A Glimpse of Costa Rica…

We met up with our tour and got on our bus

Our trusty bus...
Our trusty bus…

which first headed to Arenal, the home of Arenal Volcano. As we traveled through the countryside, one stop we made was in Sarchi, home to the Guinness Book of Records’ world’s largest ox cart

The World's Largest Ox Cart...
The World’s Largest Ox Cart…

and also an ox cart factory where ox carts are built and meticulously hand painted.

Painter hard at work...
Artist hard at work…

Ox carts started out as a way to transport goods and people from town to town and from inland towns to the sea ports.

History, by the wheels...
History, by the wheels…

In the early 20th century, families began painting the carts and the style of painting could be used to tell what area and what family the ox cart came from.

History on wheels...
History on wheels…

As more modern ways of transporting goods and people came about, ox carts were used less and less but the painting got more elaborate.

A wheel...
A wheel being renovated…
Work in progress...
Work in progress. All done by hand….

Currently, ox carts are used mostly in parades and celebrations but are even still used for transportation for some local farmers.

Another stop on the way to Arenal was at a local school that Gate1 Tours has “adopted” and provides with some support. As we drove up,

Waiting for the bus...
Anxiously waiting for the bus to arrive…

all the kids were waiting for our bus. As we got off the bus,

Being escorted to class...
Being escorted to class…

a child took each of us by the hand and escorted us into their school. We sat down and watched as the children performed local dances for us.

Tiny dancer...
Tiny dancer…
Even dated with the Gate1 folks...
Even coaxed some of the Gate1 folks to dance…

They sang the Costa Rican National Anthem and

Singing for us...
Singing for us…

God Bless America for us. Then, they showed us around the school,

The computer lab...
The computer lab…

the computer lab, lunch room, and playground. It was obvious to us that they took great pride in their school. Our visit came to an end and we loaded back up in our bus and headed to our first overnight stay at the foot of the Arenal Volcano.

Arenal Volcano...
Arenal Volcano…

It’s much cooler in Arenal than San Jose and the cool air was a welcomed pleasure. We stayed in La Fortuna at a lovely hotel

Our "Hotel"...
Our “Hotel”…

with a great view of the volcano.

The volcano from our room...
The volcano from our casita…

Our first full day by the Arenal Volcano, we hopped aboard our trusty bus and headed toward the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica to the town of Cano Negro for a boat ride down the Cano Negro river. As we headed across the green country side, our tour guide, Ricardo,  said we were going to stop and see some of his “family”. We stopped and he went to the fruit stand and bought some bananas. As he came back,

Did you say bananas???...
Did you say bananas???…

several LARGE iguanas

We LIKE bananas...
We LIKE bananas…

appeared from the bushes and began clambering for the bananas.

Bananas good...
Bananas good…

A real feeding frenzy.

Just hanging out...
Just hanging out…

Back on our bus again, we made our way to the Cano Negro river. Once there, we got on the boat, said good bye to our fans on the dock,

Our fans...
Our fans…

and headed down the river. Our guide, Ricardo, was excellent at pointing out all of the various wildlife along and in the river…including a crocodile with babies, bats on a tree, lizards, turtles, monkeys and even a water cow!

Momma and the "kids"...
Momma and the “kids”…Crocodile…
Snowy Egret...
Great American Egret…
Can you spot the bats?
Can you spot the bats?
Here they are...
Here they are…Long Nose Bats…
Im flying...NOT...
I’m flying…NOT…
High up in the trees...
High up in the trees…Montezuma Oropendola…
The border...
The border…

Time to turn around…

Sitting in the shade...
Sitting in the shade… Cormorant…
Hanging around...
Hanging around…Howler Monkey…
Watching for food...
Watching for food…Boat Billed Heron…
Laying in the sun...
Laying in the sun…River Slider Turtle…
Drying the wings...
Drying the wings…
Colorful lizard...
Colorful lizard…Basalisk Lizard
More wing drying...
More wing drying…Anhinga…

Once we arrived back at the dock, we boarded our bus and headed back to our hotel, looking forward to the next adventures on this tour. Oh, here’s the picture of the water cow…

The water cow...
The water cow…

Another wonderful day came to a close.

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5 thoughts on “A Glimpse of Costa Rica…”

  1. Great pictures, Suzi and Bob, and it’s obvious that your time in Costa Rica was a terrific experience. We got used to seeing the many varieties of horse and ox carts used for day-to-day living by the people of Nicaragua but we never saw anything like the carts you pictured in Sarchi. Those are works of art! I’d be proud to display one of the wheels on a wall. Gorgeous! Anita

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