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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Alajuela, Costa Rica

May 11, 2014 - Tica Time

One of the coolest things about Costa Rican Spanish is how they exaggerate their words. Many Spanish speakers will add "ita" to a word to make it seem little. For example, instead of saying "pequeño," one might say "pequeñito." But Costa Ricans take it to the next level and add "tico" to the end...making something smaller than pequeñito, "pequeñtico!" The same concept works to exaggerate something the other way, like "gordtico." This is why Costa Ricans are referred to as "ticos" or "ticas." This was one of the many cool things we learned...

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May 10, 2014 - Pura Vida

You would think waking up at 3:30 am is asking for a day full of exhaustion. Well today began that way…6 hours of air time and 2 flights later, the four of us (Parin, Chandani, Kevin, and myself) landed in San José around 1:30 Costa Rican time. However, as soon as we landed, the day got exponentially better. We met our group leader, Abdi, and the other three members of our ISL (International Service Learning) team for the week. After quickly grabbing a bite to eat and exchanging currency, we left the airport to our home for the week - La...

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Apr 13, 2014 - Costa Rica - Day 4 - Another Paradise????

The day began early for me. On hearing that there were Toucans nesting in a tree near the Learning Center, I knew I wanted to be there as the soon as the sun came up. So there I was, waiting, just after daylight. Soon I heard their call - and then, they were there! Beautiful, magnificent birds! Unfortunately, too far away for my camera to get a picture. After watching them for awhile, I began walking along the river. Such a magical morning! Misty clouds playing hide and seek through the tall trees - just like a tropical rain forest should...

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Trip Journal


Living Our Dream

Apr 5, 2014 - Monteverde to La Fortuna

This morning we were back on a minibus for about an hour and a half down a very bumpy and dusty ride. This brought us to Lake Arenal, a large artificial lake formed by a dam. Here we jumped on a boat for about 20 mins, this took us to the dam wall. Then another minibus for 20 mins to arrive at La Fortuna. La Fortuna’s history is intimately connected with the Arenal Volcano. When the volcano violently erupted on the morning of July 29th, 1968, it spewed ash, rocks and gas for three consecutive days. As the smoke cleared, the villages of...

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Mar 29, 2014 - Day 4 Zipline

Holy s*#-t….zipline. Nothing like I expected. I thought no big deal ….a little ride on a cable across a canyon. Little did I realize we would cover 1.8 miles and reach speeds up to 55 mph 700 to 800 feet above the ground. It started at the base station where we all were fitted up with the gear, received a short lesson on how to use it, a short safety talk and then had to sign a waiver of liability. That should have set off some kind of alarm but it didn’t. Boarded the tram up to the first “platform”. Short practice trip of only 100 or so...

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Mar 29, 2014 - Day 4 La Fortuna

This is a great group, 9 couples and two older women in their 90’s. By breakfast this morning we have all come to know one another. My Uncle is now “Uncle Bob” to the entire group. However, when someone offered me their chair so I could sit close to “my friend” I immediately corrected them and told them he was not my friend, he was my Uncle. One can choose their friends but they must do the best they can with what the good Lord sends them for an Uncle. Everyone laughed. Our first stop was the small town of La Fortuna for a...

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Mar 29, 2014 - Day 5 In the "CLOUD FOREST"

After our Zip Line adventure we soaked in a natural hot springs pool. I’ve been to many of these in Montana but the thing distinctly unique about this one was its complete lack of any sulfur or other odor and its crystal clear water. Another 2 hours found us on our way to our next destination…….the “Cloud Forest”. It is easy to understand why Americans fall in love with Costa Rica and chose to retire here. Its constant year round climate of 85 to 70 degrees makes the use of any air conditioning or heating unnecessary. Another notable point...

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Feb 14, 2014 - Fortuna

Our hotel in Fortuna is just so fabulous! We are in individual units surrounded by lush landscaping everywhere. There is a spa, hot springs, and pool. The walk to the restaurant takes you by plants, birds, lakes. In the morning we drive to the town of Los Chiles in the Cano Negro Refuge to cruise the Rio Frio. Here we are able to see many birds, caimans, crocodiles, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, iguanas, lizards, etc. all are plentiful, some more photographable than others In the afternoon there is a trip to Baldi Hot Springs, but...

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Feb 12, 2014 - Poas Volcano

We began the day driving thru San Jose with all of the morning traffic. With that we were really not able to see or photograph much. We did see the statue of Juan Santamaria, a national hero, who was able to save the country in the 1850's. William Walker, a native of Tennessee, had overtaken Nicaragua and decided to do the same in Costa Rica. Men were asked to stop the take over and Juan Santamaria was one of many who stepped forward. It was decided that burning down the encampment was the best way and after one failure that resulted in a...

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Feb 10, 2014 - Hanging Bridges and the long trip to Guanacaste

We arose again to a lovely view of the Fortuna volcano out out front door. It is amazing to think we are staying at the base of a live volcano that last erupted in 1968.... Who knows when the next event will happen but we decided it was worth the risk. We took a short trip from our hotel to the nearby rainforest to experience hanging bridges. We had a choice of 3 different routes and intensities but the 6 of us were up for the full challenge and set out on the longest one that would take us about 1 3/4 hours to complete. We weren't quite...

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Feb 9, 2014 - Cano Negro cruise

After torrential rains most of the evening, we awoke to sun and a glorious view of the Arenal volcano. The soil here is very red due to the volcanic eruptions and it is great for growing bananas, plantains, oranges for juice, and sugar cane made mainly into brown sugar. This is a very unusual resort as there are duplex-type units that all face the volcano. Our rooms are very spacious but the unique feature is the bathroom. It is like an extension of the room with a corrugated roof that allows the rain to come in and water the plants that...

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Feb 7, 2014 - Volcanos, bus rides, and coffee

Today begins the Caravan Tours bus journey. Essentially for the next week we will be on the road traveling with a group of 44 fellow Costa Rican explorers. All of these explorers have in common an interest in seeing the natural flora and fauna that Costa Rico is noted. What we are learning is that traveling with 44 people of various ages, energy levels, degrees of mobility, appetites, and tolerances for others will be part of our Costa Rican experience. Tonight at dinner our turtle expedition group was beginning to compare notes on some of...

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