It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity

Actually, it’s both! We spent the last 10 days in southern Costa Rica sweating constantly, taking 3-4 showers a day, scratching bug bites, removing the mold that started to form on clothes, shoes, and backpacks, and marveling at the beauty of Drake Bay from our cabina.

The view from our open air shower was just as good; it was the best shower view I have ever had.

Drake Bay lies at the northern end of Corcovado National Park, where we spent my 40th birthday and where the seed was planted (at least in my head) for this part of the trip. We spent a lot of time just relaxing, trying to stay cool, and looking at birds (including a pair of violaceous (gartered) trogans) from our dining area. We also hiked 15km up the beach and back one day through primary and secondary forest with nothing but the sound of the waves, howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, and crabs scurrying under vegetation to accompany us.

We enjoyed a beautiful day on the water in search of dolphins and whales. (We saw both including baby spotted dolphins and a baby humpback whale.) We spent three glorious hours kayaking the Agujitas River and Drake Bay.

Perhaps most exciting of all, was the boat ride along the Sierpe River and into the Pacific. During the rainy season, the only way to reach Drake Bay is via boat taxi. It’s an hour-long ride downriver (where you can see crocodiles sunning onshore), through mangroves, and into the ocean. The transition from river to ocean is harrowing, requiring the boat to dodge huge seastack rocks at the river mouth, with waves crashing around (and sometimes over) the boat. No lifejackets were provided. It’s a wet landing when you arrive in Drake Bay, as the boat pulls close to shore, bobbing in the waves, and you clamber off and into the water, backpack in tow.

As I write we are in the San Jose airport preparing for our flight to brand new territory: Lima, Peru, South America, and winter (yay!). We could not be more excited for the weather change as the ‘winter’ in Peru is its dry season and cooler temperatures are in our future.

Final Costa Rica bird list: golden naped woodpecker, tropical gnatcatcher, riverside wren, plain xenops, orange-collared manakin, scarlet macaw, blue-throated goldentail, yellow headed caracara, black crowned tityra, black striped sparrow, buff throated saltator, pale billed woodpecker, plam tanager, green honeycreeper, orange billed sparrow, green kingfisher, buff rumped warbler, amazon kingfisher, golden crowned spadebill, great currasow, wilson’s storm petral, magnificent frigatebird, brown booby, blue footed booby, red crowned woodpecker, violaceous (gartered) trogan, charming hummingbird, rufous tailed hummingbird, rock dove (OK, it’s just a pigeon, but it rounded out our list at 200 species)

Three Days of Mountain Bliss (Part 2)

Costa Rica
Found this beauty on one of our hikes

On our second day in beautiful San Gerardo de Dota, we showed our new friends Chris and Allie the spot where we saw the quetzals the previous morning. We met them the night before over dinner. Chris had just landed in San Jose that day and Allie, who had just finished traveling for two weeks with her sister, whisked him down to this little town. They are not bird nerds but were ready to see quetzals, and we were happy to help. Sure enough, by 7am we saw three more were feeding in the wild avocado trees along the road.

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Three Days of Mountain Bliss (Part 1)

Costa Rica
Resplendent Quetzal – breeding male

After three weeks in the rain, heat and humidity of Turrialba, we were ready for some time in the mountains. On the advice of our friends, Candace and Andrea, we headed south of San Jose to San Gerardo de Dota, a town surrounded by Parque Nacional Los Quetzales. After a winding, seemingly death defying two-hour ride towards Cerro de la Muerta (“Hill of Death”) the bus dropped us off exactly where we asked: the 80 kilometer marker of the Panamerican highway. Then we walked.

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