Over the last year we’ve been to close to 40 different countries. Entering the country by plane, bus, car or foot, customs and immigration in most countries have been hassle-free, and expedient. This is not the case at Penas Blancas, the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. We spent two hours waiting in line just to leave Costa Rica–I guess the customs officials were on lunch break. The Nicaraguan side only took about 20 minutes. We were lucky, though, as Hedda & Michael crossed at Penas Blancas the next day, their wait was 2.5 hours in Costa Rica AND 2 hours in Nicaragua.
Archive for the Costa Rica Category
In search of sea turtles nesting, Mike and I caught a bus to Samara from Nicoya. There are several nesting beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula where turtles come to lay their eggs. The best time is during the “arribadas” when thousands of olive ridley sea turtles make their way to the shore. So many turtles are nesting at the same time, it’s possible a turtle might dig up the nest of another turtle because the beach is full of eggs. The arriabadas occur between July and November, but it’s about being lucky, as no one can predict when this will happen.
On a typical night between July and November a few turtles may come to nest, not thousands. Our tour took us to Playa Camaronal beach where four species of sea turtles are known to nest: olive ridley, hawksbill, leatherback and black turtle. Any sort of bright light will keep the turtles from coming ashore, so from 8pm to 9pm we combed the beach in complete darkness with out finding even one turtle. Our group was starting to give up hope of seeing a turtle, but our guide persevered. Finally, at 10pm, a teardrop shaped olive ridley turtle came ashore, and began her nesting ritual.
All turtles instinctively know where to lay their eggs–returning thousands of miles to the exact beach where they were born. The olive ridley laboriously makes her way up the beach to lay her eggs. She then uses her hind flippers to scoop out an appropriate sized hole for her eggs. Once this is completed, any where from 100-130 ping pong-sized eggs are laid. Again using her hind legs, she covers and neatly buries the eggs. She then disappears back into the ocean. The entire process lasts about one hour, and it’s pretty amazing to watch.
The week in Costa Rica with my brother and his family just flew by…But not without a few things that I can’t help but find funny. And I want to share them…
1. I’ve heard teenage kids sometimes call their parent by their first name as sort of a rebellious/ I’m independent kind-of-thing, but I’ve never heard a 7 and 5 year old do it. Kyra and Aiden were a bit confused by the fact that there are two “Mike’s”. And on many occasions last week, this led them to call their dad, “Mike,” rather than “dad”. I was reassured that this was the first time it’s ever happened, but personally, I found it really funny.
2. If you have been reading our blog this last year, you’ll know that I just learned how to swim. What you might not know is that non-swimmers run in my family. My dad is a great swimmer, but my brother and my mom aren’t. Now, what’s funny about this is that my brother’s kids are swimmers. Kyra is on the swim team, and Aiden plans to join next year. Kyra knows all the strokes, and they can both swim for hours in the pool. Which brings me to the point…Kyra and Aiden made endless jokes and demonstrated how my brother(their dad) swims doggie paddle!
From Santa Catalina in Panama, it took us two days of buses to reach San Jose, Costa Rica where we met Mike, Rachel, Kyra and Aiden. We drove from the airport out to the La Fortuna to tour around the Volcano Arenal for three days. In those three days, we went zip-lining above the canopy of the rainforest, horse back riding where we spotted toucans, sloths and snakes, and canyoning, repelling down cliffs and waterfalls.
It’s been a year and half since we’ve seen my brother and his family. Kyra and Aiden have grown up to be wonderful little kids with big hearts and a strong sense of adventure. They were fearless on all of our activities. They loved all of them equally, saying “it was awesome.” Really amazing for only being 7 and 5 years old.
It was a busy three days, but since then we’ve driven north to Playa Conchal where there is little to do, but sit by the pool enjoying refreshing strawberry daquiris.
Today is the 4th of July and it’s nice to be here with family…it also makes me think about when my brother and I were kids…to celebrate independence day, we would light sparklers and race each other around the house as many times as we could before the sparklers would go out. Maybe I’ll see if my brother is up for the challenge tonight…