Sunday 28th January

We arrived in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, at first light (05:30a.m.) and at 7:00 a.m. we were on our way by coach to the Braulio Carrillo National Park which protects the rainforest in this region.

The whole rainforest extends across the country from the Caribbean to the Pacific. The government of Costa Rica have determined that tourism is a most important part of the economy. It is number two after services / IT and before coffee and bananas. They realise the forest is the attraction so by investing in appropriate visitor attractions in eco-friendly ways it means that at any given time smallish numbers of tourists can experience the rainforest ecosystem without turning the country into a Mediterranean-style package holiday destination.


Upon arrival at the rainforest we boarded the Pacific Aerial Tram to enjoy a gondola ride that skimmed through and into the more temperate rainforest canopy.

Rainforests extend both north and south of the Equator and within the Tropics. The closer the forest is to the Equator the more evergreen the trees are. Closer to the tropics, during the dry season, some of the trees lose their leaves. We were accompanied by a bilingual naturalist guide who talked us through the whole experience, complete with examples and appropriate documentation. We witnessed many interesting trees and shrubs, beautiful butterflies, snakes and frogs but the big beasts of the rainforest world were sheltering from the heat.


The 2 pictures above show paprika tree and seed pod.

Leafcutter ants en route to their nest.

The 2 pictures above show a cacao bean (chocolate).

After lunch in the forests restaurant we returned to the ship by crossing the Tarcoles River which is the home to a large colony of crocodiles which live among the mangroves and the tidal mud.


As it is Sunday the locals left their vehicles at the roadside and lined the road bridge to catch a view of the animals. Close by at a small settlement called Caldera was a real caldera. Here the volcanic crater, which has had its seaward side blown away in a volcanic eruption, is now flooded by the sea. This location was again full of visitors and clearly the place to go on a Sunday at the end of the long winter holiday. For many it is school and work tomorrow!

During dinner we left the dock along with the Holland-America Line ship for Guatemala. We went northwest, they went southeast. We are now surrounded by the amazing black of sea at night.

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