Thursday, March 29, 2012

Costa Rica: Pozo Azul

{Scott ziplining like a boss}

It's rather unbelievable that our Costa Rica trip ended over a month ago. Since my return and first three posts, I have hardly had a chance to sit down and finish up blogging about our last stop. Alas, such is life in advertising.

Meanwhile, back in blog land: our last stop was Pozo Azul, a fun camp-like ranch where we did a canopy tour and got in some much needed sun (arguably too much judging by the intense burn I brought home). The staff at Pozo was friendly and more than accommodating, as evident by the receptionist who guided us on a 15 minute hike to the swimming area after we got lost - alone in the forest, mind you - the first day.

Overall, we had a fantastic trip. Everyone was so hospitable, welcoming and we were showed a great time. We will definitely be planning another trip to Costa Rica and on the docket are the beach, Sloth Sanctuary and anywhere I can find a Tico Sour. Thank you, Costa Rica Tourism Board!

{Pozo Azul}

 {Our ever so quaint tent suite and, surprisingly, the first room where we had electricity}

{Watching a kayaker practice in the setting sun}

{View from our daily hangout spot} 

{Comfy accommodations}

{Super Skitty}


{Skitty and me pre-canopy tour}

Monday, March 5, 2012

Costa Rica: Selva Bananito

Our second stop in Costa Rica was Selva Bananito Lodge, an eco-lodge hidden among a thousand acres of rain forest. This lodge was by far the most educational of our trip; the owner is a German man named Jürgen whose grandfather bought the land back in the seventies with plans to tear it all down. Fortunately, Jürgen and his sister convinced their grandfather to keep the land intact and build the lodge instead. He now juggles running the lodge and patrolling for illegal hunters, a sad reality of owning land in Costa Rica (the government can only go so far with rain forest conservation due to a lack of resources).

At Selva, we rode horses and took a three and a half hour nature hike in the depths of the rain forest where we saw more plants than I knew existed, taller trees than anything I've ever seen and more spiders than I care to remember. The photos we took on the walk are quite beautiful, filled with lush green leaves and spots of sunshine through the trees. With every shot I took, I imagined it hanging in my room as part of a green and blue collage on the wall behind my TV and now I cannot wait to buy some frames.

{Pretty pink flowers - a bright contrast to all the green everywhere}

{Canela (Cinnamon) & Cacique (Chief)} 

{Lots of reading in our hammocks} 

{Strawberry poison dart frog - I'm told they're only poisonous to humans if eaten (ick)} 

{Lovely greenery}

{Evening sunset in phases}

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Costa Rica: Pacuare Lodge

The first stop on our trip was the Pacuare Lodge, where we rafted our way in and rafted our way right back out after two wonderful, luxurious nights. In between rafting ventures, we kayaked, hiked to a waterfall, saw a sloth (!!) and enjoyed wonderful food, wine and Tico Sours (my favorite Costa Rican cocktail by far). 

Everyone at Pacuare was incredible - from our guides to the groundskeepers to the kitchen staff - and we couldn't have felt more welcome or pampered. Since the rooms have no electricity, the staff sneaks into each suite during dinner and lights candles all over the room. Little touches like these made the experience by far our favorite of the trip. I honestly can't say enough about how much we loved Pacuare. Hopefully the pictures will speak for themselves.

{Hut on Pacuare's grounds}

 {Our lovely room}

{Sloth as seen through a telescope} 

{Pacuare's very own garbage disposal system, affectionately named "Wilbur"} 


{A series of shots from rafting the class II-IV rapids}

{Beautiful water pathway on our rafting trip out}