Friday, October 30, 2009

Costa Rica

This time last year I was busy preparing for a trip to Costa Rica. The country was magnificent and made me anxious to explore more of Central America. Other than a quick trip into Belize to visit some Mayan ruins and a day at the beach on Isla Rotan in Honduras, I’ve never spent any significant time in Central America.

We flew into San Jose and stayed a couple of nights in the city before venturing out. The culture and history were fascinating, but only the beginning to what this country has to offer. We then explored the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, the Central Valley and the North. We hiked through pristine rain forests, enjoyed the Pacific coast beaches, visited coffee plantations and small villages, watched as Arenal erupted and soaked in mineral pools heated by the volcano, but the highlight had to be the time we spent at Tortuguero. Tortuguero (see picture above) is only accessible by small aircraft (though the airstrip was closed for repairs while we were there) or a lengthy boat ride. The boat ride to the rustic lodge was half the fun. Every day we toured the jungle canals by boat, which gave us the opportunity to view monkeys and birds en masse. The wildlife was amazing and the sounds made the experience even more fascinating. I’ll never forget the first time I heard a group of howler monkeys at close range. After I got over the initial fear that I had somehow landed in the middle of James Rollins’, Amazonia, I couldn’t get enough of listening to and studying the amazing animals.

So, as I watched the snow out my office window for most of the week, I contemplated my next Central American adventure. I’m leaning toward Guatemala, but I’ve heard good things about Panama. I’m sure something will come up to guide me toward a new destination and I’m sure it will be just and exciting as the last and may even end up being the setting of a new book.

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