Costa Rica
Another roam-antic adventure with Judi and Saul

    210 species of birds, 4 monkey species, 2 and 3 toed sloths, kinkajou, coatis, boa constrictor, crocodiles, caiman, Jesus Christ lizards (see photo), gray fox, variegated squirrels, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles, leaf-cutter ants, orchids, exotic trees and plants, beaches, streams, volcanoes, rainbows, sunrises and sunsets, coffee, pineapple and banana plantations, lots of rice and beans, what more can we say? A total lunar eclipse!

    In February, Saul and I went on a 19 day adventure to Costa Rica with Overseas Adventure Travel, a tour group of 16 like minded eco-tourists-“The National Parks and Tropical Forests.”

    The tour met in San Jose, the crowded capitol, and took us by small bus and 3 jaunts in a 12- seater plane, around the whole gorgeous country: national parks which cover 12% of it, cloud forests, the Caribbean, and Pacific sides, the mountains and some cities and towns. With our group, we not only experienced nature, but we “learned and discovered” much about this wonderful place, “the most democratic country in Central America”, with a 96% literacy rate, 50 % middle class, and no army! We had Spanish lessons, made tortillas, went shopping, visited an elementary school, had lunch with a family of dairy farmers, milked cows, went horseback riding, soaked in hot springs, rafted, hiked, river boated, kayaked, walked on hanging bridges over the forest canopy (see photo), and yes, even zip-lined across the jungle.

    Our guide, Rafael, muy guapo, a 35 year old vegan, conservationist, and ecologist was also a birder with endless energy and a desire to share knowledge and love of this country of about 4.5 million people. Not everyone on the tour started out interested in birds But, after seeing many species of trogans, hummingbirds, parrots, parrolets, parakeets, macaws, toucans, toucanets, tiger herons, boat-billed herons, pale billed, lineated and Hoffman’s woodpeckers, green ibis, hawks, kites, warblers, tanagers, the crested and black guan, the common potoo (which looks more like a branch than a branch!), ant shrikes, ant birds, flycatchers, and so many more “lifers” for us, how can anyone not experience “conversion.” Viewing the resplendent quetzal was enough for even the non-converted birders to say they would sign on to their local birding groups when they got home.

    The accommodations and food were great. It was a hectic trip but do-able for most. No one got sick. You can drink the water in Costa Rica. You can use the American dollar everywhere. Travel was comfortable, even on the rutty dirt roads, and we stopped often for rest and views. The weather was great in this, the dry season. There is a lot of change and development going on throughout the country, so if you are thinking of going, go sooner than later. The cloud forest is waiting, animals and birds are calling.

    For more information, contact OAT or us at Judisaul@aol.com

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