Robin's Adventures

Costa Rica, Machu Picchu, and the Galapagos Islands
A Triple Adventure

Treetop Walkways and Suspension Bridges

We wanted to see the forest in a little bit slower motion than on the zip lines, so we went on a two mile guided hike over trails, walkways, and suspension bridges. Can't really complain about the rain, given that we were in a rainforest, so we put on ponchos, used umbrellas, and only got slightly drenched.

There is intense competition for growing space among the rainforest plants, so you see plant life everywhere. Epiphytes, like orchids, lichens, and mosses, cling to trees for support and gather all of their water and nutrients from the air and surrounding environment. One of the flowers we saw was the passion fruit flower. We were also lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a shy resplendent quetzal and a very wet howler monkey trying to shelter from the downpour.

Small Wonders

Rainforest insects are beautifully adapted to survive in their environment. Loved watching the stick insect. He was not easy to spot because he blends right in. We also found a caterpillar from the blue morpho butterfly, some insect eggs that were stuck to the underside of a leaf, a spider web glimmering in the sunlight, a heliconius doris butterfly, an owl butterfly, and some very busy leafcutter ants.

Four-Wheel Drive Vehicle to the Coast

It was time to leave the cloud forest and head for the coast so we could catch a small boat to our next destination, Arenal. The rough, rutted dirt road was an adventure, but the scenery was beautiful.

We passed by many coffee plantations, and farms. I was amazed at the fences. They take branches from trees to use as the posts, stick them in the ground at regular intervals, and string barbed wire between them. After a while, the branches sprout leaves and grow into trees.

Off the Beaten Path

There were many scenic viewpoints along the way and we saw some beautiful orchids at one of them. We were very amused by a couple of vultures waiting on fence posts for a warm meal. The skinny cow nearby looked like he was almost ready to oblige.

No Crowds

Finally, we arrived at a dock in the middle of nowhere. Our driver pulled up and waited. Soon, a small boat appeared to take us to Arenal. As we got closer, the volcano loomed in the background and a vulture spread his wings to bid us welcome.

Arenal Springs Resort

There were lush gardens at the hotel, but the most evident part of our view was always the Arenal volcano. It is a stratovolcano that is considered to be one of the ten most active volcanoes in the world. We never saw it without steam rising from the crater.

Rainforest Trek

We spent the morning hiking through the rainforest along various trails and catwalks. The perspective from the canopy is always different than the sights on the forest floor. The views were amazing and we managed to find two very different bird nests along the way.

Noteworthy Tree Apendages

Check it out. We came across some very strange and unusual things growing on the trees during our trek.

Hike to the Volcano

We wanted a closer look at the volcano. We went with a guide who took us hiking through the lava rock near the base. We couldn't get too far because the rocks were very jagged, uneven, and difficult to walk on. We did get close enough to watch as lava bombs were ejected from the crater and rolled down the side of the volcanic cone. These rocks were red hot and steaming as they rolled. We were awed by the steady stream of activity from Mount Arenal.

Next Stop: Lima, Peru

The city sounds of Lima, Peru's capital city, were a big change from the jungle sounds we had been hearing throughout Costa Rica. The population density was another big difference. Parts of the city, called favelas, had densely packed colorful little houses all along the mountainside.