Costa Rica Photo Dump, Pt. 1

Here it is! The fabled photo dump of a show and tell…Well, here’s part of it, anyway. I still have a bunch of photos to go through, but realized that doing it all in one post would probably get me flagged as a spam blog, so here’s just a little slice of the pie to whet your appetite. Don’t worry, the rest are coming soon.

On our first day in Costa Rica we were up and on the bus by 7AM…this was really not my style, but once I had a couple of cups of the fantastic locally grown coffee, I was good to go and glad for the early start. We were on a tour hosted by Globus, an all inclusive tour company that has tour services all over the world. we were on their “Natural Wonders of Costa Rica” Bus Tour with about 20 other people. I was probably the youngest person on the tour by about 20 years, but everyone was so nice and our Tour guide, Jorje, was amazing. As a Costa Rican native, he had so much interesting information to share, and a great sense of humor.
National Theater in San Jose, Costa Rica
National Theater in San Jose, Costa Rica
Group Photo!
Five-colón note
Paparazzo Satus
 
There Was War Here Once

Our first stop (besides the coffee maker at the hotel) was the National Theater in San Jose. Construction on this beautiful Neo-Classical building began in 1891 and took seven years to complete. It is considered one of the finest historical building I the capital, and still functions as a theater. We didn’t get to go inside, but the interior is supposedly fabled for its opulence and lavish furnishings, as well as the ceiling mural which decorates the inside, “Allegory of Coffee and Bananas” by Milanese artist Aleardo Villa, which was depicted on the five-colón note for years, winning prizes as the worlds most beautiful bank note, before being retired.

We took a group photo, bought our own five-colones bills as souvenirs and piled back into the bus, which I came to not-so-affectionately call Bertha. That’s an amusing Papparazzo-style photo the photographer snapped of me climbing back on the bus, just so I would have evidence of how appallingly pale my legs were at the beginning of this trip. And yes, those are bullet holes in the side of that building, remnants of the bloody Civil War that erupted in 1948, lasting 44 days a killing almost 2,000 people. Chilling.

Abject Poverty
After the theater we made our way through the city of San Jose to the highway, where we passed numerous “Shanty Towns” like this one. Our tour guide said that most of these have been established by illegal immigrants from Nicaragua who come to work as manual laborers in Costa Rica. The majority of them live on salaries of less than $60 a month for the back breaking work of harvesting coffee beans, pineapple, beans and various other crops. Growing up in the United States and visiting another country for the first time made seeing this sort of abject poverty difficult for me. We see this sort of thing on the news, but watching it on a television screen makes it about as real to us as the sci-fi films and sitcoms on network television. These people will never have the majority of the privileges and opportunities that someone like me–a white girl from a middle class, US family with college educated parents–has, and the reality of seeing how these people live and work every day of their lives is incredibly jarring. This is how a huge percentage of the world lives, and seeing it first hand made me so much more appreciative of all the good fortune being lucky enough to be born into my privileged life.
Momma Sloth Being Slothful
Poisonous Tree Frog
Mother, Daughter and Mother Nature
On the drive to Tortuguero we stopped at a small resort somewhere along the way for some lunch and animal watching. The first photo is of a three-toed sloth who just happened to be being slothful in a tree outside the dining room. It’s difficult to tell, but there’s a little baby sloth chilling in the branches right about the momma. Too cute! Our tour guide said that if you are ever wandering in the jungle and happen upon a baby sloth on the forest floor you should either a) place it back on the nearest tree, since it’s pretty much defenseless on the ground and the mother sloth will not come down to retrieve it, or b) keep the little bugger.
I spent the rest of the week scanning the jungle floor for a baby sloth to take home with me. Think I would have made it through customs with that in my bag?
Cayman Croc
A caiman crocodile chilling in a ditch by the side of the road.
River Boats
Like, OMG
Iguana Crossing
Aloof Mom
Iguana Swimming Up To Boat
A Little Excited

After lunch we moved on to the Tortuguero Canals, a series of waterways that crisscross a national park dedicated to the conservation of endangered sea turtles. We climbed aboard neat little boats that reminded me of school busses, with their rows of seats, and went on a Magical School Bus-style adventure through the jungle. It was truly awe inspiring, the lushness of the jungle spilling over the rivers banks, the exotic animals and birds that were literally around every bend in the river, and the sheer wonder and magic that this place still exists in a world where so much natural beauty has been destroyed, developed and forgotten about. I was truly wonder-struck and bouncing around the boat like a little kid on Christmas, snapping photos of every lizard, monkey and bird I could see.

As someone whose only ever really experienced nature in the wild and rugged pacific north-west, seeing such amazing greenery, lush foliage, and incredible wildlife at every turn was truly magical for me. I have seen so little of the world and this trip was truly inspiring to go out and explore. Not just my home, but the entirety of the world in all it’s vast and unique cultures and climates.

I guess I got bit by the travel bug, because I have a feeling this is only the beginning of my world travels.

Tortuguero Canals

 

 

 

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