From the Beach to the Clouds

Today we spent a fair amount of time traveling, going through a variety of different ecosystems in a short period of time. We stared out in the humid lowlands of the southwest, heading northward. Along the way we stopped at the Tarcoles River, to walk across the bridge to see the American crocodiles in the […]

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Manuel’s Monkeys & More

In the afternoon we went on a walking wildlife safari in Manuel Antonio National Park. Just a few dozen feet past the entrance Gustavo stopped and trained his scope on a two-toed sloth high in a tree not far off the trail. The shaggy ball of fur blended in pretty well among the dark shadows […]

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A Spicy Morning

This morning we visited Villa Vanilla, a small artisanal producer of vanilla and other spices. We were greeted by Giselle, who invited us over to see vanilla beans and some other spices drying on elevated racks in the hot sun. The mature beans are dried for a specific length of time before they are stored […]

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Bats after Breakfast

The howler monkeys started at 5am, and the scarlet macaws were squawking by 5:30, and various other birds joined in the cacophony until it got light about 6. It was warm and humid (72), while it was near zero back home. This morning we had plenty of time to relax or go exploring around the […]

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Rainforest Rendezvous

Just about the only downside to being in such a remote location was the lack of TV (and until a few months ago, internet access; we found out Sunday morning that they DO have internet now; their website needs to be updated). Fortunately the fact that it was Super Bowl Sunday didn’t even come up […]

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In Another World

Note: We just found out today that internet is a recent addition at Nicuesa Lodge so this post is for Jan 31 and another for Feb 1 will hopefully be posted this night. What a difference a few hours of driving makes. We left chilly Trogon Lodge up in the country’s highest mountain range to […]

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The Long Way Into the Cerro de la Muerte

We started off the tour this morning with a visit to the University of Costa Rica‘s Lankester Botanical Garden in Cartago, which specializes in orchids and other epiphytic plants. Costa Rica is home to about 1400 orchid species, 20% of which are endemic. The Garden cultivates more than 8,000 orchid specimens, of which more than […]

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Paradise Found

Most of the group chose to travel to Costa Rica a day ahead of time (for those whose flights would arrive late in the evening) so we had a day to relax and enjoy the extensive gardens behind the hotel or explore the city. Kari, Dwight, and Mary Kay arrived in midafternoon, while Susan, Cindy, […]

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Flowers at Fairchild

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, in Miami, Florida, is named for plant explorer David Fairchild (1869-1954) who traveled the world as a USDA scientist in search of plants of potential use to the American people, bringing back hundreds of important plants, including mangos, alfalfa, nectarines, dates, cotton, and bamboos. This 83 acre garden showcases tropical and […]

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Glorious Gardens

On our final day of the tour we visited three private gardens in the Ashburton area about an hour southeast of Christchurch. All were very different, each with its own character, reflecting the personality of the owner. First up was Trott’s Garden, another one of those “Gardens of National Significance” and an incredible country garden […]

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