Archive for the ‘Costa Rica’ Category

Hot Off the Press from Costa Rica

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

From my friends Jeanne & Paul:

Male Howler Monkey

This photo was taken from their lovely “tree house”, close to Paradiso, and our favorite place, Junquillal, Costa Rica (they rent it out, check out their website).

~ Blonde Gator

[Edit:  Just received a comment from Paul….they have a BOGO special for the “Rainy Season”….which I actually prefer.  It’s beautiful in Guanacaste this time of year…if you’re thinking of Costa Rica, now is a great time!  Check out the comments.]

On The Way to the Monkey Trail

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

The Royal Poincianas are blooming in South Florida….which reminds me of this scene, from late May of last year in Guanacaste, Costsa Rica.  We were on our way to the “monkey trail”….a mountain road atop of which was a Zip Line attraction. 

Just Another Country Road

~ Blonde Gator

I am Missing Costa Rica, and Road Tripping

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

This coming Thursday will mark the anniversary of our departure on the grand adventure.  We drove up to Port Salerno the other day, to visit the Iguana Man’s brother and sister-in-law, and realized it was the first time since we’ve returned that we headed north on I-95.  We had a lovely lunch, and I was shocked at how much the Stuart area has grown, of course it’s been years and years, BUT!

My friend Paul, who has a beautiful second home in Pariso (little town right next to the Iguana Azul), sent me an e-mail with two articles about the rain forest creatures in Costa Rica, here, and here.  The articles included one of our favorite avian creatures, the Motmot, as well as several creatures we routinely saw in Guanacaste.  Here’s a preview from the linked article:


Oh how I wish were in the midst of “The List” again, with such grand discoveries in front of us.  Just yesterday I changed my computer wallpaper from the baby iguana to the beautiful Oaxacan valley.  But, it’s always fun thinking of the great places we’ve been, and the fabulous people we met.  They’re with us always.

~ Blonde Gator

Tourism is Alive and Well (and Safe) in Costa Rica

Friday, February 18th, 2011

I received the following (and had to share) from my Junquilal acquaintances, Jeanne & Paul today:

Costa Rica’s Liberia Airport Breaks January Record For Tourist Arrival

The Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR), located in Guanacaste, recorded the highest number of tourists in its history during the month of January this year.

Data from the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería  (Costa Rica’s immigration service) reports that in the first month of 2011 there were 31,637 foreign visitors, this represents a 28.2% increase over the same period of 2010 when there were 24,677 foreign visitors.

The spike in visitors this January broke the previous record from March 2008 of 29,206 arrivals. Most of these visitors were from the United States(17,278), followed by Canada (11,013) and England (1211).

The number of commercial flights has also increased this year in Liberia.

Data from the Civil Aviation Technical Council (CETAC) confirms that in January there were 42 flights a week, 6 more than in 2010 representing a growth of 14 percent. February is similar with 53 flights a week, 13 more than the same period last year, meaning 25 percent more.

The Ministro de Turismo (Tourism minister), Carlos Ricardo Benavides, welcomed the news and added that “This is the result of a good strategy to attract international airlines to the Daniel Oduber International airport and first class hotels and unique boutique hotels that the area of Guanacaste offers.”

During 2010, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rica Tourism Board  – announced new direct flights to Liberia, a product of alliances with international airlines and wholesalers, including: TUI (from Düsseldorf, Germany), Apple Vacations (Chicago), First Choice ( London), Air Canada (Montreal) and Taca (El Salvador).

“This movement at the second most important airport in the country encourages us to think that 2011 is shaping up to be a good year for tourism,” said Minister Benavides.

Previously known as Tomás Guardia Airport, the now Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Guanacaste began operations in 1995 . The first commercial flight from abroad was from Delta Airlines in January 2002, and then it was followed by American Airlines and Continental Airlines, among others.

The Liberia Airport is the best gateway to the Guanacaste Peninsula, where we spent such a lovely summer.  As much as I adore Mexico, for now, my preferred vacation spot must remain in the most lovely and picturesque Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

~ Blonde Gator

More Cool Stuff

Friday, February 18th, 2011

After yesterday’s killer French Onion Soup, I realized my blog has become too much food, not enough “stuff”.  So….

This is from our second trip to Costa Rica (and yes, major whining was involved):

Costa Rican Boruca Mask

I fell in love with this mask, it represents so many of the native flora and fauna of Costa Rica.  Jaguar, Monkey, Toucan, Snake, a Motmot (we loved these birds), and of course, the Shaman.  These masks are produced by the Boruca tribe, who live in southwest Costa Rica. 

