Carolyn. This is our last night in Costa Rica. We have been here for 32 days, and it's been great. Here are some highlights, and some summary thoughts:
- watching the HUGE green sea turtle lay her eggs on the beach at night
- kayaking in the rainforest rivers and lagoons of Tortuguero National Park
- living in a remote treehouse, deep within the rainforest, 90 feet off the ground
- watching spider monkeys swing from tree to tree
- hearing howler monkeys deep in the forest
- zip-lining through a 7-line course, longest one was 1 km long!
- seeing the Arenal volcano - twice - lucky, because it's often covered in clouds
- canyoneering, including rappelling down waterfalls
- seeing the quetzal (rare bird)
- beautiful beaches
- amazing waterfalls
We sweated A LOT. It's really hot in most areas of the country - the only thing that breaks the heat is going UP: the altitude in some of the mountain areas can provide cooler temperatures which are a nice relief.
We learned how to drive our 4x4 rental on some pretty horrible roads. Not sure we want to go through any of that again. But we'll see what the future holds...! Maybe the Costa Rican government will discover more money in their paving budget.
There are a lot of expats who have settled here. We avoided hotel chains and stayed in locally-owned independent hotels. Most of the owners are either Canadians, Americans or Europeans. We did work on our Spanish a little - but it was so easy to stay in English here.
Costa Rica has a great reputation for eco-tourism, with amazing biodiversity. Apparently it is the leading nation in the world for the percentage of its landed protected by national parks. We also saw a lot of cars and trucks belching black gases, toilets and faucets leaking endlessly, and disgusting amounts of litter on beaches. So it is not "perfect" on the environmentally-friendly scale. But it sure is a wonderful place to visit. Although we saw a lot of the country, we didn't see it all, and we'd love to come back someday.
Thank you, Costa Rica!