Costa Rica Jan 29 - Feb 5

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On January 29th we left Orlando for Miami and then on to San Jose, Costa Rica, arriving in mid afternoon. We were picked up and transported to the Hotel Bougainvilla in Heredia. This hotel was beautiful in the front and had large well kept gardens in the back. Upon arrival Barb went out with her camera to take some pictures of birds and flowers.

The next morning, Jan. 30th, after an orientation about health concerns by Shirley, the Elderhostel coordinator, a program itinerary and general introduction by Marcos, we had an introduction to cameras by Monica, our photographic expert. Jose, our driver was photographed while loading the van

We then departed for Arenal and had a great lunch on the way. Opposite the lunch facility was some typical scenery and nearby a cowboy training his horse. A surprising sighting was of the Three-Toed Sloth right by the side of the road. We jumped out of the van and got some pictures before he disappeared up the tree. The weather was great and we were able to get some excellent photos of Arenal Volcano on the way. Steam can be seen escaping from the top of Arenal. After supper the first night we took pictures from the balcony both of the volcano and of Arenal Lake.

Jan. 31st, we were up early to take pictures of the birds from the balcony as well as Arenal again. After breakfast we took a field trip to Danaus Eco Center to photograph butterflies. Lunch was in a neighboring town, La Fortuna, and then off to the Arenal Skytram for more chances to take pictures of the volcano. We also tried to take motion pictures of some British tourists who were using the zip lines. Before supper we all, except the Thesens, gathered on the deck for a group picture

Feb. 1st (Fri) We took more pictures of the birds around the lodge, had breakfast and then left for Sarapiqui and settled into Selva Verde Lodge. On the way to this rainforest we stopped at an Iguana Restaurant and took pictures of the colorful iguanas. During the afternoon we had some lectures on ‘The Tropical Rain Forest’ by Yahaira Rojas, and Photographing Birds and Wildlife by Monica.

Feb 2nd (Sat) After a morning walk and breakfast, we were given instruction on getting good macro photos and went out to get pictures of the Poison Dart Frogs and flowers. After lunch we took a field trip to Heliconia Island for more practice with macros of flowers. There were some monkeys there as well as the Collared Aracari. After dinner we practiced taking pictures of the nocturnal tree frog – using flashlights for the lighting since flash photography was prohibited.

Feb.3rd (Sun) After some morning chances to take pictures we boarded the van to travel to the highlands of the Talamanca Mountain Range and Trogan Lodge. This was a long day of traveling back towards San Jose and then further down the .Pan-Am highway, which curves and twists its way through the mountains. Upon arrival at the Lodge we unpacked and after a brief lecture walked down the nearby stream to practice taking pictures of running water.

After a few practice shots Bob fell as he stepped down onto what he thought was a rock and was really only grass. The tripod broke his fall somewhat but his left cheek managed to find the rock. We went back to the room, put ice on it and then repacked everything and left for the hospital in San Jose. The 3 hour trip back was made more difficult for Bob because he was in a great deal of pain. We finally arrived around 8:30PM to be met at Hospital Clinica Biblica (a private hospital) emergency entrance by Shirley. We met with Dr. Arguello, got X-rays and finally got settled in a room by midnight. Barb was able to stay in the same room with Bob.

Feb. 3rd Mon.– After waiting all day, the surgery was finally done at 6 PM and took over 2 hours. It was more extensive than expected. Shirley and her boyfriend, Jose, stayed with Barb during the whole time which made the time pass easier for Barb. Jose was practicing his English.

Feb 4th Tues. We were discharged from the hospital after lunch and escorted to a hotel by Shirley.  Plane reservations were changed to Wed. and arrangements were made for a taxi to transport us to the airport on Wed.  Flight home was uneventful, thank heavens.