Where in the world are we?

Where in the World are We?

21 January 2009

Man and Woman vs WILD

A Green-billed Toucan at La Paz

No trip to Costa Rica would be complete without a few wild adventures. Home to canopy tours, volcanoes, cloud forests and all sorts of poisonous creatures, creepy crawlies, and colorful birds, Nicaragua and Costa Rica offer a lot in the way of adventure. Our wild encounters took the form of a canopy tour that included a 750 m line (nearly a half-mile), a late night with a leatherback turtle, walking among the tops of the trees in the cloud forest, watching red hot magma spew from a volcano, swimming in the pool of a waterfall, getting up close with hummingbirds and all sorts of other critters, hiking through the forest at night to see the nocturnal critters in action, and driving through some of the most beautiful landscape we’d ever seen (it is so similar to New Zealand – it’s absolutely gorgeous).

Since we’ve already talked about the night watching the leatherback and the volcanic eruptions, let’s take you on a journey through the cloud forest…

For years we’ve been planning a trip to Costa Rica (in fact, we would have gone in 2007 had we not been invited to service yet) so when we got the invitation to Belize, we decided we’d get to Costa Rica for the 2008 holidays and we’d do all the things we’d previously planned. One of those was a trip to the cloud forest in the Monteverde reserve. We stayed in the neighboring village of Santa Elena, arriving on Christmas Day after a scenic drive from Playa Tamarindo. The roads were quiet and we were able to stop at every spot along the way to try to capture some of the beauty of the mountain landscape. It was one of our favorite Christmases. So, upon arriving in Santa Elena, we passed our hostel a couple times and finally saw the sign on the nondescript building, only to be welcomed to one of the best places we stayed on the entire trip – Sleepers Sleep Cheaper Hostel.

Sleeper's Hostel, it doesn't look like much from the outside, but the roooms are huge, very cheap, and quite amazing.

The owner, Ronny, and his family are super-friendly and we had a beautiful room overlooking the mountains with Volcan Arenal off in the distance. This was also the coldest place we stayed being right within the mountains just a few miles from the cloud forest - it was great. Ronny helped us plan our days in the cloud forest then we made our own dinner in the big kitchen and rested for the upcoming busy day!

The rain began to fall the night before and was strong through the night – with forceful winds that blew cold air through the windows. We awoke early wondering if the canopy tour would still go in such strong weather, and wondering if we should hook ourselves up to a cable and fly above the valleys in said elements. After a hearty breakfast with Ronny’s family and the other guests, we put on as much clothing as was reasonable to stay dry and warm and boarded the van to Extremo Canopy Tours. There were too many options for the zip lines, but we selected Extremo because it has some of the longest and highest lines and because it goes out over the valleys rather than just in the cloud forest. This way you see much more than just trees (we’d already done the zip line here in Belize among the trees and after a while, it’s just the same on a different line).

what have we gotten ourselves into with this ziplining?

We were both a bit anxious about the weather, but clearly the crew was still taking us out – Ginnie asked one of the guides about still going and he just said “yes, it’s more extreme like this.” So, that was that. We got into our gear and made our way to the lines. It was so much fun! Extremo has 14 cables (4 of which are crazy long: 1-1410 ft, 2-1275 ft, 3-1800 ft, 4-2250 ft) with heights ranging between 225 ft and 450ft above the valley floor, a Tarzan Swing, and a 90 ft Rappel.

A video of Anthony's Tarzan swing through the...err...jungle/rainforest

Flying out over the valley we could see cows grazing hundreds of feet below us and streams and fields and the secondary forest. We had a mix of lines among the trees with the longest out over the valley. On a few we were attached together making it even more extreme. The rain held off fairly well, but our first long line was one we did together when the rain and wind decided to pick up, blowing us side-to-side as we flew for 1410 ft.

Hold on tight!

