A few quick updates…

February came and went and I just realized I didn’t put out a single blog post…and now it’s already the middle of March!  A lot has been happening since the start of 2015 and I wanted to send you a few updates.

So I moved.  Again.  It was kind of a lateral move for me, some things are better, some things aren’t as great (ie I lost my calming ocean view and a patio full of sunshine).

The kittens are growing.  I would venture to say Sunshine is full grown at this point, Lluvia is still pretty small in comparison.  Sunshine is full of love and always wants to be pet.  Lluvia also gives lots of love… she loves to be pet but more often her love is shown in the way of killing giant cockroaches and bringing them to me in the middle of the night.  She’s definitely a mamma’s girl.  I have a friend’s son staying with me right now, Travis, and while he tries every day to pet her, she remains curious but aloof.

imageSince I now live on top of the Manuel Antonio hill (one of the not so great aspects of the move), I’m venturing out a bit more to the local restaurants.  I often wondered why Falafel Bar was #1 on TripAdvisor for awhile… I get it now.  Fast service, not outrageously priced and good food.

Also got to enjoy a Lost Coast IPA at Barba Roja.  They didn’t have Great White, but it was the Lost Coast brand…which is close enough!  Gotta take what you can get here.

My friend/awesome tour guide and birder Johan Chaves took Travis and I on a tour around Manuel Antonio National Park.  It was a picture perfect day and there were so many amazing creatures to be seen.  Always in awe of what Johan can find, the tiniest little creatures and he’s able to spot them in the dense forest!  Normally the tour ends at the beach but he invited us to continue and we hiked up to Cathedral Point which had stunning views.  Most of the photos I’ve seen in the past were foggy and grey.  But that day was beautiful blue skies and an abundance of sunshine.

Cathedral Point Manuel Antonio

Speaking of weather, it’s been an odd summer.  A lot more rain than normal in January and February  and we’re seeing a few clouds this month as well.  But it’s still 90 degrees every day so I’m definitely not complaining!

Manuel Antonio beach

In contrast, did a one night trip to the cloud forest a few weeks ago and stayed at Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel & Nature Reserve.  Cold, cold, cold (for this tropical beach girl).  But beautiful in its own way.  The mist floating through the tall trees, the warm fireplace and the view of the majestic Arenal volcano all create a quiet serenity.  The hotel is located outside of San Ramon, about 90 minutes from the airport in San Jose.  The local area reminded me very much of Sonoma County with green rolling hills and jersey cows (and as to be expected for the area, coatis everywhere…).

coatis in Costa Rica

So that’s been my life in a nutshell these last few weeks.  I’ll leave you with one last photo of some sweet monkeys playing in the trees…

monkeys in Manuel Antonio

Chrissy

A Visit to Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa RicaAs I mentioned in a recent post, I recently had a visit from an old California friend and his family.  While seeing the wildlife was possibly the most exciting thing for them, the most exciting part for me (besides seeing him and his family!) was the “gifts” he brought me from Amazon.com.  Yes, I can now happily say that I finally have a Downy softener ball.  Never thought that would be so exciting but trust me, it is.  I also now have, amongst other things, corers for pineapples and mangos.  YAY!   Life just got a little more simple.

Okay but onwards to our day at the park.  My Tico friend was also staying with me at the time so we met the family at a local soda for breakfast and then met our private tour guide, Johan Chaves, who would take us on an easy walk along the main trail of the park.  I’m always in awe of these expert guides who know where everything is.  I realize that much of the natural world doesn’t often move around too much, especially the little things like spiders, snakes and bats.  But still, they’re so good at finding even the tiniest of creatures.  I was really hoping we’d see the yellow pit viper that he had been seeing the last few weeks but no such luck.  No snakes whatsoever seen on the tour that morning.

What totally made my day though was not the big animals like the monkeys and sloths but seeing one small insect: the tiny rainbow grasshopper.  Oh wow, I have only seen photos of this little guy and was so excited when Johan found one.  It’s so beautiful with its many stunning colors!

Costa Rica Rainbow Grasshopper

We were also so lucky that the weather held out for us the entire day.  The day before, it had poured down rain all morning long.  And Matthew confirmed my sentiment that the rain here is different from that of California.  I thought maybe I was exaggerating when I say things like that but was pleased to know that he was in agreement.  It’s just different.  You have to experience it for yourself to fully understand.

The end of the tour landed us at the beach where we spent a little time exploring and cooling off in the tropical water.  The beach inside the park is very calm with almost no currents.  We also spent quite a bit of time shooing the raccoons and monkeys away from our belongings.  Never walk away from your belongings and leave your backpack open or food out!

Enjoy the slideshow…

[slideshow]

Pura vida…Chrissy

Life in Manuel Antonio’s Jungle

Capuchin white faced monkey and babyA few people have asked me…have you visited the Park yet?  The Park being Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica’s gem on the Central Pacific Coast.  No, haven’t gone yet.  I’ve been 3 times in the past but haven’t visited since moving here.  There are a few reasons why…

  1. There’s a $15 roundtrip taxi ride to the Park
  2. There’s a $10 entrance fee
  3. It’s next to pointless to go without a guide as it’s difficult to find wildlife on your own and the guides somehow know where everything exists in the jungle.  And they have really cool scopes that I can put one of my camera lens on and take super clear photos of really faraway animals or tiny insects and amphibians.

And probably the most important reason…why should I spend $25 to go to the Park when all I have to do is hang out at my house and the natural world comes to visit me?  Almost daily, I’m visited by monkeys – mostly capuchin (white faced monkeys) and squirrel monkeys and there are always new and interesting birds flying around the trees.

On a recent Skype business call I was sitting outside on my terrace as my housekeeper was cleaning inside.  In less than 30 minutes…there was a gladiator frog sleeping on the wall next to me, two toucans flying through the trees, a black squirrel (yes black) running around the branches, a white horse hanging out in the open space next to my house and several capuchins on the tree about 6 feet away from me.

Costa Rica Toucan

A few days ago, there was a gigantic moth hanging out on my screen door all day and of course, there are geckos and lizards running all around my house, inside and out.  One day last week, I found muddy hand prints on my clean sheets that were drying outside.  They came from the squirrel monkeys who were playing on the railing!  I also now understand why none of my seeds grow!

Costa Rica Squirrel Monkey 2
Caught in the act!

And just yesterday, the property owner came knocking on my door to tell me the best news yet…she said “Perezoso!”  Next to squirrel monkeys, sloths are probably my favorite wild animal here in the Costa Rica rainforest.

Costa Rica sloth

Yes, I live in the jungle.   I’ll probably be going to the Park in a few weeks with friends but for now, I’m enjoying the jungle life in my backyard.

Enjoy the slideshow…

[slideshow]

Pura vida…Chrissy