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Old 03-28-2013, 07:11 PM   #76
Gonecruisin
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Ok Where was I?

Getting on the boat. Here is Fico explaining things to us on the boat as we head to Laguna Lodge. Fico knows everything about Costa Rica so ask him lots of questions. There wasn't an animal that he didn't know extensively.



Note that this is NOT the boat we took on our tour - just to the lodge. Our tour boat didn't have a roof. This figures prominently later.
Up ahead is the lodge. See it off to the left?



That's the dining areas. All open air and really set the mood for a rainforest adventure. We all gathered for proper introductions and Breakfast #2



Then we went in search of animals.



See how these boats do not have roofs? That's good for spotting birds and sloths in the trees but bad for sunburns and over heating. It was hot at Tortuguero - hot and tropical and humid and hot. It was better in the shade but just a few minutes in the sun and you were hot again. Reapply the sunscreen and dress cool.

How many animals did we see? This many ...

Tiger throated heron


Iguanas


Basilisks


It really was lush & beautiful and fun to be on the lookout for animals.


Animals like -
Spider Monkeys


Sloth


Cayman


Black Turtle


Cow

It can be easy to forget that people actually live and work here.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:47 PM   #77
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Wow! The animal sightings are exciting! The only time I saw a sloth was in a zoo! It would be great to spot one in the wild.

You mentioned earlier that your bags have to be out by 5:30. What time did you actually leave San Juan? After breakfast at the Laguna Lodge, did you leave right away or did they show you your rooms for the night?

Also, you took lots of close up photos of the animals. Were you that close or did you have a zoom lens with you?

Sorry for all the questions!
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:57 PM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonecruisin View Post
Ok Where was I?

Getting on the boat. Here is Fico explaining things to us on the boat as we head to Laguna Lodge. Fico knows everything about Costa Rica so ask him lots of questions. There wasn't an animal that he didn't know extensively.

Note that this is NOT the boat we took on our tour - just to the lodge. Our tour boat didn't have a roof. This figures prominently later.
Up ahead is the lodge. See it off to the left?

That's the dining areas. All open air and really set the mood for a rainforest adventure. We all gathered for proper introductions and Breakfast #2

Then we went in search of animals.

See how these boats do not have roofs? That's good for spotting birds and sloths in the trees but bad for sunburns and over heating. It was hot at Tortuguero - hot and tropical and humid and hot. It was better in the shade but just a few minutes in the sun and you were hot again. Reapply the sunscreen and dress cool.

How many animals did we see? This many ...

Tiger throated heron

Iguanas

Basilisks

It really was lush & beautiful and fun to be on the lookout for animals.

Animals like -
Spider Monkeys

Sloth

Cayman

Black Turtle

Cow

It can be easy to forget that people actually live and work here.
You're photos are great!! We didn't get to see any spider monkeys, so sad. Maybe next time.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:04 PM   #79
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Wow! First day, and you've already spotted a ton of wildlife! Cool! Your pictures are fabulous!

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Old 03-29-2013, 05:43 AM   #80
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Great shots!!
Fico looks so much more grown up with his beard!!
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Old 03-29-2013, 05:45 AM   #81
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I know you will be getting to this....but we are leaving tomorrow

I really want to do the zip lining, but my daughter is nervous. Do they allow tandem rides, such as, I would be in front and my daughter would be behind me with her legs wrapped around me.
I also had the same question as tufbuf, do you have time between the meet and greet breakfast and the boat ride, to go back to your room and apply sunscreen again and get a hat etc?
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:08 AM   #82
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@tufbuf - We left San Jose by approx 6 am. It was a very early start. At Laguna Lodge, we ate 2nd Breakfast and got back into the boats and were gone looking at animals for several hours. No going to rooms or even seeing your bags so bring hats etc with you.
The animals were in trees etc, so no, they weren't "close". They are wild animals so you don't want to be close I bought a new smaller camera for the trip and it had a great built in zoom. I'm pleased at how well it did but it was really hard to get good shots because the animals and boat kept moving so I ended up with a lot of bad or missed shots too.