Rain impacts the braking since we use our own hands (gloved, of course) and the leather soaked up the rain and reduced friction on the cable, so we did come in pretty fast when it was the two of us. We each had a couple lines where we had to be stopped by the guides as we came in and just weren’t slowing down! Not to mention, it really takes upper body strength and you have to sort of pull yourself up to then press down to stop and it’s just not as easy for females physiologically, but we are also generally lighter so don’t get as much speed, but still… On the final really long line, everyone was a bit worried about stopping somewhere in the middle – you don’t want to just have to hang there and wait for the guide to come and pull you in (or worse, have to go hand-over-hand and pull yourself in, which Ginnie had to do on a super-short line that she didn’t get much speed on), so Ginnie went first and held very loosely with the brake hand so as not to inadvertently press down and lose speed; however, this was not the best strategy either since a huge gust of wind hit her just right and spun her backwards! It wasn’t anything scary, in fact it was fun, but it caused a bit of concern as to how exactly she’d be able to brake! No matter, the guide came on out as she got close to the platform and pulled her in. Then came Anthony and he was doing great, but for whatever reason the guide said “he’s not going to make it.” They must be able to tell by the sound of the person coming on the line if he has enough speed, so the guide quickly unhooked Ginnie and headed right out to meet Anthony. Turns out, Anthony made it fine without the assistance of our guide.

One of the best sections at Extremo is the Tarzan swing. Basically, the guide drops you off a platform and the bungee cord you are attached to swings way high up to the tops of the trees while at the same time, swinging back and forth. We heard the first people go and their screams sounded intriguing, we knew we couldn’t just sit it out – so we “jumped” right in. It was so fun, you just free fall then the bungee catches and you swing ridiculously high. Some of the others in the group asked Ginnie if she was a dancer because evidently she was “graceful” as she swung – I think it has to do with loving freefall and combined body memory from cheerleading, I think I just automatically tightened up and held my legs together and just rode the fall.

Ginnie's oh-so-graceful swing on the Tarzan rope

We felt like we could end the tour with that, and we still had that crazy long line to go! We loved the canopy tour, it’s far better than the one here (when we were putting on the gear Ginnie told the guide we’d done this before in Belize and he said “Belice?” and then looked to another guide and asked him if there was a zip line in Belize, as if I were lying, and then was pretty stunned to hear there is – I assured him it was nothing like Extremo!).

This was one of the longer lines that we traveled. Watch closely as Ginnie disappears into the mist.

After the zip line, our day of adventure was only 1/3 complete. We next headed out to Selvatura in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve to walk the hanging bridges among the treetops of the cloud forest. We definitely wanted to walk through the cloud forest and thought this was the best of it all - to walk along the floor and the bridges among the trees. The rains were not too bad, although at Extremo they had their moments, and when we arrived back to town the sun was out and the winds were not as strong. Well, as soon as we got up into the higher elevation to reach the cloud forest, we were back in the rains – I mean, it is a rain forest, but still. It was far rainier for this portion of the day, but we had fun as we looked at all the trees, foliage and the mountains surrounding us.

One of the eight hanging bridges at Selvatura Park along the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.

Not too many people were up on the bridges which made it nice. We took our time so we could really appreciate the forest and had several groups pass us (one family seemed to be on a speed run, I doubt they could have actually seen the forest) and we had fun getting silly pictures but also trying to get some good views to share what we saw. We joked about how there was no way we’d see any wildlife since they are all smart enough to seek shelter in the rain while we silly humans walk outside all cold and wet! Selvatura has a canopy tour as well, so we saw some of the zip-liners flying overhead as we left the forest. Selvatura felt like the Six Flags of Costa Rica since you could choose from many different adventures. Later in our trip we found the Disney of Costa Rica, we’ll tell you about it later in this posting.

Ahhhh!!! Come down from there before you hurt yourself. Ginnie wondered how I would have explained an injury from this stunt to Peace Corps.

We returned to Sleepers for another quick stop, then headed out for our third experience of the day – a night tour in the forest. We went to Sanctuario Ecologico, another recommendation by Ronny, where we were guided on a hike through the forest to observe nocturnal creatures. Our first encounter was with a Coatimundi who was hanging out in the parking lot looking for something to eat – s/he was still on the hunt when we entered into the park. Our guide was excellent and gave us a lot of great information about the forest, the trees, the flora and fauna, and the critters we encountered. We saw the largest ant colony either of us has ever seen and learned a lot about those leaf cutter ants: the females are the workers and they have three levels – the small ones who clean the leaves (which is important because the tiniest amount of fungus can kill the entire colony), the big ones who lead the way and do a lot of digging, and the middle ones who carry the leaves. It was pretty interesting. We were then contacted on the radio because a two-toed sloth was visible up in the trees – we spent some time watching it move around in the treetops high overhead then returned to our walk and saw a mot-mot bird sleeping (no camera flashes interrupted it in the slightest!), a cool large-winged bug, preying mantis’ on huge leaves, and a couple of colorful nocturnal tree frogs. We ended with a visit to a tarantula hole and learned more about the female tarantula’s territorialism and their ability to live up to 25 years if not kicked out of their hole by some other tarantula or enemy giant wasp through a fight.

