Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 18

For our last day in Costa Rica, we went to the Ecotermales Thermal Pools. 

The pools are heated by the volcano. 

It's pretty weird sitting under a hot waterfall!

Somehow we were the only five people at the pools today. Pretty nice!

Ada didn't really love the hot pools, but she did swim in the cold pool for a while. 

Ada did love the bag of chips that we opened once we got to the Hotel Pura Vida tonight. She takes after her mom and grandmother; a bag of chips is not safe anywhere near Ada!

Day 17

Our adventure for today was a visit to the Arenal Hanging Bridges. 

We walked through all levels of the rainforest and only lost Ada and Ama once!

Afterwards, we drove over to the hammock store where we bought some Costa Rican art. 

The kids loved swinging in the hammock chairs and learning about rebar. 

We swam for the rest of the day and had a nice dinner poolside. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Day 16

Jude rode a horse for the first time today. 

Ada didn't want to go, and E Ben doesn't like riding, so Ama and I took Jude for a nice trail ride. 

We rode for a hour, then spent some time at the La Fortuna waterfall. 

We had to walk down 487 steps into a deep ravine, then we were able to swim in the pools at the bottom. 

On the ride home, Jude asked me how old he has to be before he can get a horse. 

We all had dinner in the restaurant tonight, and the girls stayed late dancing to the live music. It was way past Ada's bedtime, but she said the music was so good that she could dance all night. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Day 15

We went hiking today in El Silencio. There were paths through the rainforest at the base of the volcano. 

We stopped for a snack at the mirador (view). 

The grassy paths reminded us of The Sound of Music. 

There were many fig trees. Jude climbed one to pick some fruit for us. 

The volcano was unusually visible today. 

Carlotta the Scarlett Macaw joined us for kids dinner at the pool. 

She agreed to jump on my arm for a few minutes, but that didn't last long. 

The kids had a sleepover in Ama's room, and we went out for a nice sushi dinner. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 14

Today was a travel day. We awoke to find that the water at our rental house was still not working (it had slowed to a dribble the day before). That makes it difficult to wash dishes and do laundry! The water started flowing again about an hour before we were scheduled to leave, and we managed to do a decent job of cleaning, but we definitely have a new appreciation for the basics. 

We spent most of the day in the car with just a few stops. We had lunch at a place with a playground (the first we have seen since we have been here) and Jude had a great time playing with two boys. 

We arrived at our hotel late in the day. Here's the view from our room. 

Jude relaxed in the hammock for a while and read some books. 

Then we went swimming and Jude made some friends at the pool. The five kids had dinner at the swim-up bar. Jude was in heaven!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Day 13

A coati visited our house this morning. He hung around for quite a while, watching Ada and me in the pool. 

We had lunch at Marlin Bill's, which Ada says is her favorite restaurant. 

The boys had surfing lessons in the afternoon. They started with some training on dry land. 

Meanwhile, Ada had a mud bath. 

Jude was a natural and rode dozens of waves. 

E Ben did pretty well despite the fact that he's still feeling sick. 

Can't wait for the next opportunity to go surfing!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day 12

My mom and I went for a long walk on the beach at dawn. We saw a large beached sea turtle which was surrounded by about 35 vultures. Every time the waves would come in and cover the turtle, they would fly off, only to return when the waves receded again. 

A little later in the morning, E Ben and I took Jude for a hike to a nice viewpoint up in the cliffs above the beach. When we got back down to the beach, the waves were perfect for bodysurfing. We swam for a while and the boys built a sandcastle. 

My mom and I had a lovely late lunch at La Luna.

My grandmother Ninette died one year ago today, and we spent a lot of time thinking and talking about her. If she had lived in Costa Rica, we think that La Luna would have been her favorite restaurant. 

We took a quick photo of the two of us before walking home and taking the kids to the beach for the rest of the day. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 11

E Ben and I got up at dawn today to go on a tour of the Nosara Biological Reserve. We were lucky to be the only two people on the tour this morning, so we had the guide, Gabriella, all to ourselves. This photo is from the starting point of the tour, high above the reserve. We had to walk down about 200 steps to get to the level of the river. 

We learned all about the plants and animals that live in this part of the country. The mangroves here are over 200 years old and enormous. 

There was an earthquake here in 2012 which raised up the ground about six feet. As a result, many areas which were once underwater most of the time are now exposed in the dry season (which is now).

Afterwards, we enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the Lagarta Lodge. The mango pancake and fresh juice were delicious. 

We relaxed for the afternoon, then went to Rancho Tico for dinner...

...then to the beach for a sunset swim. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Day 10

Jude, Ama, and I went on a zip line tour today (Ada was too young, so she and Dad went on a different adventure to discover a new beach).

Jude was the first one of our whole group to take the plunge. He listened very carefully to the instructions from the guides. 

There were two other kids from Oregon. The girls were six and nine. 

Ama was terrified, but she did a great job keeping it together. 

I got to go with Jude once I learned how to stop. 

Ama got to try some tricks, like going backwards...

For the last run, Jude and Ama rode together, and I got to go upside down. It was awesome. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Day 9

After swimming in the morning, we went out to lunch at Olga's. 

Jude bonded with a little girl over Angry Birds and Talking Tom. 

The monkeys pass by every evening just before sunset. They lingered long enough today to get a few good photos. 

Then we walked to the beach to swim in the waves and watch the sunset.