Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Costa Rica Trip (Day 5)

December 31 - Hanging Bridges, Leatherback Turtles, and Lots of Bus Time
We had an early start today as we left La Fortuna and headed towards the central west coast and our final destination of Guanacaste. Our bags had to be ready for pick-up by 6:15am with a bus departure time of 7:15am. I managed to fit in a 30-minute lap swim in between the rain showers, and Mr. E took care of ordering my huevos duros again so they'd be ready by the time I arrived at breakfast.

The first bus journey was only about 30 minutes to the Mistico Hanging Bridges, where we hiked for almost an hour through the rain forest along fixed and hanging bridges. Mr. E and I decided not to stay with the guided tour but to go ahead on our own instead, so we had plenty of time to take the side trail down to the Blue Morpho Waterfall. Definitely worth the detour!

Although we never got a clear view of the Arenal Volcano from our hotel, we did finally spy it through the cloud cover from near the entrance to the Hanging Bridges:

The next part of our journey lasted about 2 hours on the way to our lunch spot. The long ride was due to the twisty roads that border Lake Arenal. We had some lovely views of the Lake, with wind-surfers and kite-surfers enjoying the water, and also passed the unique and incongruous Swiss-style Hotel Les Heroes. As soon as we got off the bus for lunch, we all noticed the change in climate -- somewhat less humid but much warmer!

After lunch, we had another 2ish hours to the edge of the west coast to visit the marine reserve of the tortugas baulas ("leatherback turtles).

We watched an educational Caravan-produced documentary to learn about the life cycle of and threats to these turtles and then took a short -- and hot! -- stroll on the beach to see the protected nesting area, where our Tour Director, M, told us a bit more about how volunteers carefully gather turtle eggs and eventually help lead the hatchlings towards the sea. These turtles spend 20 years swimming and maturing before they make their way back to the exact same spot where they hatched in order to next. Only 1 in 1,000 baby turtles will survive to adulthood.

Lots of folks were enjoying the beach and the waves, including some surfers:

Our final bus ride for the day was about 40 minutes to the J.W. Marriott Resort right on the coast of Playa Mansita. We found holiday cookies in our room to welcome us:

Since our bags were delivered pretty quickly, Mr. E got changed for a visit to the Fitness Center, and I decided to check out the "largest infinity pool in Central America." After a short swim to cool down, I headed back to the room to do a bunch of hand-washing in the big bathtub. The dinner buffet was rather disappointing, as the only animal proteins available were pig or cow, which I don't consume. We were surprised not to have any seafood options, given the coastal location of the resort!

After dinner, we found the Nau Lounge near the lobby, where we had some drinks and played some more cards. Mr. E won again!!! By the time we got back to our room, it was just after 11pm. We could hear the music from the special New Year's Eve party on the beach nearby, and at midnight, we had a prime view of the loud and brilliant fireworks over the ocean, as they were set up right outside our room.

Happy New Year 2016!


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