The ginormous ant colony - this is only part of it!

A two-toed sloth hangs up in the trees; A spiny orange and brown tarantula defends her nest.

It was a really jam-packed day, but incredibly fun nonetheless. We found a fantastic Italian restaurant, Tramonti, the night before and had decided we’d end our day there. We picked up a most excellent dinner and returned to Sleepers to enjoy the meal together and then sleep very well after our day in the cloud forest. Since we spent the day in the cloud forest, we decided to start the next day with a tour of the Monteverde Cheese Factory.
Anthony laughed when Ginnie suggested it, but thought it would be fun to go if at least to tease Ginnie, though he enjoyed the free cheese just as much! The tour was really quite interesting, we learned all about the process of making cheese as well as some history of Monteverde. Monteverde was founded by 11 Quaker families from Alabama who left the US after 4 of the men were jailed for a year and a day after they refused to sign up for the draft since they objected to killing. The Quakers felt they could not live in a country that held beliefs against their own and they found themselves in Costa Rica (where the president at the time had just abolished the military and in fact to this day Costa Rica does not have a military). They found the beautiful Monteverde area and decided to buy it. Being business men, they came up with the idea to start the cheese factory (they needed something with an economical weight value; having to transport the product through unpaved forest was a factor and the cheese factory was born).

Outside the Monteverde Cheese Factory; Ginnie samples one of the many delicious cheeses

The tour concluded with a tasting of several of the factory’s cheeses, including Monterico, which is only made there and is so delicious. It’s a soft cheese similar to a Monterey jack. We liked all the cheeses, except for the coffee bark smoked provolone – yikes. Neither of us likes smoked foods as it is, and we both don’t like coffee, so the combination was horrible. That was the last one offered, too, but it was right before their homemade milk sweet, also known as dulce de leche. It’s a really creamy and incredibly soft caramel sweet. We were then asked to finish off the remaining cheese (otherwise it would be thrown away and no one wants to waste good cheese!) so we had more of the Monterico and some of the others.

Chocolate cheese...ewwww! Even Anthony has his limits; a view of the cheese making process

Our guide had a bit of trouble with that provolone, but eventually all the cheese was gone from the platter. The actual end to the tour was to return to the sales center to look in the viewing area where you can see into the factory from the ground floor (we’d looked in from above on the tour) and then we stayed to try the homemade ice cream. It was a healthy lunch of cheese and ice cream…what more could one ask for? Ginnie saw orange pineapple ice cream on the menu (well, technically naranja con pina) and was reminded of one of her favorites from Crescent Ridge Dairy back in Massachusetts. She got a cup of that and it was glorious! Fresh, homemade ice cream rarely disappoints. Despite the cool mountain air, the ice cream was a very welcome treat. Afterwards, we returned to the road for an afternoon of driving back through the lush landscape and eventually onto Volcan Arenal and the town of La Fortuna. We stopped several times for photos and to enjoy the views of the volcano across the lake (Lago de Arenal). There are no roads that directly connect the volcano and Monteverde despite the close distance (horseback rides make a day trip between them), but it’s worth the gorgeous drive anyway.

While we were on our final leg of the trip in Alajuela, we stayed at our favorite place of the entire trip, Paraiso Tropical, with the friendliest and kindest manager, Carlos Herrera. Carlos greeted us with a huge welcome and offered us an incredible deal since we mentioned that we’re PC volunteers. We stayed with him for four nights and got to know much more about Costa Rica through our conversations with him and his family.

One of many beautiful peacocks that roamed around our room at Paraiso Tropical

We ate a delicious and filling, traditional Costa Rican breakfast daily: gallo pinto (rice and black beans cooked together with Lizano Salsa, onions, and peppers – delicious! We have to admit, it’s quite tastier than the Caribbean rice and beans we have here; we did learn on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica they eat rice and beans – the red bean kind, just like Belizeans), huevos revueltos (scrambled eggs), tostadita integral (wheat toast; Costa Ricans like to put an –ita/o on words, we have heard that is why they have been dubbed “Ticos” and they may typically just have white toast, but the father who owns the property is very health conscious and prefers wheat), topped off with some yummy platanos maduros (a sautéed plantain – so good).

