One mis-step and you are a part of the forest!

Trip Start Aug 26, 2007
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Trip End Jan 05, 2008


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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

WELCOME TO LA PAZ
After the strawberry/coffee liquor stop, we drove between the cordillera mountains, left the province of Alajuela and entered the province of Heredia. The La Paz Waterfall and Gardens awaited us and what an unbelievable experience that was. The first element of folklore was that we were given a walking stick for our hike. We laughed at first, but it actually came in handy later on. The grounds were just beautiful - truly forest/jungle motif.

   

The sites to see were many and nature was all around us. We started with a beautifully colorful bird aviary, had fun with a freakishly-human like monkey, quickly passed by the snakes (no reason to dilly-dally there!) and Carolina, aka Mariposa, was in Butterfly heaven. She has loved butterflies her whole life and this part of the trip was such a treat for her. My favorite park resident was the monkey. I could have watched him for hours!   By the time lunch came around, we were starving. The setting for the food was surrounded by the lush gardens of the falls and we sat right next to a small waterfall. WOW. For lunch, we were joined by Hank, Ati and her husband (the Israeli couple), and Francisco and Carla. We enjoyed the sounds of the waterfalls along with a tasty Costa Rican buffet lunch. YUM.

We then set about hiking to the actual falls. There was a series of narrow and steep stairways that lead to two of the major falls. Caro pointed out: "One small mis-step and we are part of this forest!" And she was right. There was not much room for a slip and fall on these steps! 

Descending the stairs was hard for Caro, because of her fear of heights, ascending the stairs was hard for me, because of my fear of exercise!! Both Francisco and Hank were looking out for her and helped her through the most difficult portions. I was so proud of her, that it inspired me to conquer my own fears, especially those of open doors and windows (more on those bizarre details later!!)

The La Paz waterfalls were as beautiful as you'd imagine they'd be. Check out the pictures and remember my caveat about pictures - these sites are better experienced in person! After taking as many pictures as Melvin, our guide, would allow, we boarded our bus, most of us exhausted from the hike. At least I'd like to believe most were as exhausted as I was!!

PISOTES AND OTHER ADVENTURES
On the way back from the falls our bus stopped mid-way, because the road was blocked by Pisotes crossing. These furry creatures are the Costa Rican cousin of the raccoon. A few tourists were feeding them, which we were told is a no-no. I tried to send them the evil eye, but they were very involved in their wild-life experience.

We enjoyed the drive to the Saripiqui River and were excited to board a slim boat that was to take us to enjoy the local animals in their natural habitat. The boat ride was soooo relaxing, I could have stayed there for hours: the cool breeze against our humid skin and the sound of the water as the boat pushed forward could have lulled me to sleep, were it not for all the excitement in our surroundings! We spotted iguanas, caymans (not to be confused with crocodiles - thank God!), tropical birds, tiny bats the size of my thumb, and monkeys so up high in the trees that even my triple zoom couldn't capture them on film. After the ride, we were greeted with carrot juice and crackers, while Carolina enjoyed the local hammocks. True Pura Vida living right here! We couldn't believe how much we were able to do in one day: the coffee farm, Poas Volcano, Strawberry stop, La Paz Waterfalls, and boat ride on the Saripiqui river! Caro summed it up with one observation: "It's amazing how much you can get done in one day when you're not working!!!"
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