The World Class Traveler

The World Class Traveler

Monday, March 31, 2014

Farewell to Costa Rica!!!

Everyone decided to stay in Manuel Antonio National Park until 2 pm and wrap up any last minute shops or beach time.  We had a last goodbye meeting at the hotel pool before we left the town.  Two people from the tour extended their trip and stayed in Manuel Antonio.  After leaving the town we took our time heading back to San Jose where we first started the tour.  A couple of people wanted to stop back at the crocodile swamp area to get a few last minute gifts.  Once we headed back to San Jose we learned that there was rush hour traffic.  Guess things aren't much different in Costa Rica as they are in the States.  Once we arrived at the Hotel Autentico we just relaxed and said our last goodbyes.  Some people went to dinner at an Argentinian restaurant and others stayed behind to get ready to leave the next day.

I have to say, this was a fantastic experience to see different parts of Costa Rica and learn about the culture and lifestyle.  With the tour guide being a native of Costa Rica, he was very knowledgeable about his country.  I would definitely recommend G Adventures Tour group to use for a trip to Costa Rica.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Crocodile Swamps

After we left Monteverde and made our way to Manuel Antonio we stopped at a hot tourist spot.  Off the bridge there were crocodile swamps.
In addition to the crocodile swamps there were homemade fruit smoothies, and gorgeous blankets for sale. Check it out!!

Once we arrived to Manuel Antonio we checked in at the hotel.  Here are some pictures of the swank hotel room at Hotel Mimo:

Once we arrived, everyone got settled and had a free night to themselves.  Some people went to town to check out the restaurants and shops others stayed behind at the hotel and enjoyed swimming at the pool.  Gotta get up early tomorrow for the Manuel Antonio National Park Tour.

A Day At Manuel Antonio National Park

Today, we took a 15 minute bus ride from the hotel to the Manuel Antonio National Park.    It was amazing to me that the fee to this National Park was only $10.00!!  And then to top it off there is a beach in the middle of this National Park!  I don't know about you, but I have never heard of a beach being in the middle of a National Park.
Map of Manuel Antonio National Park

I enjoyed listening to our personal tour guide as he shared the history behind Manuel Antonio National Park. 

Along the way we saw lots of monkeys, birds, and raccoons.

I've spotted something I am going to grab!!

Once the tour was finished, we had the opportunity to stay and enjoy the beach.  A bit of advice from the tour guide.  Make sure to watch all of your personal belongings.  Warning, if you do not watch your things, the raccoons and monkeys will steal them.  Chances are once the items are taken you will never see them again.  From what I heard from some of the locals, the animals steal your things, run up in the trees and throw them.  So pretty much watch your back at all times.  

Manuel Antonio National Park Beach

Funny story, I was sitting and relaxing with Carol the Alaskan and Donna the Canadian.  Carol had a plastic bag with her things in it, and Donna and myself had backpacks.  We were sitting under a poisonous tree to get shade and all of a sudden I turned around and a raccoon was going into her plastic bag and trying to take her things.  I yelled at Carol and she chased it off for a second but then the raccoon attempted to open my backpack.  Luckily Donna had found a walking stick earlier in the day for protection to chase off the thieves.  So Donna got up and started chasing off the raccoon.  We couldn't stop laughing.  It was a memorable experience I have to say.

After awhile we ran into the Bostonians Sue and Erin, I left with them and went to the public beach.  We stayed for a while, I walked around and looked at the shops.  The area reminded me alot of the main town of Puerto Viejo.  Once we headed back on the public bus to the hotel we all went swimming.  The rest is history.

After everyone went swimming and happy hour at the hotel bar, we all went out to dinner.  The tour guide picked a restaurant that was inside a cargo airplane.  The name of the restaurant is called El Avion.  After dinner people went for after drinks at a bar across the street.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Coffee, Chocolate and Sugarcane, Oh My!

After ATV and Zip lining, we took a two hour tour at the Don Juan Coffee  in Monteverde.  Check out the photos, let me know what you think.

Ox pulling us on buggy
History lesson anyone?

Main entrance of the plantation

Plantation Tour Guide Discussing the beginning process of the coffee

Don Juan in the flesh
Coffee Trees

Assorted Roasted Coffee Beans


Do I look like a pro at pounding?

Grinding the chocolate
Taking in the essence of the chocolate
Looks like cocoa powder
Adding ingrediants to the group chocolate to sweeten it up
Mixing the spices with the chocolate

Final product

The guys grinding the sugarcane

The girls giving it a whirl, grinding sugarcane
This is some serious sugarcane juice

Beat up sugarcane that has already gone through the grinder
Samples anyone?
Juice from the sugarcane

Riding and Flying In Monteverde

The tour guide took me as close you could go to the Arenal Volcano, quite far away still but the view on the way was great, we made many stops through the town, saw raspberry trees, sugarcane trees, coffee plants, he took me to his families farm, showed me where they milk the cows and the process of how they do it. Check out some of the pictures:

The raspberries are edible

Raspberry Trees

Coffee Plants
Now this one looks like the milk commercial cow

This is the area that he milks the cows

Got Milk??

Sugarcane Tree
View From the Top

                  After ATVing I was transported back to where Avenutra has the zip lining.

All geared up!!
Time for instructions
We were so scared, these steps moved the whole time

Aventura Tours rocks!! They are a family owned company.  Service is superior and they take care of their customers like they are their own personal friends.  You will get personalized, impeccable service.