Costa Rica adventures

I wanted to start this post by saying that it’s been a while since I’ve been someplace exotic, but then I remembered that in July we went to Alaska even though it was for only a couple of days.  Working for an airline makes it easier to visit places near and far.

So last week we went to Costa Rica for the entire week.  I’ve never been that far south.  Before we left I looked up the weather and it showed clouds and thunderstorms all week.  I was worried.  Packed rain jackets.  Wasn’t sure what to expect.  But my worries were not worth it.  Yes it did sprinkle, here and there, and we got rained on once (so much for packing rain jackets), but it was far away from what I was imagining: a Seattle-like, non-stop type of rain.

We stayed at a guesthouse type of accommodation called Mango Boulevard, similar to AirBnB that I picked from Booking.com  It was great!  With traditional Costa Rican breakfast of rice & beans, scrambled eggs, fried plantains and cheese.  It was walking distance to food, shopping and a movie theater (We saw Thor on cheap night, Wednesdays as we learned is 2 for 1 night, so it cost $11 for the four of us).  We used Uber and taxi a couple of times for further in town attractions.  We had two rooms with a shared bathroom and mainly the second floor was ours.  We hired one of the guys that worked there twice for a tour and transportation to La Paz Waterfall Gardens and to Manuel Antonio National Park.  It was more than if we rented a car ourselves, but well worth to have everything taken care of.

What we visited:

Museo de los niños – Children’s Museum

Museo de los niños, San Jose, Costa Rica

If you are traveling with kids this is a must.  It’s by far the biggest children museum I’ve been to.  The kids’s favorite part was a tilted miniature house, where it was all about gravity and illusions.  Magic like!  You roll a ball and it goes up because of all the different tilts between floor/table and other objects, so the gravity created an illusion.

Museo de los niños, San Jose, Costa Rica

And then also a front of a house that was build on the ground (as in the front of the house was the floor) while an angled mirror wall created an illusion that you are walking on the side walls (like Spiderman)

Museo de los niños, San Jose, Costa Rica

Museo de los niños, San Jose, Costa Rica

There were all kinds of other attractions, from planetary science, dinosaurs, excavation projects, food an nutrition, shopping….I mean we spent most of the day at this place and the kids were happy (except for the part where we attempted to find this place by foot and after 1.5hr of walking we got a taxi).

Waterfall Gardens

This little paradise is about 1.5hr outside of San Jose.  It’s a beautiful nature park and sanctuary for animals that for various reasons cannot survive in the wild on their own.  My husband was familiar with the trail from the exercise machines at the gym, hahaha.  Here we saw toucans, monkeys, a jaguar, exotic frogs, snakes, spiders, a butterfly sanctuary, beautiful greenery, orchids and a few waterfalls.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Ox and cart: once the only mean of transportation.  The carts are painted by hand with intricate and very distinct designs that make them a national symbol.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Pupas, soon to be butterflies.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Emerging to life.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Spiderman like frog.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
This frog was amazing and very difficult to spot.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
La Paz waterfall.

Manuel Antonio National Park

This is where I first saw a monkey and a sloth in the wild.  The sloths were hard to spot, but the monkeys were EVERYWHERE.  The park is about 3 hr drive from San Jose.  On our way there we also spotted a river of crocodiles (also my first time seeing crocodiles in the wild)

Crocodiles in Costa Rica

Crocodiles in Costa Rica

When we arrived at Manuel Antonio National Park our bags got searched for any food that is not fruit or a personal sandwich.  No other food was allowed (like chips and crackers etc.).  This is to prevent people from feeding the animals.  But….people sneak in food anyways, I saw a guy with a plate of fries.  The animals know about this.  They demand human food.  A raccoon tried to steal a bag ha ha ha.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

I suppose if you are used to see monkeys all around you all the time they’d be a nuisance.  You know in a way pigeons are nuisance.  But it was quite interesting to watch them come around, try to get you to give them food, bring friends, climb high up, come back down, eat a banana peel they got out of tourist.  If I wasn’t interested in their shenanigans or try to make sure the kids down drown, I may have enjoyed laying on the beach.

 

Museums

The kids were a bit bored on the day that we visited The Jade Museum, The National Museum and The Museum of the Central Bank.  They are all next to each other and you can get a pass for all three.  Luckily there is a big Artisan Market right next to the Jade Museum where the kids got some shopping for souvenirs.

They museum of Jade and the Central Bank have archeological artifacts, jade figurines, gold coins, jewelry, pottery etc.  The National Museum is housed in an old military fort and barracks and it has artifacts from pre-Colombian time, also some weapons and cannons, some pottery as well as more contemporary set ups like a room where my kids saw a rotary phone for the first time.  I guess it’s not that contemporary as we had to show them how to use a rotary phone.Jade Museum, Costa Rica

Jade Museum, Costa Rica

Jade Museum, Costa Rica

National Museum, Costa Rica

National Museum, Costa Rica
The outside walls of the National Museum still have bullet holes from the country’s Civil War around 1948.

National Museum, Costa Rica

Museum of Central Bank, Costa Rica

Mask, Costa Rica

Street Art

We saw an entire pedestrian walkway where the walls on each side were painted by artists.  This was in close proximity of the Jade Museum and the National Museum.

Street Art, Costa Rica

Street Art, Costa Rica

Street Art, Costa Rica

Street Art, Costa Rica

Street Art, Costa Rica

Street Art, Costa Rica

We also stumbled upon the Museum of Contemporary Art by chance.  We were looking for the Children’s museum.  This was a cool treat.  Apart from being free and seeing art from contemporary artists, the building used to be the old airport.  Sooo cool!!

San Jose, CR old international airport

The week came to a close very quickly (well it was 6 days including travel days).  I would have like to see one of the volcanoes, but there is only so much time and money and traveling with kids who despite the many adventures they have been on, often complain about how they are bored (in nature) or their legs hurt (from walking).

National Stadium, San Jose, Costa Rica

When it comes to walking, I miss living in a city where you can walk or use public transport with ease.  Where little mom and pup shops are just across the street and you know the owners.  Where the playground is behind your house.  Where you are a regular at the local restaurant because it’s not a chain and your other neighbor is the cook.  For me being in an environment like that makes people experience human connection just by being there, passing by another human being, waiting for the bus together, sharing the sidewalk on the way to work.  All of that is enough to feel a connection to another human without ever speaking a word.   I miss that a lot.

San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica

Cheers till the next adventure!!

xoxo

Vesna

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Costa Rica adventures

  1. Your photos are great and it sounds like you had an amazing time exploring Costa Rica. I would love to see all of those exotic plants and wildlife. I smiled at the rotary phone bit. Isn’t it a bit staggering to realise objects from our own lifespans are now in museums? Have we become vintage?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s