Last night we drove until dark, which means we didn’t get far. This morning we will be like the bear and climb over the mountain to see what we can see.

Back into the Flintstone mobile. So glad we didn’t do this drive at night. The scenery is breathtaking.

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Costa Rica is known for its wildlife. Most common are monkeys,  sloths, coati, raccoons, deer and tapirs. The variety of bird species is astonishing, and apparently they have their share of vipers as well. We thought it kind of them to mark the viper crossings on the curvy mountain roads.

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Driving along we spotted a trail off the side of the road. Ever ready for an adventure, especially if it’s off the normal route of tourism, we jumped at the opportunity to take a hike. We decided our new logo would be, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by, and that’s how I became lost.”

See that rock mound? Doesn’t look like much, but if you scroll in, you will see a flag waving from its peak. Keep in mind that the altitude here is way up there, so oxygen is scattered about less densely than what our lungs are accustomed to. Did that stop us? By the time we did make it to the summit, the clouds had rolled in, eliminating the blue sky as well as the view and left us with our heads in the clouds.

Back into the car and more curves and mountain peaks. Bromeliads grow in amazing abundance up here, their red leaves standing out in sharp contrast against the green foliage. And this is the home to the shy quetzal bird with its long flowing tail feathers.

We took off just in time. As we came around one curve, a local burn had gotten out of control and fire had reached the road and licked at power lines. I’m sure within moments the way was impassable. Not sure what route would reach our destination if we hadn’t gotten through when we did. For the rest of the day I wondered how the people fared along that stretch, how far the fire spread, how long before power would be restored.

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Once through the mountains, the flat Pacific coast made easy travel. Along either side of the road are acres and acres of African palms, raised for their oily nut. The oil is processed and used for cooking worldwide.

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Don’t you love the ghostly hand reflected in among the palm fronds?

We headed straight to the beach area next to the Manuel Antonio State Park. The town is crowded and swarming with tourists of all nationalities. The beach is also crowded, not unlike the beaches lining Florida’s coast. Here, instead of highrises, the beach is lined by restaurants and tourist shops ending abruptly at the jungle’s edge.

We decided to do something very touristy, something I’ve never done, but always wanted to do. We hired a boat to take us parasailing. WooHoo!

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It was like floating on a cloud. All I needed was a harp.

We did find a quiet area and Doug built his traditional dam to impair the flow of water. He was quickly accompanied by two very curious and helpful young ladies. While they engineered the dam, their mothers and I had a delightful visit.

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The day ended most perfectly, with a meal consisting of patacones (tostadas if you’re from Puerto Rico) with guacamole (Yum) and a salad for my hubby and fish soup for myself.

Buen provecho!

Thanks again for joining me! Tomorrow, we head into the expanse of the jungles.

Brenda

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