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The beach at Tortuga Island was fantastic. At the risk of encouraging an avalanche of tourist, this is a must take trip. The bus picked Dottie and me up at the highway bus stop and believe me "leaving the driving to us" has a whole new meaning here in Costa Rica. The bus is much more relaxing, and we could take some pictures as we went too. The catamaran trip to the island was spectacular! A friend had given me the tip, and it was all she said it was and more.
In between trips, we took some one day, closer to home shopping trips. I couldn't send my guest home without some wares from Costa Rica. Los Musas Waterfall is near, and watching the kids play on a Sunday afternoon, while we laid in the shade of the park, was very relaxing. After making the round of Gracia and Sarchi, with all the beautiful furniture and souvenir shops, we were tired and glad to have a few days to hang around the patio, relax, sip smoothies, and she could catch more sun. I actually got my fair share of sun just being out running around. Not to mention how much my pups were glad to have us at home. They are the perfect tropical companions...sleep while I read or knit...walk when I want to get some much needed exercise...and they thoroughly enjoy the fresh fruits and veggies here also. What more could I ask for. The only time they feel any discomfort is when it is time for them to eat, and who needs a clock with their routine well developed. They enjoy house guests at least as much as I do, and do their part to make them feel like part of the family. Each morning they made a beeline to see if Dottie was up, and were anxious to share her banana as well as mine. And lest a morsel would go to waste, they enthusiastically checked the floor after breakfast. Suitcases mean someone is leaving, and they are never sure exactly who they will be left with, but one thing is for sure, it will involve a "t-r-e-a-t", and that can't be all bad. And, yes, they can spell.
The trip to Monteverde...I'll not not do again. Not that it was not nice, but for those of you who have never been, what they have can be found in "any place" Costa Rica, with only a fraction of the trouble. The road there is the problem, and we took the bus. Don't think I have eaten that much dirt since I was a kid in Montana. It took 3 1/2 hours once we left the highway to get to the town. Hugging the hill on the wrong side of the road, while trucks passed on the drop off side was no problem for me, but the lady in the car behind us as we backed up, down hill, had the whitest knuckles I have ever seen. Driving a rental is not what I would do to get to that 'vacation' spot. If I lived there, wild horses could not drag me down, only to return again. It was beautiful, the town could have been 'Any Where, Arkansas, USA', with just as many souvenir shops, and information booking tour offices. If you go, Sky Walk is great, and our guide was very knowledgeable, and friendly.
Our next trip was to the Hot Springs...to soak, and a day trip to Arenal area. The springs was my most memorable and favorite time. Laying in the mineral water until I was sure I must look like a prune was fabulous. They have several types of massages and facials also. The rooms were great, clean and the grounds were beautiful. The food was excellent, and again great quantities of fruit to enjoy. They are not far from where I live, so I will be taking trips there many times to enjoy this beautiful nature spot. We had a couple hour stop over in Zarcero to take pictures and enjoy the beautifully sculptured trees, and the stopped to see the Loco Coco Art Gallery also. Many talented artist display their creations there, and the grounds were beautiful too.
We went into the Arenal Waterfall park area, but decided after going down 20 or so of the 480 steps to the falls, that perhaps we could see the falls best at a distance. Five or ten years ago, I think I could have done the steps, but after talking to others who were on their way back up, what little they could say (totally winded, and they could have been exaggerating), we opted out. Ice cream and the souvenir shop sounded just fine to us. Next time I go, I would love to stay overnight there to see the fireworks from the volcano at night. I'm sure it is spectacular.
Now in between all this, Dottie and I were able to catch up, starting right where we left off, on all the 'girl talk' we could possibly want to say to each other. Relaxing and just hanging out with the view from my patio, was how we finished up her visit. I was sad to see her go, and know she had a great time, but she had to get back to work and her boyfriend. She gave him such a raving review, that and the T-Shirt she gave him, proved to be the ticket to his upcoming trip here. He wore the T-shirt to his workout at the gym, and found out that a guy there has land in Costa Rica and is coming down in March. So the friend asked if he wanted to come down too. Small world, and to think a T-Shirt changed his plans for his next trip.
Scroll down to see the pictures we took on our trips, and some taken here in the neighborhood too.