Despite Mother Nature’s best efforts, we succeeded in flying from Dayton to Charlotte and ended up in San Jose, Costa Rica. We transitioned from 11 degrees F to 50 degrees in Charlotte to 70 degrees in San Jose. What a change in one half day! The immigration line at the Airport was truly unbelievable. It was extremely long and ran back outside the customs hall to a long narrow hallway. Luckily for us, one of the security folks pulled us out of line and escorted us to a very short special line. Once through Customs, we emerged into chaos in the main terminal area. The entire area was jam packed full of taxi drivers looking for fares and companies picking folks up. Once again we lucked out and a gentleman took us outside where he called our driver and set up a meeting point.
Finally on the road, our driver, Coco, was very informative about what was going on around us. We are headed to the Macaw Lodge located up in the rainforest. Our ride was great, good roads, crowded but traffic was moving; then we turned off on a side road which Coco said was a little bit bumpy. That was an understatement! The next 45 minutes were on gravel, dirt and some paved roads. We went round and round curves and kept going up and up until, voila, we arrived at the Lodge.
The Macaw Lodge is located in the rainforest and is pretty much totally sustainable. The electricity is solar powered, the food harvested o"n site or locally sourced. The building was constructed with local materials. The main building at the Lodge is a beautiful octagon shaped structure with 8 guest rooms on the upper level. The rooms are all wood and bamboo walls, floor and ceilings. The bathrooms ha"ve stone floors and the water is solar heated. The downstairs area is a large open area for dining, gathering, and socializing. Our dinner, the first night, was a wonderful vegetable soup, followed by Spaghetti with local vegetables and Flan for dessert. Every meal is accompanied by a big pitcher of local fruit juice, which changes daily, based on availability. At night, guests go to bed to the sounds of nature in the surrounding area. The Lodge is amazingly quiet and peaceful. The 264 acre property began years ago as a reforestation project. All the trees and vegetation the owner planted were aimed at providing food and shelter for the local birds. Once this system was established, he added botanical gardens, orchards and greenhouses. The result is pure magic.
Our first morning, after a great breakfast, we headed out to hike to one of the waterfalls. We wandered up and down a trail made of some gravel, some clay, some concrete block steps and tons of beauty. The area is completely natural with large trees, stands of bamboo and under canopy plants. When we finally reached the waterfall, it was beautiful, isolated and very peaceful. A bench, place in the shade gave us a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy nature. Steve even decided to go for a swim in the pond at the base of the waterfall. Then back at the Lodge, we rehydrated, and relaxed before lunch. The list of birds we have seen is amazing, to name a few....Green Ibis, Kiskadee -Bientevemo Grande, Jacana Centroamericano, Limpkins- Carlao, and of course Macaws!
After a wonderful lunch of chicken, sweet potato mash and zucchini, we took up residence on the sunny side of the Lodge. We spent the afternoon relaxing and watching the local birds go about their daily routine. Following another outstanding dinner, this time vegetarian, we again relaxed in the rocking chairs and listened to the sounds of the night. The frogs and crickets were in fine voice, and extremely loud, as all the males were competing with one another. Our last night, we fell asleep to the sounds of the frog competition. This morning, we were up early to watch the birds come for breakfast. Megan, the manager, places bananas on the branches of a dead tree down near the ponds. It is quite fun to watch the birds gathering in anticipation. We even saw a duck try and perch on a branch with no luck! Once the bananas were placed, the birds showed up including a Scarlet Tanager and a Boston Oriole. After the excitement, we ate breakfast, interrupted by a sighting of a pair of mating Macaws..... babies on the way!
Unfortunately, today we leave this piece of paradise and head to Puerta Caldera to pick up the Azamara Quest for our cruise. Our stay at the Macaw Lodge has been amazing. Everything is done at a leisurely pace. If you are in the middle of eating and leave to go get a picture of something, everything is still there when you return. The Lodge is without a doubt one of the most peaceful places we have been, very few Americans even know about it, a well kept secret. We also lucked out because they were not very busy and we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Now we are off to the hustle and bustle of civilization! However we definitely hope to return here in the near future.
Pura Vida Amigos !!
Kate and Steve