Archive for ‘Travel’

May 14, 2011

Day 63: Meet Squeaks

This is Squeaks.  Squeaks is the resident parrot who lives at Casa Bella Rita, the Bed & Breakfast that we spent our last night at in Costa Rica.

Squeaks had free roam around the house and gardens.  He (I say he, but they said that they don’t know if it is a boy or a girl) had a cage, which had his food and toys, but also had toys hung up in the courtyard gardens as well.  Squeaks clearly liked his current situation and the attention that he got from his people and their guests.

He especially took a liking to Craig and wanted to hang out on his shoulder the entire time we were there.  When Steve or Rita would go to move Squeaks off his shoulder for one reason or another, Squeaks would protest by biting at their hands and then quickly fly and climb back aboard. Better Craig’s shoulder than mine, given my fear of birds.

Squeaks also has a bad habit of knocking over cans.  It started off as something funny that they encouraged, but now it is a problem in that you can’t have cans out around Squeaks without him charging at them.  He attempted to knock over my coke at dinner time.  Funny bird quirks.

They also had a plethora of dogs at their house, two theirs and two that just like to hang out.  You would think I would have taken photos of them but apparently I didn’t take a single one.  It was the end of our vacation, and I clearly wasn’t thinking.

This entry also marks being caught up with Costa Rica entries!  Whoosh.  In the future I’ll post separate entries with more photos, however I am still in the process of editing them all.

May 13, 2011

Day 62: Animals Don’t Belong in Cages

I’m somewhat cheating on this post.  I really didn’t take any photos on Friday since it was a travel day for us.  Instead, I’ll post from our second 1/2 of Thursday.  Just a simple photo from my D10 point and shoot.

One of the biggest attractions around the Arenal Volcano is the amount of hot springs in the area.  You really have quite the choice when deciding which to visit.  You have huge locations with many different spring pools and some locations with just a couple.  You can go to certain springs to party and listen to loud music as tour buses load in the people, or you can go to certain springs that are a little more private, relaxing, and romantic.

After much deliberation, we chose to go to The Springs Resort & Spa as we heard good things about their springs from people we met who were staying there.  They also have a big cat sanctuary which I thought I would enjoy, and I knew it would be the only way we would see these types of animals on our trip.

They do tours at certain times during the day where they shuttle people to the part of their property which houses the animals.  Now, I kinda knew what to expect, but I didn’t realize it would bother me as much as it did, especially considering that I have been to zoos many times in my life, which are essentially the same thing.

According to the hotel, a little while ago Costa Rica passed a law that you could not own large cats as pets.  These animals were being stolen as babies and sold and raised in people’s homes.  The law resulted in a bunch of these cats having nowhere to go and no places to take them, and not being able to be released back into the wild.  In response to this, The Springs created a “sanctuary” for these cats.  Now the idea of that sounds great.  However it was just incredibly depressing to see these beautifully majestic animals stuck living the rest of their lives in cages.  All because some horrible person decided to take them out of the wild as babies for money, and the ignorant people who purchased them as pets.  Now their lives consist of living in small areas, basically just laying around all day not being able to fulfill their basic needs as wild animals, forced to be gawked at by groups of people that are shuttled in by the hotel.

In addition, they also had monkeys on the property in cages, and after seeing how amazing they are in the wild, it angered me to see them behind bars.  As I watched everyone around me taking photos, I could only think of the photos that I had taken of them previously in our trip.  Being completely free.  Hanging out in a tree eating fruit.  The mommy spider monkey swinging from tree to tree with the baby on her back.  Those are the things worthy of taking photos of, not a poor frustrated monkey stuck in a cage.

I do think that ultimately the hotel is doing a good thing.  They are providing a place where these animals can live out their lives, since they can’t return to the wild.  However it breaks my heart to think of the life that they are forced to have now.  Animals don’t belong in cages.

