Dave's home in Costa Rica:
Robin Gurule. Photo
Jan & Dave's, and
Mary Thompson, Martin Staley, Jan Studebaker, Robin Gurule, and Dave
About a month
ago, on Bill Priedhorsky's llama trip, Dave Foster and several other
trip participants discussed a trip to Costa Rica, where Dave owns a
house. A few weeks later Dave put out a call for just such a trip,
and Mary, Jan, Martin and Robin signed up. Dave was gracious enough
to let us stay in his gorgeous house overlooking Playa Carrillo, and
to use his car. Dave also used his extensive network of Costa Rican
friends, and his knowledge of the area, to arrange our outings.
Trip participants: Jan, Robin,
Dave, Mary, and Martin.
Dave's house is
in a beautiful rain forest setting, with flowers, iguanas, monkeys,
and many tropical bird species right on the 2 1/2 acre property.
Many of the bird pictures in the attached album were taken from his
Day 1 -
Monday: We all arrived safely, except for Jan's bag, which was
waylaid in Houston. Jan's bag contained a blender for Dave's house,
but it turned out to be illegal contraband! We had a tasty dinner in
a lovely outdoor restaurant near the Liberia airport, and then Alex,
a driver whom Dave had arranged, drove us to Dave's house in Playa
Day 2 -
Tuesday: We walked downtown - a couple of blocks - for breakfast
in another lovely outdoor restaurant overlooking Carrillo Bay and
the Pacific Ocean, and began settling in. With the heat, salty air,
and high humidity, electronics corrode in about 15 minutes! So, Jan
and Dave started the long, arduous task of getting things working
again. Almost nothing worked when we arrived, but by day 5 we were
down to only exterior lights and other items that were not entirely
essential. The biggest issue was Dave's Toyota 4Runner. After long
trouble-shooting sessions, it was determined that the vehicle's
alarm system had been armed - thus draining the battery - for
several months while the car sat idle. Now, it is running.
Martin said I
should mention the lovely restaurant located directly on the
(adjacent) Samara beach waterfront with the natural tree posts and
the extremely cute waitress!
evening we had a HUGE electrical storm. Outlets were popping, and
sparks flying out, several times! Amazingly, the power never went
out. Tons of rain poured from the sky.
Danilo, the best
fisherman in the area, is unimpressed by Jan's biggest catch ever.
Our five catches tasted wonderful, and provided ample meat for all
of us for days.
Day 3 -
Wednesday: Dave arranged for a local fisherman, Danilo, to take
us fishing. We caught mackerel, skipjack tuna, and a needlefish,
which was plenty for us to eat. While some of us were "reeling in"
fish, the choppy seas and tiny boat set others "reeling" in a
We also saw sea
turtles off Playa Camoronal, where they were waiting to go in to lay
eggs; and one porpoise.
approximately 10,000 phone calls, Jan's bag finally arrived. In the
afternoon, we drove into Playa Samara to pick it up. The nefarious
blender, as well as an evil mattress pad, had been confiscated by
In the evening we
made ceviche, sushi and grilled fish for dinner.
Day 4 -
Thursday: We went to Palo Verde National Wildlife Refuge and
took a two-hour boat trip up the river to see wildlife. Highlights
included scads of wading birds including roseate spoonbills;
crocodiles, long-nosed bats, howler monkeys, iguanas, and basilisk
lizards. On the way home we shopped in Nicoya for a barbecue grill
because - guess what?! - the one Dave had was corroded. We visited a
dozen or more stores before we could find one. Then we used it to
grill more fish, and Costa Rican veggies, for Thanksgiving dinner!
Day 5 -
Friday: On this day, Mary's birthday, we waited for various
repairmen to fix the washing machine and dryer, and to remove roots
from the sewer pipes. In the afternoon we went swimming and for a
long walk on the beach. Then we treated our birthday girl to a fancy
dinner at a grill located in the sand along the Samara beach
waterfront.....with another extremely cute waitress!
Day 6 -
Saturday: We drove, through a heavy rainstorm, to the Arenal
region. At one stream crossing, a flash flood was just hitting as we
drove by. Bad news: it was too socked-in to see the active Arenal
Volcano. Good news: we were able to spend the evening soaking in the
hotel's relaxing hot springs!
Day 7 -
Sunday: Still in Arenal, we went on a class 2-3 river trip on
the Rio Balsa. Their "class 3's" proved to be much more intense than
ours are! We had wonderful guides and a great trip, which included
snacks and a lunch. The weather cleared a bit, so it was a lovely
were frequent on our Rio Balsa
(class 2-3 ??)
Note that our expert guide and navigator is more concerned than
The rest of us are certain that we will soon meet our maker!
paying a visit to some upscale local hot springs, but decided they
were too pricey for our budgets. Besides, we'd been wet all day on
the river rafts! As alleged "mountaineers" we also discussed a
clandestine hike to the (off-limits) crater rim of the volcano, but
decided against it after considering the risks associated with
deadly chemical vapors,
pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, and red-hot
Day 8 -
Monday: This was our last day in Arenal. Rain fell all night,
and the volcano was still socked in. Indeed, we saw only the base of
the volcano during the entire trip! Most of us did a "zipline" on
this day, followed by a massage and more soaking in the hot springs.
Mary has found
true meaning in her life in the form of ziplines. See the addendum
on ziplines at the end of this report.
Mary in ecstasy
above the canopy; she is now on a zipline Vision Quest.
Day 9 -
Tuesday: In the morning we went for a lovely hike to a mango
grove, and then continued to a secluded beach. Dave had ordered us
fresh lobster from a local fisherman; we picked those up later, and
ate them for dinner. Martin made us baked winter squash, some of
which he made into two delicious pumpkin pies.
On to Part 2