@dizneekrazee - we saw spider monkeys, howler monkeys and white faced monkeys - all 3 kinds that live in the area! I'll probably post pics of all of them eventually.

@sayhello - Thx! We had the most amazing luck when it came to animal sightings.

@familygoboston -

@emesmom - I'm so sorry this is taking so long. I came back from vacation and have had almost zero free time. Zipline = Age limit of 8+ is strictly enforced. One little girl on our trip was two months shy of her 8th birthday and they wouldn't let her go. Many - and I do mean many - of the younger light weight boys rode tandem but with a zipline employee/guide. You would not be allowed to be her guide.
How it works is like this - there's a 20 min ride to the top via a gondola of sorts which is mellow and scenic. At the top, there are two very short baby trial lines so people can get the hang of it and opt out if they're still nervous. If they decide it's not for them they can take the gondola back down. The third one though is the point of no return - the only way down is down.
So Fico, the little girl and a mom who changed her mind all rode down in the gondola and went on a nature walk until the group was done. You have plenty of time to make this decision because there were 33 of us and you can only zip line one at a time so it takes a while. But it was very fun and I highly recommend everyone at least try the baby lines - if the height or whatever is still too scary then well at least you made the attempt.
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:03 PM   #83
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This sounds so confusing but after the boat tour, we went back to the Lodge and had refreshing coconut drinks - yum



Then got back on the boats again to go to the Sea Turtle Conservatory. Some families opted to skip this because it was very hot and people were getting tired and the pools looked very inviting! So they stayed at the Lodge to rest and swim.



In retrospect, this might have been a wise decision because the conservatory was a bit of a let down. It consisted of a video of the history of sea turtle rescue efforts in a hot hut and then a very small and hot display/gift shop hut. People were literally melting. If you've ever seen a Nat'l Geographic show on sea turtles then you've seen all of this before and might wish you were swimming at the Lodge instead.

From here we walked along the beach to Tortuguero village.



It was small and hot, just one main road with a few gift shop type of places. We looked around and bought a few trinkets.



But most people were just anxious to get back to the Lodge and so that's what we did. Our cabins ... were open air, no a/c, just a fan, no glass in the windows, only screens. It was very rustic but very charming and the combination of a late night swim and the fans kept me cool all night long. Not the luxury of the Marriott but definitely a real world Costa Rican rainforest experience. It was lovely.





We relaxed, read, swam and chatted with our fellow adventurers and even some of the people from other tours. Me and La Chica explored a little bit - there was another really nice pool (the Family Pool) that was not in use for some reason. We weren't bothered by this but the people from the other tours who were expecting an Adults Only pool made some comments about "our" boys being in "their" pool. I don't think anyone was really upset though and got along just fine.
We discovered a Botanical Walk that was longer than we thought but interesting even though it could've used more signage since we had no idea what we were looking at.

After showering, we made our way to dinner along candle lit paths that really set the mood for a meal in the rainforest. This was our Welcome dinner but we felt like we already had met each other by now so it was relaxed and comfortable.



A Flashlight is handy to have (La Chica brought one ) but you'll be fine without one too. After dinner we went for another swim and read on our porch. It was tranquil and homey. We had to be up early again tomorrow to leave for Arenal so we scheduled a "Wake Up Knock" for 6 am but were warned that the planes would probably wake us up before that. But it wasn't the planes that woke me up, it was the rain! About 5:30 am it poured buckets! And then the planes came right over head. lol We never did get that Wake Up Knock but we didnt need it either so no big deal.

That seems like a lot for one day, doesn't it? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet

Last edited by Gonecruisin; 03-29-2013 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:30 PM   #84
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Wink

That seems like a lot for one day, doesn't it? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet [/QUOTE]


It's an ABD, itineraries designed for hyperactive 9 yr old boys, everyone else...keep up, now!
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:43 PM   #85
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Good Gravy! I can't believe that's only one day!!!

