Samara & Arenal, 2009 - Pictures


This is our vacation-blog of our trip to Costa Rica in June & July, 2009. This trip had us based out of the house in Samara for a month, with a 5 day side trip to La Fortuna (to see the Arenal Volcano). Enjoy the pictures - we tried to select carefully from the 1000 or so that were on our cameras.

Our house looking good & the plants are growing fast since it's now the rainy season. We do want to remind everyone that this is a a 'work trip' to keep the house in order - there are a lot of minor things that need to be fixed, landscaping to be done. (We are sure everyone feels very sorry for us)

We are spent a good part of every day here, waterlogged.

And we sometimes would go to clean off that nasty clorine with some good old salt water.

The property was literally crawling with land crabs. For a few nights early in the trip they were out in force (apparently the females had eggs to bring to the ocean). We needed to scoop them from the pool every morning.

The walls & ceilings of the house had guests too. The gecko's ate the mosquitos that made it into the house. We like them, which is good because there is not much you can do about them.

We went seaching for dolphins, with everyone

And those that did not get sea-sick, stayed to catch a few fish

(this is our neighbor with his Dorado - aka MahiMahi)

We searched the tidal pools. Haley spotted this blue starfish, Cora collected many shells and Xavier pretended he was on the moon.

We kayaked out the island (nobody got really hurt this time)

& we hung out with the Iguanas (technically this is a garro, but related).

Renee got a whole 10 minutes all to herself to check out the tidal pools on the island.

It's a nice ride on the beach, soft landings!

There is a monkey that has a routine at our house. First it goes across our backyard, then it climbs the fruit trees and then it goes on the side wall and eats some of it's favorite plants.

Then we were off to the beautiful Arenal volcano (in La Fortuna), a 4 hour drive on curvy roads that made everyone feel a little carsick.

We brought our staff, Adriana & Alonso along to Arenal with us. We found a rental SUV that (barely) fit all 7 of us. Here is the entire gang.

This is Xavier looking at the huge fish in the hotel pond, not at all afraid of the giant beetle beside him (a Rhino Beetle)

The Butterfly House became a hands-on exhibit (do not do this at home).

At our hotel (Hotel Las Lagos), there were quite a few pools of various temperatures (hot springs from the volcano). This is one of prettiest (and one of the coldest). We also loved the very fast waterslides (hot and cold......not shown).

There was also a Crocodile pond at the hotel, we asked this one to smile.

One morning we woke up to horses behind our hotel room......they ate the apples (the kids kept the pringles).

We did the hanging bridges hike, and with less complaints than expected during a 2 mile hike with the kids (Xavier was Alonso's backpack for about a mile)

On our last full day near Arenal, we were lucky enough to escape the rain by finding a great Serpentarium. You can see one of the awesome frogs above and all the kids holding a variety of dangerous animals (we found out later that they don't carry any antivenom there, it's all 30 mins away at the hospital)

And on the way home, Cora begged us to buy this dress. Looking at this picture makes us feel a little guilty that we didn't - but we are still not sure where one would wear a Tico dress back home.

We had one more day with the rental SUV, so we also spent a day at Nosara. During the drive (above) we had to cut through a cattle drive on the road (not as rare as you might think). The drive was worth it - the view below is from a hotel overlooking a national park, it's fantastic (and the kids got to have ice cream which was just as impressive to them).

It's now summer break here in Costa Rica, so our kids have joined a half-day local summer camp in the nearby town of Torito. Haley and Cora have been there all week, and Xavier tried it today (pretty successfully). We hope this helps them practice their Spanish, but the counselors are mostly Americans.

This is a good time to introduce Camila, the sweet girl on the right. She is Alonso & Adriana's niece. She is also visiting for the week, and we love having her around.

Paul has been working a few days this week. Here he in on his commute to the local Internet Cafe (we have the Internet at the house, but it's not so stable (and the kids can often be a bit noisy).

If he knew the language better, he might have been able to car-pool with these folks. I understand that the road is softer down here.

Not a bad office at the Internet Cafe. $2/hour, with A/C, WiFi, garden view, steps from the beach.

We finally found the Copoz vendor. They serve you shaved ice, with condensed milk, powdered milk, all kinds of syrups + sometimes other things like marshmallows

Paul, Renee & Adriana went to a nursery to get some more plants for the house and came across another Jurassic bug - this one is well over 2 inches. Funny story: we drove a hour to get to the nursery and had to round up a guy with a truck to deliver the plants - and the same day a truck full of plants shows up to the house to see if we wanted to buy figures.

The kids finally got a night swim in on Thursday (July 10th). They have been begging for it for days.......and it finally worked into the plans (we were done dinner early enough & it was not storming). We get everyone to bed by 8 or 9PM because the sun rises at about 5:20AM here.

Oh yeah, we figured out why our papaya tree is not growing. Apparently, eating the leaves from the shoot is part of this guy's daily routine.

Most of the fruit trees on our property are not in season (or pretty young), so we visited local fruit markets to stock up regularly.

Did we mention that we are drinking fruit drinks with pretty much every meal? Our kids equate eating in Costa Rica with fruit drinks.

Most of us went for surfing lessons on Saturday (Xavier is training for next year). The waves were not too big, good for our second time (ever).

We went boating one more time - but this time nothing was caught fishing. We did see several sea turtles but are not fast enough to get pictures of them.

& then we had a goodbye dinner for Paul who had to leave to go back to the USA to work - the rest of us have one more week to go

A trip to the little local Carrillo Zoo was a big hit

A lot of hands-on activities at the Zoo (again, don't do this at home!)

Time for a bonfire. Now that we know that it's not legal to do it on the beach (oops), we cleared out a space on our own property.

We did some horseback riding right from the house to the town of Samara (more fun than a taxi). Haley's horse had a foal, which had to stop to take a drink.

We needed our own drinks, so we went to the fruit market in town to get some fresh coconut juice (in it's own all-natural container).

And there is always one more thing to be found searching the beach.

The sunsets can be amazing too, finally a picture does it justice.

And that's it, we headed back to the airport. The kids are about as spoiled as can be, so it's time to bring them home to the real world.