Costa Rica 2013
My husband and I were fortunate to go on a trip to Costa Rica last week. Neither of us have been there before so it was a special treat. He was actually giving two lectures on Saturday, so he was able to write off his portion of the trip for his business. We stayed in San Jose where his conference was being held. The hotel was nice but I must say that San Jose is not my favorite city. There is not much for historic buildings, the traffic is crazy, and the majority of the city is comprised of tin roofed shacks with very expensive satellite dishes on top of them. There are a lot of pickpockets.
We arrived on Thursday and just kind of took it easy. We had a nice dinner on the top floor of our hotel, which yielded a beautiful view of the lights of the city. It is supposed to be the highest elevated restaurant in San Jose. I had smoked salmon with avocado and hearts of palm, which was quite delicious. Then we returned to our room and collapsed.
Friday DH had scheduled a tour of San Jose. In the morning we took ourselves to the Jade Museum, which was pretty interesting and had lots of fascinating pre-Columbian artifacts. Our official tour was in the afternoon. We went to the Gold Museum, the Teatro Nacional, the city’s main park and went past the local universities, which are free to Costa Rican citizens. The guide told us that Costa Rica has no standing army – that they have put that money into education for all their citizens, and they have the highest literacy rate of any country in Central America.
Artifacts at the Jade museum:
Friday night was Kevin’s speaker dinner, which was held for all the speakers in Saturday’s conference. They took us up frightenly steep, winding, and potholed hills to an amazing restaurant which was on a mountain high atop San Jose, and the view of the lights of the city below was absolutely stunning. They had a buffet of local cuisine, which was delicious, and native Costa Rican dancers who demonstrated traditional Costa Rican dance from almost 100 years ago.
Photos from our fabulous dinner:
The next day DH had his conference, so I was on my own. I arranged a tour that went to a coffee plantation, Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfalls. We went to the coffee plantation first and learned about the process of making coffee. I bought delicious coffee for my parents and my hubby, and chocolate covered coffee beans.
We then went to Poas Volcano, and to a lake at a higher elevation than the volcano. We had a fabulous time but it was quite a hike. We were only allowed to stay at the volcano for about 30 minutes, because it is active and there are poisonous gases. I got my exercise for the day, and a chance for some beautiful pictures:
Next we went to La Paz, home of a wildlife reclamation center and two beautiful waterfalls. Costa Rica frowns on captivity of local wildlife (or exotic wildlife) by private citizens. If found, they are confiscated. They cannot be released to the wild, because they have been domesticated, so they are kept at this center on display to visitors. The waterfalls were amazing. The second one, called Magico Blanco, was an optical illusion that was bizarre. If you stare at the heart of the waterfall and count to ten, when you look to the right of the falls, the mountain appears to be crawling upwards. The effect lasts for a while, and I felt like I had been fed some funny mushrooms.
Pictures from La Paz:
The following day was Sunday, and my DH and I spent the entire day on a guided birding tour. There are so many pics from that trip that I will save it for an new post tomorrow. I would just like to point out that I am at last allowing myself to appear in photos, because since embarking on my new life as a travel doctor, I have lost 25 pounds! 25 more and I’ll be back to my old fighting weight!