The jaunty feather behind the jaguar’s right ear was given to me by my beloved neighbor, Dominic, it is a tail feather of the most lovely and amusing bird, a Squirrel Cuckoo (see prior posts).

The mask is about 16″ tall, and 6″ wide.  It is one of my treasures.  Here is a pretty cool YouTube video about Boruca masks.

Although it is an absolutely beautiful, perfect day here in lovely South Florida, I am missing Latin America.  Alot.  Must make plans to return, soon.

~ Blonde Gator

Alas…Packing Day is Here

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

We pull up stakes tomorrow and head north.    The XTerra is all clean, as are most of the clothes (hoping for a sunny day today as I’ve become a big fan of line drying….particularly for sheets…yet something else to do when I get home, but I digress). 

It’s going to be a shocker to get back on the road again, although road tripping is alot of fun.  I’m going to Dominic and Maria the most, and of course we’ll miss the rent-a-dog, who arrived at 6:00 a.m. this morning, and Igs (the young male iguana) who keeps us  constantly amused.  We’ve settled into a very cozy existence here in Costa Rica, I’m wishing we could stay forever, but as Blonde Mom says “tomorrow’s another day, Scarlette”. 

We’ve revised our packing methodology for the trip back.  (Note to self, next time, bring fewer clothes).  We’ve divested ourselves of some “stuff” (printer, DVD player, beach chairs), which should help….and didn’t really collect too much replacement “stuff”, although I am bringing home my bottle of Costa Rican honey.  We’re once again going to have the “go rats” box, w/the electric kettle and french press, fig newtons and other munchies.   I’m reserving judgement on the “new packing” until we’re actually done with it, though.

I’ve (kind of) learned how to use the video camera, although with the HD format, it will require some software and some time at home before I can post them here in a usable format.  I have enough video of the iguanas for a short which I shall title “Leapin’ Lizards”.   The camera takes stills as well, but I’m just not as good at it with the HD as I was with my camera (which we will replace in Houston when we get there)….so bear w/me on the photo stuff. 

Pura Vida.

~ Blonde Gator

Blonde Mom Is Here!

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Mom arrived today with her bells on….as I knew she would.  No problems at the airport, she was walked right through, given priority seating on the plane, and was out of the immigration/customs checkpoints in less than five minutes.

We took her to Outback Jack’s (Jack is our Aussie neighbor) for lunch and a much needed rum obscura con Coka Lite in Brasalito…just up the pike.  It was monsooning this afternoon, to the point that the beach (about 50′ away) was barely visible!

Iguana Man lost his butt playing backgammon w/our other neighbor tonight (to the tune of about $.15)….but the deal is the winnings (rounded up to the nearest thousand colones, which is about the equivalent of $2 US) must be given to some down-on-his/her-luck soul in the future, a pay it forward kind of thing that Dominic has come up with….and a wonderful idea it is!

So, life is good…and one hundred percent in the right shape for me, as I’ve missed my Mom horribly.  Shopping commences tomorrow (I’ve stayed away from the  jewelry store that I scoped out, but now that I have my partner in crime, LOOK OUT!).

~ Blonde Gator

Mi Casa es Su Casa

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

The view of the front of the house is mostly obscured by a mondo mango tree…but it’s basically a big old two story block.  The view from the back is much better.  Iguana Man has set up shop on the patio above the kitchen turret….there is a hot tub up there that doesn’t work…apparently it leaks into the kitchen, major design flaw. 

The entire top floor is the large master suite, including a nice little office area.  The master bath was originally designed to be open air…but has since been bricked in as the critters found the space to be much too pleasant!  As I am writing this post, I just noticed an iguana chomping the flowers, and I video’d her…(if I can ever get the stupid videos to upload I’ll show you)….she walked around the pool eating this and that, until she saw me, then made a beeline for corner of the house and started climbing….I can hear them on the roof all the time, and one was sunning on the office windowsill yesterday.  So I can imagine what the master bath used to look like…full of lizards!!!

Anyone for a Dip?

As you can see, we have the deck all rigged out…nice chair, eh?  Also, the Oaxacan hammoca, a big fat fan, and pool noodles.  The water exercise classes are soon to commence.  The neighbor’s gardener is in the background.  I was not a fan of the minimalist landscaping…until I realized there are no leaves in the pool…and as there is no daily pool man, that’s a good thing, Martha!

