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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Costa Rica Trip - August 2012

It's been awhile since I have updated. Just have been so busy with life lately. A lot has been happening from moving, to studying for GMAT, to applying for grad schools but I am happy to add that I was able to add a trip in between all this!

I just came back from Costa Rica (and I know I've been using this blog to write about food but my initial intention was to use it as travel AND food blogging so here goes my first traveling post!) To be honest, I'm guilty of wanting a break from looking at grad school applications so that is why I am here, in my little world of blogging! It's almost like a stress reliever to write on this thing! :)

So, as you all may know, Costa Rica  ("Rich Coast" in Spanish) is a country in Central America, between Nicaragua and Panama, and should I add that I had an amazing time there with my friends! We stayed at a resort called Riu Guanacaste but honestly we spent more time outside the resort than inside. When we booked the trip, we had a couple of things in mind that we wanted to do. I knew there was one thing that I must do in Costa Rica and that was zip-lining! After booking this trip, all of a sudden, I had an immense craving to do this.

One of the excursions we did was the canopy aka zip-lining and hanging bridges in the middle of the Cloud Forest. The view and the adrenaline created an experience that will never be forgotten. We also walked the cloud forest and we saw some things that we never saw before. We saw a tiny mushroom the size of the "*" on your keyboard pad (I am not exaggerating). In addition to the hanging bridges, we also visited a butterfly garden and a separate hummingbird garden.

@ the Butterfly Garden

Hummingbirds and as my friend described it, she felt like she was in a "video game" as these little birds fly so fast you can hear the whoosing sound as they fly by you. It is said that they can flap their wrings about 12-80 times per second, depending on the type of hummingbird.
Long pointy beaks as seen in bird on top
One of the eight hanging bridges we walked through in the cloud forest

Baby Mushroom. Can you see? This is a zoomed up picture.
Side view
 Another excursion we did included the Baldi hotsprings, which is located in the middle of the rainforest. Costa Rica has a lot of hot springs (a result of volcanoes heating up the water). These hotsprings are each very unique in size, shape, and most interesting, their temperature. We also came across hotsprings with added water slides and others with a wet bar. This is definitely a place to unwind and absorb what nature has to offer you. We were surrounded by trees and I actually felt like I was somewhere in Southeast Asia. It amazes me how hot the water can get (up to about 100 degrees F) and all coming from a natural source. 

We also went white water rafting (Class 3 and 4) in the Teniorio River. While rafting, there was actually a baby frog that jumped on top of my knee and I am almost embarrassed to write this but I screamed. Wish I had a picture - as I am writing this, thinking back, he was rather cute. :)

We did not flip!!

Frog in raft!!
@ the resort

Wish we had an extra day just to relax at the resort!

View from room
Pink Bananas, only edible to animals, not humans

Costa Rica is one of the world's top eco-tourism destinations and I absolutely loved it - great resort, great company, great activities, and great weather (even though it rained everyday we were there, I can now understand how the rainy season is like. After all, we did visit a country known for it's rainforests!). Oh, I must add, I have, never in my life, had such juicy, sweet, pineapples! Their tropical weather near the equator produces such fruits that are new to my taste buds!!!

Can you spot the little green lizard camouflaged into the grass? This was at our resort.
Hiking through the forest - the white light is actually the Catarata Waterfall (La Fortuna Waterfall). According to wiki, "It is fed by the Tenorio River, which travels through the rain forest in the Arenal Mountain range until it plunges over the cliff, forming this waterfall"
Catarata Waterfall
Random insect spotted while walking - looks like twigs

View of the Arenal Volcano from the Altamira restaurant we were having lunch at

Arenal Volcano

My new friend

Pure Life!!!!!