May 12, 2011

Day 61: Monkeys are Thoughtful Creatures

On Thursday we did a nature walk through the Arenal Hanging Bridges.  I got a couple good wildlife photos, but not as good as our trip to Caño Negro.  We saw tons of birds, although I was only fast enough to catch photos of a few different species.  We saw a bunch of lizards and frogs.  We also saw some howler monkeys although they were very high up in the trees and most were constantly moving behind foliage.

I got quite a few photos of this particular howler monkey chilling out though.  Unfortunately the bright sky turns him into a silhouette, but I kinda like it, especially in black and white.  I love his pose….  hand under chin as though he is pondering something really important.

May 11, 2011

Day 60: Waterfalls were the reason for going to Costa Rica

I’m not sure if I posted this story here in the blog or not, but the way the idea for a vacation to Costa Rica came about was Craig and I were lying in bed, and I started talking about how I wanted to go somewhere with pretty waterfalls.  I then said that I wanted to go to Hawaii.  His response was “Can’t you choose somewhere closer than Hawaii?”  So then I said “How about Costa Rica?  Costa Rica has waterfalls”  He was like “Okay.  We can go to Costa Rica” which resulted in me asking him a million times “Seriously?  We can go to Costa Rica?”

On Wednesday, we did two activities.  Ziplining in the morning and horseback riding to the La Fortuna Waterfall in the afternoon.  Now to be honest, when we signed up for the horseback riding, I didn’t really read the full description.  Both Craig and I imagined in our heads that the horses would take us all the way to the waterfall and then all the way back.  Yea, not quite.  The horses only took us 1/2 the way.  Then we had to hike down (and back up) the mountain on our own to and from the waterfall.  It was so refreshing swimming there though, so it was well worth the added effort.

In addition, silly Craig had his wallet in his pocket while we were swimming.  He thought ahead enough to put it in a ziplock bag, but not enough in that his pocket didn’t zipper.  So of course it slipped out, and after about a 1/2 hour of swimming, he finally realized it.  Luckily, we had the absolute best guide on the planet, and as he was resting on the rocks by the river while we were swimming, he saw it go by.  At first he thought it was trash (and got upset about someone throwing trash in the waterfall) but then he was like “wait, that’s not trash” and jumped in the river and chased it downstream where he caught it for us.  Imagine our relief when he pulled it out as we were telling him that we lost it.  You better believe he got a good tip.

An added bonus for today’s post,  on Wednesday the Arenal Volcano (which is the main attraction of the area) finally decided to show itself.  Up until then on our trip, you wouldn’t have even known that a volcano existed because it was constantly covered by a big thick cloud.  What a sight it was when the clouds finally parted.  It revealed the entire volcano, even the cone where you could even see the steam coming out.  It was gorgeous.  The following photos were taken from our hotel grounds.

May 10, 2011

Day 59: Monkey Lunch Time

On Tuesday, we went on a day trip to Caño Negro, which is a protected wet land area in Costa Rica close to Nicaragua and home to many forms of wildlife.  The day tour consisted of a two hour drive to and from Caño Negro, a long boat ride on the river, and lunch.

We were rather lucky on our trip in that we got to see tons of wildlife and almost everyone got to see what they wanted to see.  We saw a wide array of birds, 3 species of monkeys (Howler, Spider, and White faced),  caymans, lizards, and a sloth.  The only thing we were unable to see that was a goal of some people were toucans.  Unfortunately we did not get to see any toucans are whole trip.  Actually, that’s a lie.  We did see a pair of toucans on the day that we went canyoning, however they were far away and because we were canyoning (rappelling down waterfalls) I did not have my good camera with us to get any photos.

I’ll do a post later down the road with all of the great photos I was able to capture on the tour.  The are still on the pile to be edited though.

In the meantime, here is a favorite photo of mine of a White Faced Capuchin monkey enjoying a nice snack up in the tree.  I got so many great photos of him because he was staying relatively still stuffing his face in the open, unlike the other monkeys we saw that were swinging from tree to tree or hiding behind foliage.

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