We are now in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I'll tell you about it in the next post. For now, I'll tell you about the last 10 days...
These first 5 pictures are from Isla de Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua. It was so ridiculously beautiful there. I'm disappointed because I didn't remember to put most of my photos onto my flash drive, so I only have a few to share.
This is from the shore before we got on the ferry to go to the island. I climbed the smaller volcano on the right, Volcan Madera. It's a long story, but let's just say that it was the absolute hardest physical challenge I have ever put myself through, including the marathon I did. It took 10 hours to go up and come back down and it was so steep I had to pull myself up with my hands sometimes and much of it was so muddy, my boots sank all the way in and I fell countless times. I thought I might not make it down before dark and I was all alone and scared and tired. I cried when I finally got back to the hotel. It's a good story now, but at the time I was cursing the volcano and my decision to climb it.
This is the other volcano, the one I didn't climb. It's still active.
These next photos are from Playa Madera, just north of San Juan del Sur in southern Nicaragua. It was a long, rocky, dusty road to get there, but very worth it. We stayed at a surfer hostel right near the beach. It think we were the only non-surfers in the whole area, but we got along just fine. It's very hot on the coast so we did a little walking but didn't push it.
Howler monkeys! These little monkeys are the second loudest animal on earth, after the blue whale (or so I'm told). They sound like a cross between a dog, a bear and a T-Rex and they're the loudest at dawn and dusk. Good thing I sleep with earplugs (but they still woke me up a few times). The babies looked to be about the size of big kittens and the adults like very large cats. I also saw capuchin monkeys but didn't get pictures.
There really is nothing like swimming in the warm-ish Pacific ocean until dusk, then sitting in the sand to dry off while the sun sets.
I am in love with these yellow trees. I've posted a picture of one before, back when we were in El Salvador. But they are everywhere here! The hills are dotted with them. The Costa Rica countryside reminds me a little of Oregon in the summer and a little bit of Napa Valley in California, and sometimes of Mendocino. In any case it is very beautiful. So far, Costa Rica seems more middle-class. We haven't seen any poverty yet, but we've been in rural areas almost exclusively.
This is a coati. We saw it and others at Palo Verde National Park in Costa Rica, where we camped for two nights. The lizard in the picture below was about 3 feet long. There were lots running around.
Look at this crazy vine/branch. I was amazed because this was the first one we ran into on a hike, but then we saw lots more. It was a gorgeous trail with interesting plants, animals, rock formations. If it had been about 15 degrees cooler, it would have been perfect.
The forest had my favorite yellow trees and the floor was littered with the flowers. It was like someone went in front of us and spread these to make our walk beautiful.
The view from the highest point on our hike. Awesome!