The amazing breakfast of Gallo Pinto that we were fortunate enough to have home-cooked for us each morning while staying in Alajuela

Carlos gave us great information about the surrounding areas and helped us as we planned our volcano visits and other trips.

One place we knew we had to visit was La Paz Waterfall Gardens. We’d found out about it while searching online and came upon a PCV website with information on things to see in Costa Rica. This is what we teasingly considered the Disney of Costa Rica. La Paz is a big garden park with several areas to walk through and see the natural wildlife of Costa Rica. The trip ends with a walk to five waterfalls, the last being La Paz, the most photographed falls in Costa Rica. This was one of our final activities and we’d passed up many opportunities to see frogs, birds, and other wildlife since we knew we’d see it all here. We were not disappointed. We picked up our tickets and started on the self-tour. First stop was the aviary where all sorts of native birds fly overhead or right next to your head, as they did with each of us – they definitely shocked us as the toucans and parrots zipped right by our ears! The birds are so colorful and beautiful and vibrant. Fortunately, Ginnie didn’t wear her earrings on our visit since the African Grey Parrot likes to steal them and fly away.

A blue and gold macaw just chillin' out on his perch

One of the many colorful small birds at La Paz

This guy was just too cool to pass up a photo opportunity

A colorful little bird that looked like a Baltimore Oriole, only red instead of orange

This colorful guy is called the Toco-Toucan

After spending quite some time with the birds, and a couple really interesting mammals – two we can’t recall the names of – we went right into the butterfly garden. Here we saw many types of brilliant butterflies, including the blue morpho we have here in Belize (and have seen at a local butterfly farm), our own Monarch Butterflies from the northeast, as well as many others. Little kids on the tour got to hold some and a bit of arguing ensued among sisters, but it was cute to watch from a distance. Anthony tried to catch one, but I guess he wasn’t sweet enough, it didn’t stay!

A blue morpho butterfly and small monarch at play in the gardens

After the butterflies, we passed by some spider monkeys and capuchin monkeys. As always, they are fun to watch as they swing through the trees and frolic. We watched as one of the spider monkeys found a tomato and hid away from the others to enjoy it without any interruptions, he looked sneaky and like he had to keep his eye out for any potential thieves.

One of the many capuchin monkeys

The path then led right into the hummingbird garden where feeders were set out for the birds to come in for a treat. They are sooo fast! It’s incredible to watch them and have them so close, when they hover right by your head it’s absolutely amazing. The bigger blue ones liked to eat and then just fly up and hover for a few seconds, then go right back to eating. We figured out their pattern, but they always hovered in a new spot, so it was pretty tough to get a picture! They all just zip back and forth so fast and their wings are incredible. We tried patiently to get a good picture. Considering National Geographic had to come up with a special system to be able to get a hummingbird photo, I feel pretty good about what I did get though.

There are hummingbirds of various shapes and sizes in each of these photos. You may have to look closely, but trust us, they're there.

Once we passed through the hummingbird area, we came to the snakes. Neither of us is that into snakes, but for some reason we took a picture of nearly each one there – I think it’s because they went from mildly venomous to instant-death venomous. Maybe the pictures can be a good thing to study so we can know them on sight if we have any more encounters while in Belize.

The large oxen who pull Costas Rica's famous carts; A casita sits atop the hill

We came out of the snake area and headed to the Casita, a replica of a traditional Costa Rican home from a century ago. Then we were led right into the Ranarium (Frog Exhibit) to see some of the native Costa Rican frogs. As we learned on our night tour, all frogs are nocturnal and they eat ants and termites. The venomous ones are poisonous because of the termite-ant diet as each critter provides particular enzymes to the frog and together they create the venom. The frogs in the ranarium are only fed one half of the diet so they don’t develop the venom – interesting, no true? They range in size from the size of a pinhead to several inches. We saw some of the really tiny tiny lee poison dart frogs and a few of these bigger green ones that just sit on the underside of big green leaves. The tiny ones are hard to spot so the ranarium puts little markers near leaves where one is resting to help you find them.