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Old 03-29-2013, 07:17 PM   #86
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Thank you again! I read your post to my daughter, she is almost 12, and it made her feel better about trying the zip lining...yeah. I really would hate for us to miss that experience, but she will be the ultimate decision maker
Early start tomorrow, so I need to wrap everything up and get to bed......then off on our Adventure!!!
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:36 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by emesmom View Post
Thank you again! I read your post to my daughter, she is almost 12, and it made her feel better about trying the zip lining...yeah. I really would hate for us to miss that experience, but she will be the ultimate decision maker
Early start tomorrow, so I need to wrap everything up and get to bed......then off on our Adventure!!!
Have a fabulous trip, emesmom! I'm looking forward to hearing all about it!

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My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
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NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:36 AM   #88
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Thanks goincruisin for the info on the zip line age requirements. My daughter will be 8 in two months...same scenerio you described. We came down a day early and booked an adventure zip lining tour, at the Marriott tour office, for today. My daughter can participate and she is thrilled.

The hotel is very nice and the weather is gorgeous but breezy yesterday and today.

Thanks again for the trip reports.
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:01 AM   #89
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Thanks goincruisin for the info on the zip line age requirements. My daughter will be 8 in two months...same scenerio you described. We came down a day early and booked an adventure zip lining tour, at the Marriott tour office, for today. My daughter can participate and she is thrilled.

The hotel is very nice and the weather is gorgeous but breezy yesterday and today.

Thanks again for the trip reports.
Have a fabulous trip, soldierbot!

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My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
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NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
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Old 03-30-2013, 02:22 PM   #90
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Oh wow This is so exciting! Everyone's off on their adventure! Have fun emesmom & soldierbot! Sounds like you're having the same weather we did in San Jose. Enjoy that breeze while you can Arriving a day early was worth it from my POV if even because the Marriott was so nice and getting to spend more time there was lovely.

Day Three

Up early. Had a very nice simple breakfast buffet. Then headed to the boats for our two hour boat ride to the nearest road where we would meet the bus and our incredibly amazing driver Jorge who could maneuver in between trucks and street signs with the greatest of ease

Luckily, the boat was covered this time because the day dawned hot and sunny once again.



Before we left, we spied a Rhinoceros beetle on the rafters which kept the kids occupied while people settled their accounts with the Lodge. It was HUGE!



It was a long relaxing ride. I had never really appreciated how remote the Lodge actually was until this moment. We were truly in the middle of nowhere! 2 hours just to reach the road! And then a long approx 1+ hour bus ride to our next stop. The trip by airplane to the Lodge had deceived me but I soon learned that this was truly an adventure.

Here is the bus.



Be prepared to spend a lot of time on the bus. Everything is far away, remote and we logged many many hours riding in the bus. It was comfortable but I don't think I realized how much time would be spend driving to places.

Someone suggested that this portion of the trip would've been better/faster if we were flown out of Tortuguero. I'm not sure if that would've been feasible but I'm all for anything that gives me more vacation time to enjoy.

We stopped suddenly when Fico spied this



a Jabiru stork. Fico was very excited about this. I guess they are not very common and seeing one is sort of rare. A fellow adventurer then told me about her theory for ABDs that other tours just don't have. She calls it those "Magical Disney Moments" As someone who had been on a few ABDs, she said she has encountered them on every trip and that this was one of them. Those moments when something could happen but probably wouldn't but Oh Look! because you happen to be on a Disney tour, we just happen to have this rare stork clear as a bell out in the middle of nowhere for your enjoyment. Almost like magic At the time I wasn't sure if I believed her or not but by the end of the trip I did because this wasn't the only magical moment of the trip.

We passed a banana plantation - I just thought this was cool



And then to Rancho Roberto's for lunch. It was a nice break to the ride and the food was very good.


Out back there was an area for the kids to play after lunch but as you can see from the picture, the kids (and the adults) were more interested in something else ...



Fico had discovered a conga line of leaf cutting ants busy at work and gave us an impromptu lesson on the societal habits of the leaf cutting ant. It was fascinating! lol Each ant has a role to play and we were lucky enough to not only see the ants hard at work but had a highly trained naturalist there to explain it all to us at the same time. This was a unique experience, for sure! Almost like they planned it....



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