Prepared for Serious Slugging

I brought a few key kitchen items: electric kettle, french press, Cuisinart, monster chef’s knife, omelet pan and roasting pan (we ordered a 6 kilo pork butt from the butcher shop yesterday…it will be delivered next Friday…enchiladas on the way!).  We purchased a couple of things when we got here, a set of dishes, some flatware, etc.  But the kitchen is now pretty well tricked out.  The big bottle on the dining room table is Costa Rican honey….it is delicious!  Did I mention I am now a huge fan of concrete countertops? 

The Kitchen Turret

Living Room

Ready for Blonde Mom

Another small bedroom/bath and the large laundry room/third bath comprise the first floor.  As I said, the master suite takes up the entire second floor, and it is enormous.  The king sized bed (and the 630 count egyptian cotton sheets which miraculously arrived from Houston last week) are nirvana!  I travel with two of my favorite down pillows, much to Iguana Man’s chagrin when packing the car.  Some things I can’t live without.

Master Suite

To the Iguana Man's Lair

Yet another travelling tip….bring laptop locks, which we now fasten to the staircase.  These were invaluable for our peace of mind when travelling while going out to dinner, sight seeing, etc.   Don’t get me wrong, there’s no crime wave or anything, but everywhere there are tourists there are tourist predators, and it pays to be prepared.

So….that is a tour of the Casa Grande.  It is currently for sale, hence the very spartan furnishings (most of which belong to Dominic).  However, it is for rent, and if you are interested, you can contact Dominic D’Arcy at his website…Go For It Services.  If there’s anything you need in the Guanacaste area of Costa Rica, Dominic is THE go-to man.

Yet Another Visitor

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

This one, however, arrived at breakfast time….alighting on the top of the French Press….before flying to the cabinet.

Praying Mantis

Did I mention I got dive bombed by the greeter frog the other night?  He landed on my shoulder and nearly scared me out of my wits. 

We also have little lizards that run around the house, with a (fairly loud) call that kind of goes “eeee, eee, eee, eee, eEEEE”.   They are very territorial, and fight each other for the best lighted territory on the patio…excellent light equals excellent bug slurping probabilities on the wall, you see.  

Life in the tropics is a never ending source of entertainment. 

~ Blonde Gator

Our First New Visitor has Arrived!

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

We moved to the big house yesterday, and got more or less settled in.  Then, we drove into Libera, had dinner, and went to La Rey, a sort of Costa Rican K-Mart, to pick up some odds and ends for the house….a set of dishes, a mixing bowl, WD-40 (NOTE:  next time put that on the Car-Box list), and 4 knives.  We got the correct information, the prices were quite reasonable…and now we are all set.

Then we headed back to Liberia International Airport…to pick up my friend, whom some of you NB’ers certainly know.  He arrived on Continental Airlines, on-time, and was through Customs & Immigrations in about ten minutes.  Liberia is a small airport, they don’t even have gates, per se, rather they roll the stairs up to the aircraft.  Blonde Mom arrives a week from tomorrow, so I am totally confident that she will be whisked through to us in about 2 minutes flat (Costa Rica conveniently mandates all seniors automatically move to the front of the line, plus I’ve requested assistance for Blonde Mom).

We got back to the house, and as I was showing my guest around…specifically, in the big downstairs bath….he was greeted by another visitor….a fat little two-toned green frog.   As Iguana Man was trying to capture said beastie and return him to his pals outside…the frog jumped (and stuck) on the wall, on Iguana Man, on the wall, on the Iguana Man again.   His description of the frog capture ballet was “I just got leg-humped by a frog”…the frog stuck to everything it’s suckered little toes glommed on to.

We proceeded to adjourn to the patio for some cervesas to wash away the dust of the trail….where the bathroom frog’s compatriots were out in full force…they are incredibly loud….we almost had to shout to be heard over them when two or more started calling at the same time.   Iguana Man finally became annoyed and frog-marched (actually with his foot) one of the beasties into the pool.  That quietened him momentarily.

We think he crawled out of the pool and right back at us…and here is is:

The Welcoming Committee

This morning…one of the beasties toe-humped my guest (crawled into his beach sandals)…quick lesson learned about shaking out one’s shoes before sticking one’s feet in them….our pal Justin got a nasty scorpion sting that way just last week.

Anyhoo, life is grand…shall take some pictures of the casa later.

~ Blonde Gator