Costa Rica

We had a brief stop in lovely Costa Rica as a port of call on a cruise through the Panama Canal (Miami – Los Angeles). What to do with limited time at Puntarenas? We booked a day trip with Odyssey Tours since we had learned beforehand that Puntarenas itself is nothing exceptional. Our day trip included zipping through Puntarenas itself, trying to spot white faced capuchin monkeys in their natural habitat (a hit or miss event), watching the crocodile man feeding at the Tarcoles River (one of the most populated crocodile rivers in the world, with approximately 25 crocodiles per square mile), stopping for a traditional Costa Rican lunch (red beans, rice, fried plantains, seafood and tamarind juice). Next on the agenda was enjoying Villa Lapas, an eco-resort built in the rain forest with a replica of an old colonial village of Santa Lucia (complete with little white church, and a local “cantina” where fresh fruit could be sampled). An afternoon rain storm cut our tour short, and we opted out of the Punta Leona beach excursion. Back in Puntarenas, we strolled past handicrafts for sale and enjoyed some time at the black sand beach before reboarding the Norwegian Pearl for some cocktails overlooking a spectacular sunset. We will be back to spend extensive time in Costa Rica, as we both thoroughly enjoyed our short time here.

Our first view of Costa Rica, the sleepy port town of Puntarenas. We were told to book a day trip here as Puntarenas itself has little to offer Canon monument; Puntarenas Becky strikes a pose next to two colorful bed spreads (starting price was $400 which quickly dropped when we weren't interested); Puntarenas Robby and the cow horns; Puntarenas souvenir alley Amazing detail of frogs painted on a bird feather; Puntarenas Souvenir alley Colorful Costa Rican souvenirs for sale; Puntarenas Becky strikes a pose next to a massive fossilized shark's tooth; Puntarenas Robby and the rasta hat; Puntarenas Colorful and intricate headbands for sale; Puntarenas Its still too early for the beachgoers who will flock to the Puntarenas black sand beach in a few more hours Robby chilling on Puntarenas Beach A rickety life guard shack; Puntarenas Beach It's a Norwegian cruise day (Norwegian Pearl on the left and Norwegian Sun on the right); Puntarenas Port Costa Rica license plate Coconut trees line the beach front in Puntarenas Workers strap themselves to a platform by the pier in Puntarenas Typical house in Puntarenas A man with his sewing machine is open for business; Puntarenas Petty theft and crime is a major problem in Costa Rica (according to our guide Juan), and we found that almost every single house in Puntarenas had iron bars sealing the doors and windows A colorful wooden shack in Puntarenas Exterior of Puntarenas' History Museum An interesting bus on the streets of Puntarenas A fleeting view of a white faced capuchin monkey This white faced capuchin monkey kept its distance from us so it was impossible to get a close up shot of it A typical Costa Rican cottage Our guide told us that this cow is playing Russian roulette with its life as the large crocodiles that inhabit the Tarcoles River have been known to attack prey from the shoreline A view of one of the boats that ply the Tarcoles River in search of crocodiles, birds, and other wildlife A large green iguana approaches the Tarcoles River Our first glimpse of a crocodile in the Tarcoles River, one of the most densely populated crocodile habitats in the world Crocodile man briefly losing his balance as a 2 year old juvenile female crocodile approaches him We watched in amazement as our boat captain fearlessly faced a wild river crocodile to feed it chunks of chicken Another view of the crocodile leaping out of the water to grab a morsel of chicken; Tarcoles River A final shot of crocodile man tempting fate while feeding a juvenile crocodile in the Tarcoles River Fishermen compete with crocodiles for the Tarcoles river's fish supply Mangrove forest in Tarcoles River We climbed a steep hill to reach this lookout point over the coast of Costa Rica Becky at the look out point View of "monstera obliqua" or "swiss cheese vine" which has natural holes in the leaves to allow sunlight to reach the bottom layers of this tree climbing plant Beautiful foliage at Villa Lapas Entrance to the replica colonial village of Santa Lucia, which can be visited from the eco-lodge of Villa Lapas Water fountain; colonial village of Santa Lucia An iguana poses for its portrait Cow hides and a rustic look inside a cantina in the replica colonial village of Santa Lucia Wall decor inside the cantina; Villa Lapas White church in the colonial replica village of Santa Lucia; Villa Lapas Interior view of the church; Villa Lapas A scarlet macaw "Ceviche de Mango" looked quite delicious at this road side stand Fresh fruits and snacks for sale (with free samples) by the roadside Colorful cart by the roadside Pura Vida (Pure Life); Costa Rica's famous expression on a hand bag for sale; Puntarenas Leather sandals for sale; Puntarenas Various face masks for sale; Puntarenas souvenir alley Two young girls work together to spread a tarp on the beach; Puntarenas Robby enjoying a Pilsen Frost on Puntarenas Beach before we reboard our cruise A crocodile sand sculpture; Puntarenas As dusk approaches, the Puntarenas black sand beach becomes deserted View of Costa Rica as seen from Puntarenas Chilling by the pool with some cocktails; Norwegian Pearl Sunset overlooking the bow of Norwegian Sun; Puntarenas foto gallery lightboxby v6.1

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