A few of the many poisonous dart frogs that we observed. The two small ones, although nocturnal, were out foraging for food late in the afternoon/early evening

The final portion of our trip was a 45-minute walk along the waterfalls trail. We walked through the rain forest and viewed 5 amazing falls, each greater than the last.

A local boa constrictor, non-poisonous, but rumour has it that these guys can put the squeeze on you quite quickly (sorry, couldn't resist that one)

The fourth of the falls at La Paz

A final adventure-filled day included the 60km drive through the Valley de Orosi. We saw a number of coffee plantations, small villages and their churches, a large hydroelectric dam, human-made lake, a house made entirely of bamboo and coffee bark, and the ruins of a church wiped out when its village was hit by a flood and abandoned in the 1800s. It’s a beautiful ride, but signs and directions in our guidebooks were not entirely accurate (at one point the lonely planet guide actually gives directions as if you were traveling in the opposite direction from where they had you start). The trip is a loop, but you can easily end up in a remote area if you come off the loop, so be sure to stop and ask as you travel (or follow a tour van because it’s probably going in the same direction!).

Valley de Orosi overlook; the ruins of a church in a small village; a famous, still standing church in town that was built out of materials grown in and around Orosi; an outside shot and closeup of the famous house built of only coffee bark and bamboo; The last supper carved into the side of the house

Our encounters on the wild side of Costa Rica gave us a lot of time to enjoy the thrill of adventure and to learn about the forest and the diverse wildlife of the country (and much of the region, really). We loved our trip through both Nicaragua and Costa Rica and met so many friendly people and enjoyed the many different regions we were lucky enough to see. There is so much more to see and do in both places, but we feel we had a great introduction to each and will gladly return!

*We just learned there was a devastating earthquake in Costa Rica on January 8th. We don’t get a lot of international news and since the US news we get didn’t mention it, we just found out. We are hoping our friends at Paraiso Tropical are safe and well, and we hope all the people affected are getting the assistance and support they need to rebuild and move forward.

16 January 2009

Ant and Gin vs The Volcanoes

During our travels in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica we observed a number of volcanoes (Volcans - en Espanol). Some we watched from a distance as they sent smoke and lava oozing from their peaks, and others we had opportunities to climb or hike. Nicaragua is home to three major volcanoes (Mombacho, Masaya, and San Cristobal), while Costa Rica is host to eight (Arenal, Tenorio, Poas, and Irazu being the most popular among visitors).

In Nicaragua, Volcan Masaya sits idling off in the distance from the colonial town of the same name. The volcano is still considered active although it hasn’t erupted since 1772. It consists of five separate craters and is said to be the most easily accessible of all volcanoes in the country. According to legend, pre-Hispanic inhabitants of the area would throw young women into the boiling lava at the bottom of the crater to appease Chaciutique, the goddess of fire; according to locals, skeletons have been found in the nearby lava tunnels.

Volcan Mombacho stands guard over Granada. The slopes of the volcano form Omotepe, an island of biodiversity in a mostly deforested land. The last recorded incidence of activity occurred in 1570 when one of its walls collapsed, draining the inner lagoon and washing away an indigenous village of 400 people.

Volcan Mombacho off in the distance sits in the middle of Isla Omotepe. This picture was taken from the abandoned castillo on Isla San Pablo

Volcan Masaya as seen from Coyotepe Fortress

In Costa Rica we visited Volcan Arenal, Volcan Poas, and Volcan Irazu.

In the small town of La Fortuna, Volcan Arenal is Costa Rica’s most famous volcano. It is constantly active and spews out lava relatively often (although, according to experts, activity can vary greatly from week to week).

View of Volcan Arenal from the central park in La Fortuna

Due to its high volatility, no one is allowed to climb Arenal, in fact over the course of recent time a few hikers have met their end by being too close to the flowing lava and frequent explosions. Arenal is considered one of the ten most dangerous volcanoes in the world, due mostly in part to its continuous activity and proximity to major residential areas.

