Saturday, January 16, 2010

Costa Rica, Part II

Man, we've been back from Costa Rica for a week, and looking back on it seems like a lifetime ago. It's been a crazy week with work, etc., and I can't help but get jealous thinking about the dude I met sitting on his porch looking out over the ocean from my previous post.

After our stay at Osa Peninsula (Part I), we reluctantly flew up to Quepos, a small town on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. I say "reluctantly" because we loved Osa, but Quepos ended up being worth the trip.

One of the highlights of the Quepos area was... the hotel. I know, sounds lame right? Like we're one of those people who go to Hawaii and never leave the resort. But it's not like that. I got the recommendation from Watcher, and without it I would have never even looked twice at this hotel. My wife was still a bit hesitant being that it's not right on the beach, but I assured her that Watcher would not steer us wrong, and if she'd just look at one of his "awesome graphics", she'd understand.

We flew into the Quepos airport (which looks more like an open air market than a fruit stand (see previous post)) and started driving to the hotel. Almost immediately we were on a bumpy dirt road that was taking us through a huge palm tree plantation. Wesla was giving me that "are you sure you know what you've gotten us into?" look, but refrained from saying anything. The palms eventually turned to forest, and then the forest had a nice little haven that was the Blue Banyon Hotel.

Here are a few pics of the place:

The Banyon tree, from which the hotel gets its name:
From Costa Rica
Our cottage:

The view from the front porch:

The place was highlighted by the owners, Jim and Barb, who not only rescued a bunch of monkeys...

... but also made awesome banana pancakes for breakfast, and had a knack for telling us about their local secret stashes, which included this beach:

I know, awesome sunglasses right? Those are Costa Rican specials. The ones we brought with us are sitting at the bottom of the ocean somewhere.

This beach was way off the beaten path, and we could not see a single soul for miles in each direction.

We also spent a day in the local national park called "Manuel Antonio." I have to admit that after going to Corcovado in Osa, Manuel Antonio felt a bit like a zoo with all of the people. That said, we still saw loads of great animals, thanks again to our hired guide.

A sloth:

A monkey hanking from a vine:

The white-faced monkey that I watched take someone's lunch right off of the beach and run 20 feet high into the trees before the previous owner of the lunch knew what happened. And then the monkey accidentally dropped the lunch, jumped back onto the ground, grabbed the lunch, and went back up into the tree, still all before the previous lunch owner knew what hit him.

The views from the top of Manuel Antonio looked like this:

And of course, no trip to Costa Rica would be complete without at least one canopy tour, right?

We decided to schedule the zipline tour on our last day. We figured that if we were going to break our necks like Toby, we'd do it on our last day in Costa Rica instead of the first.

I've been coping with coming back to this cold, dark, dreary, smoggy, trafficy, foggy... (okay, it's not that bad) world that I call home by training for the winter triathlon that starts in about 2 hrs (I'm just about to leave for Soldier Hollow). We'll see how I respond to my "relax on the beach and eat Gallo Pinto for 8 days, train your but off for 5 straight days, and hope that the day before the race is enough recovery time" training plan. I'll let you know how it goes.


Watcher said...

I'm so glad Jim sent you to that beach. Isn't it amazing? What blew me away was that you're only 8-10 miles from Manuel Antonio as the crow flies, but where the beach at MA is packed, you can't see another soul at the "stash" beach.

We had the exact same do-you-know-where-you're-going? discussion driving to the hotel through the palm plantations. When you drove through the palms at night, did you see the fireflies?

Those pancakes were awesome.

29er said...
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KanyonKris said...

If you didn't take "full advantage" of that deserted beach, shame on you.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

Great trip report. Thanks for oversharing.