Wendy’s Vacation in Costa Rica II

Necessity lead  Wendy Avis of Warkworth Ontario to an excellent adventure in Costa Rica as seen in our first post. In fact,  Wendy had a set of  superb choices for vacation activities in Costa Rica. She could travel to the Northeast where the Sarapiquis. Rain Forest and Tortuguero  National Park each would provide unique fauna and flora of the rain forest jungle or the Caribbean shore and palm tree estuaries.
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Waterfalls in lush forests are everywhere along the Central Valleys
Along the central valley spine, Costa Rica hosts two volcano parks with tours to the Arenal Volcano Caldera in the Clouds  and LaPaz Waterfall Gardens being some highlights. To the Northwest, Monteverde offers rain forest tours traveling along ziplines among the treetops. To the Southwest Manuel Antonio National Park offers some unique Pacific Ocean vistas.

However,  Wendy is an avid equistrian, so her choice for vacation time was to go riding in the hills along Costa Rica’s  central spine while taking in the volcanoes and some of the tropical gardens. Wendy’s pictures  show the challenge of horseback riding in the Costa Rican hills:

  • Wendy Riding in the Costa Rican Hills
  • Wendy's Treehouse Digs at Costa Rican Dude Ranch
  • Bedroom in Treehouse
  • View out the Window
  • Other Lodgings at Ranch
  • Ranch Rooster
  • Cat on the Walk
  • One Eyed Cat
  • Horse after Ride
  • Mare with Foal
  • More Horses at Ranch
  • On the Trail
  • Starts with gentle Upslope
  • But Becomes more  Challenging
  • Plateau Respite
  • Treacherous Footing
  • Paved Way near the Top
  • View out the Valley
  • Top Dwellers
  • Afternoon Storms Forming
  • Clouds Play
  • Ripple of Valleys
  • Later Day Sun and Shadow
  • Bridge across River Stream
  • A View to the Bridge
  • Swimming Hole at the Rest Stop
  • Horses get to Feast as Well
  • Falls by the Swimming Hole
  • Looking down over the Falls
  • Greta Milks the Goat Carefully
  • Our Intrepid Horsewoman

One needs to be reasonably accomplished horse rider to match the challenges of scaling the Costa Rican slopes. But as you can see from Wendy’s pictures there are generous  rewards with some superb views. However, the tropical milieu can throw in either a rainstorm or some hot weather. In either case there are convenient rest stops with swimming holes to relax and cool off.

One of the surprises of the central mountains are the volcanoes tug of war with the encroaching jungle. Despite erupting  just over 40 years ago, the green of the jungle is already marching up the volcano hillsides. Even the Caldera in the Clouds is surrounded by advancing greenery  and foliage. While further down in the valley, the  Arenal and LaPaz waterways provide  lush  trails,  garden views and spectacular tiers of waterfalls:

  • Trees in the Rain
  • Country Side
  • Rain Tree
  • Knoll in the Hills
  • Midday Rains
  • Dairy Farm above San Jose Valley
  • Converging Streams
  • At the Base of Mountains
  • Arenal Volcano Spa
  • Spa Water Fall
  • Spa Tiered Water
  • Spa Foliage
  • Spa Cabinas
  • Fountain in Spa
  • Spa Bar and Pool
  • Spa Resturant
  • Spa Tiered Water Falll
  • Spa Restaurant
  • Spa Pool
  • 2nd Pool in Spa
  • Flowers in Spa
  • Bloom Bush
  • Arenal Volcano Caldera
  • Caldera in the Clouds
  • Volcano Caldera Info
  • La Paz Waterfalls
  • La Paz Falls Duo
  • View to La Paz Exit Area
The Arenal Volcano Park had not only wonderful trails and views but beautiful floral blooms everywhere. And there are pools and restaurants for relaxing or ducking out of the morning showers.

Wendy took in a number of other Costa Rican sites and tours. A big part of the economy is boosted by exports of sugar cane, bananas, cut flowers and coffee. On two of the tours, one got to see the  sugar cane and coffee processing as follows:

  • The Trees of Costa Rica
  • Delivery to  Sugar Cane Factory
  • Stripping the Cane of Sugar Sap
  • Heating the Sugar Syrup
  • Forming Sugar Cakes
  • Coffee Fields
  • Drying the Coffee Beans
  • Broad View of Bean Drying Area
  • Washing the Beans
  • Sacks of Graded Beans
Despite having a per capita GDP of $13,000 compared to Canada’s $43,000, Costa Rica’s tropical climate and spirit of self provision reduces the disparity. Also income./wealth inequality in Costa Rica is not nearly as bad as in North America.

Wendy was in San Jose for the big sporting event in Costa Rica of the past 4 years, as the Ticos beat  Mexico and therefore qualified for the World Cup in Brazil in June and July of this year. Wendy also took in the  San Jose and Limon County Great Rodeo a small part of which is seen here:

Part of the fun at the Rodeo and Horseshow

Unfortunately Wendy’s camera didn’t capture some of the other Horseshow events which we are assured “were also great fun”.

Summary

Dental necessity took Wendy off the beaten path of Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic or other traditional Caribbean islands for a winter vacation. But as you can see from the photos and videos, a vacation in Costa Rica has a lot to offer Canadians looking for a respite from increasingly wicked Winters.