A coatimundi searched the roadside for some lunch

A view of Volcan Arenal at night; A crater that sits off in the distance from Arenal

The start of the trail out to Volcan Arenal on our night time hike

One of the many beautiful flowers that surround Arenal

While visiting La Fortuna, we had the opportunity to spend our first night at the base of Arenal and our second night on a guided tour of the area. While we safely watched from a distance we were able to see lava shooting from the top and slowly flowing down the side, before hardening into dark rock. It was pretty amazing especially since Arenal was the first time either of us had witnessed actual lava flow. After our night time tour of Arenal we headed over to Baldi Termae Hot Springs. The springs are heated by the nearby volcano and consist of 12 pools of varying shapes, sizes, and temperatures. The coolest pool hovered around 70 degrees and the hottest of the pools was a scorching 109 degrees. The springs were a nice way to relax at the end of a very long and tiring day. We spent 3-4 hours hopping from pool to pool and felt very well rested as we returned back to town for the night.

Hanging out at the Baldi Hot Springs after a long day

While staying in La Fortuna we also had the opportunity to visit La Catarata de La Fortuna. La Catarata (waterfall) is a 600m hike down into a steep canyon. Once at the bottom you are rewarded with spectacular views of the waterfalls, a crystal clear swimming hole, and rushing rapids. The hike was a bit taxing on our knees heading back up, but was well worth it. Anthony braved the freezing waters first, and eventually Ginnie tiptoed in up to her waist. I guess you could say that the water was much colder than we’re used to, but not nearly as cold as New England in even the hottest of summer days.

La Catarata de Rio Fortuna; a shot of the waterfall on our hike down to the river; Ginnie striking a pose
Enjoying a swim in the somewhat chilly water, but still quite refreshing

After spending a few days in La Fortuna, we headed south to Alajuela. Alajuela sits about 12 miles northeast of San Jose and serves as a great jumping off point to many of the nearby attractions and national parks. While staying in the area we visited both Volcan Poas and Volcan Irazu.

Volcan Poas lies approximately 25 miles north of Alajuela by way of a long and winding, but very scenic road. The crater of Volcan Poas is 2704 meters high and measures about 1.3km wide and 300m deep. It looked very different from what one would traditionally recognize as a volcano since rather than being an immense conical shaped mountain, it is a deep crater perched atop the clouds at almost 10,000 feet. When we first arrived at Poas the weather quickly chilled our bones. The winds were howling, rain was blowing, and clouds hovered all around. We spent an hour or two hanging around, walking the trails, checking out the gift shop, and grabbing some snacks and hot cocoa, before deciding that we should give the crater one more chance. After all, the sun was trying in earnest to break through the clouds and the rain looked as if it was letting up a bit. We headed back to the lookout area and at first the entire crater area was completely covered in thick dark clouds; however, after about twenty minutes we were rewarded with a really cool view of Poas Volcano (albeit for only a few minutes, but well worth the wait). The excitement of the crater coming into view resulted in cries of "there it is" and applause from the several visitors standing by. The last major eruption of Poas (which created the present crater), took place in 1953, since then, the park has closed a couple of times, once because of a small eruption in 1989 and again in 1995 due to noxious gases.

This little guy was quite curious about our camera
A shot of Volcan Poas after the clouds began clearing up

Some of the local fauna along the hike to the Laguna in Poas

After waiting for almost two hours, we were pretty excited to see the crater (because, seriously, how many times can we be faced with clouds when we climb these things to see impressive sights?)

Some pretty flowers at Parque Nacional de Volcan Poas

The last stop on our volcano tour was Irazu. Volcan Irazu is the largest and highest (a towering 3432 meters) active volcano in Costa Rica. Irazu’s last major eruption occurred in 1963 when it sent plumes of smoke and ash all around, covering the nearby Central Valley of Costa Rica (it even reached as far as downtown San Jose).

Irazu sits amid a bare landscape of volcanic ash and craters. The main crater is 1050 meters across and 300 meters deep and is surrounded by several smaller craters of varying sizes. When we finally reached the summit of Irazu, we were rewarded with amazing panoramic views of the volcano, a lake, several nearby mountains, and beautiful cloud formations. It was well worth the trip and we would definitely recommend that anyone visiting central Costa Rica includes a stop on their itinerary. Not to mention we finally beat the clouds since we were above them, they couldn't cover our views for once!
Ginnie hanging on the fence outside of Irazu; Some flowers on the outskirts of the primary crater
The barren landscape of Irazu
Yes, that's Ginnie off in the distance taking some photos
Amazing views all around
Outside the crater
Never too early in the day to exercise
Another coatimundi hanging around the park ranger