ant hills!
Holy crap ~ they are huge!