Costa Rica

Costa Rica Tour, March 2015
map.costa.rica.panama  --> We traveled to Panama City and Costa Rica. The trip centered on a ten-day, Road Scholar tour of Costa Rica, preceeded by four nights in Panama City and followed by three days on our own in Costa Rica. No pics from Panama.  --> Our flights took us from Dulles Airport, near Washington, DC to Panama City and then, as show in the inset, from Panama to San Jose, Costa Rica. We stayed over for four nights in Panama. The return trip home followed this route in reverse. road.scholar.route  --> The Road Scholar tour took us from San Jose (Hotel Balmoral) to Sarapiqui (Selva Verde Lodge), Arenal Volcano (Manoa), Punta Leona, and back to an overnight in the Wyndham airport hotel. We stopped in Sarchi to visit a well know source of handcrafts. There were several side trips along the way — to a pineapple plantation, two river boat rides to view flora and fauna, a black pepper and hearts-of-palm farm, and Jaco Beach for a sunset dinner. IMAG0145  --> Our first major sotp was at the  Selva Verde Lodge , Saripiqui (Chilamate). The lodge was in the middle of a rain forest; we looked out on the jungle from our room. Luckily, I shot this image with my cell phone as we left Selva Verde; else, we would have no images from most of the Road Scholar tour because I lost my camera. IMAG0148 BURST005  --> Carlos, our bus driver, and guide Alex at a rest stop we ocassioned to visit twice during long trips back and forth over the continental divide, which was at ~4,000 feet in this locale. IMAG0149-2  --> The table with inlaid wood that we ordered in Sarchi.
IMAG0153  --> IMAG0155 BURST001  --> Guides Alex (left) and Pedro flank Betty after dinner at our last stop. These guys were terrific: they could spot animals and birds that we would never have seen. Alex could imitate bird and animal calls. map.poas.doka  --> After the Road Scholar tour, we stayed three extra nights in Escazu, a suburb of Jan Jose. Our first side trip was to Poas National Park, via Alajuela, and on to the Doka Esstate coffee plantation. We retraced our route back to Hwy 712 to return to Escazu. IMAG0168  --> Traffic flow on the way to Poas was interupted by cows crossing the road to go to a barn for milking. IMAG0171  --> Cows in the distance. IMAG0174  --> Coffee plants at the Doka Coffee Plantation. The tall tree in the middle is a " rainbow eucalyptus ."
IMAG0175  --> IMAG0176  --> Beautifully colored plants along a walkway at the  Doka Estate Coffee Plantation . IMAG0178  --> Trumpet flower — it's said to be poisonous and hallucinogenic when smoked. IMAG0180  --> More trumpet flowers line the Doka Estate walkway. IMAG0181  --> A "living fence" along the highway from the Poas / coffee plantation area. Many fences had live posts. IMAG0182  --> View along the road through coffee country. The "living fence" is in bloom. In the next image we zoom-in on the rows of coffee trees in the middle of this picture.
IMAG0182b  --> IMAG0184  --> "K-mart," en route from Poas and on towards Alajuela and San Jose ( map ). IMAG0188  --> We stayed at a guest house,  Posada el Quijote , in the San Jose suburb of Escazu. A night-time view of San Jose at night from the balcony of our room. IMAG0199  --> map.san.antonio.loop  --> Fodor's recommended a road trip to the south of San Jose, centered on small towns with churches. It turned out to be a very scenic drive. The initial part of the trip through the mountains SE of San Jose was via Hwy. 2 which is part of the  Pan American Highway . The loop took us to Santa Maria, San Marcos, San Pablo, and San Antonio, and, return to the Posada. IMAG0213  --> This modern church is the small town of  San Pablo .
IMAG0207  --> Cemetary in Santa Maria. IMAG0210  --> The San Pablo church was richly decorated inside with beautiful woods — probably reflecting the relative wealth of the area related to widespread cultivation of coffee. The Dota coffee plantation is located in nearby Santa Maria. IMAG0215  --> The last leg of the driving tour was through the little town of San Antonio, in which it is said tat the largest plot of flat land is the soccer field. (It was small.) This image is on the out skirts of San Antonio. The slopes of the mountains are covered with coffee trees (also termed shrubs by some). IMAG0216  --> This tree caught my eye because of the epiphyte growing on a branch. IMAG0220  --> Another view down the hill side and into the valley near San Antonio. IMAG0221  --> A small, dirt road can be seen wending its way down into the valley near the bottom-left of this image. More dirt roads can be seen winding around the mountains in the distance. We stuck to the paved roads.
gary.bonnie  -->   MORE:  Slide Show    Bonnie and Gary Siamon, excellent amateur photographers, took a huge number of pictures. They assembled them into a slide show which can be viewed on the web (click on the green link). Viewers will be prompted to download and install a small accessory program to enable viewing the show in Windows. Costa.Rica.Itenerary  --> THE END: the PDF shows the details of the Road Scholar tour of Costa Rica. Sadly, many pictures were lost with my camera near the end of the Road Scholar tour.