The Roving Richards

A family on the move

Trip to Manuel Antonio

Tuesday, June 30, 2002

Before we leave beautiful Xandari Plantation Mark wants to take the trail maintained by the hotel.  I plop Genevieve into the backpack and we head out.  We walk down and down and down which of course I should have realized would happen being as the hotel is on the top of a hill.  On the way we see a lizard, many butterflies and caterpillars (to Genevieve’s delight) and birds.  At the end of the trail there are some very pretty waterfalls, one of which we saw unintentionally because we thought it was the way back to the hotel.  And then we hike up and up and up which is not nearly as fun as the other direction.  It’s warming up and Genevieve is not only getting heavy but she is also screaming in my ear.  We stop to take a break and I realize she’s picked up a hitch-hiker!  We let her pet the caterpillar that was previously in her hair, and proceed.

At the end of the hike we are hot and cranky so we hang out in our room to cool down, then check out and head off for Quepos.  Again Mark’s GPS abilities serve us well, and we drive on the nice hilly road that will take us south of Puntarenas, almost but not quite getting taken out by a tour bus that apparently never considered the fact that there might be other cars coming around the curve in the road.

Mark is not yet adept at spotting Costa Rican restaurants (they don’t look like what you’d expect) and so we passed several and we were getting close to Carrara where I knew there would be nothing for miles and miles and miles.  Finally I insisted that he stop at the Restaurante Crocodillo, whichwas fine.  After we’d all eaten and were in better spirits, we crossed the bridge from the restaurant and looked at the crocodiles.  Yipe!   Those things are scary.  A large one swam under the bridge while we were watching and I had a very very tight grip on Genevieve.  It’s not a good idea to drop your child into crocodile-infested waters.

We made it to Cararra Biological Reserve at about 2:00, which was perfect.  Genevieve played with the ranger, who observed that she might have more fun staying with him than hiking with us (probably true).  We plopped her (complaining) in the stroller, and set out.  We were warned to wear mosquito repellant and they weren’t kidding.  Even I, who never really gets bit, was getting eaten.  On the way in, we saw leaf-cutter ants, which are very cool.  And to Genevieve’s joy, caterpillars in the dozens on every tree.  In her attempts to pet one she wound up squishing it, so after that she was supervised a lot more around the beasties!  We saw lots oflizards, and then, unbelievably, scarlet macaws! We first saw them in a tree at a large distance.  We could see the red but couldn’t tell what it was until we looked through the zoom lens of Mark’s camera.  Later we could hear them getting noisier and noisier until they flew overhead several times and landed in a tree within eyesight.  Amazing.

We got into the car just ahead of a rainstorm, not that it would have mattered if we got rained on as we were drenched with sweat already anyhow.  Mark maneuvered the car around countless potholes, and we arrived safely at the Tulemar Bungalows at around 8:00.  Fortunately their restaurant served dinner until 10:00 so there were no worries.   And off to bed.

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