(Costa Rica Flag)


(Costa Rica Map)


All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2010:

After two restful days at sea we docked in Puntarenas, Costa Rica at 7:00am on a beautiful Sunday morning.
The Island Princess pulling along side in Puntarenas, Costa Rica The Island Princess docked in Puntarenas, Costa Rica The Island Princess docked in Puntarenas, Costa Rica

My first shore excursion of the day was a scenic drive through the countryside.
We stopped at the busy town square of the picturesque town of Esparza.
Beautiful church off the town square in Esparza, Costa Rica Beautiful church off the town square in Esparza, Costa Rica The town square in Esparza, Costa Rica

The local children danced for us in the town square. They were very cute.
Local children of Esparza, Costa Rica dance in the town square Local children of Esparza, Costa Rica Local children of Esparza, Costa Rica

After returning to Puntarenas I took a walk along the beach.
Scenic countryside in Costa Rica Beach in Puntarenas, Costa Rica The Island Princess docked behind the beach in Puntarenas, Costa Rica

In the afternoon I took a scenic boat ride through the mangroves.
Fishermen in the mangroves of Costa Rica Pelicans in the trees along the mangroves of Costa Rica Blue heron in the mangroves of Costa Rica

We saw Crocodiles, pelicans, blue herons and other exotic birds during the cruise.
The mangroves of Costa Rica Birds in the trees along the mangroves of Costa Rica The mangroves of Costa Rica

The huge tangles of roots are clearly visable during low tide.
The mangroves of Costa Rica The mangroves of Costa Rica The mangroves of Costa Rica

After the boat cruise we visited a scarlet macaw sanctuary.
This was a very beautiful place. That's ginger growing in the middle picture below.
You could really get up close to the exotic birds. The tucan on the lower right was my favorite.
Bird in the tree at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica Ginger growing at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica Tucan at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica

There were dozens of colorful scarlet macaws flying all over the place.
That's a sloth in the tree in the middle picture below.
Scarlet Macaw at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica Sloth at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica Scarlet Macaw at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica

This place was not the least bit touristy. You got to see the birds in their natural habitat.
Scarlet Macaws at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica Scarlet Macaws at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica Scarlet Macaws at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica

We drove through sugarcane fields and pastures on our scenic drive back to the ship.
Rustic old house in the countryside of Costa Rica Cow in the countryside of Costa Rica

We sailed away a little before 7:00pm.
Puntarenas, Costa Rica harbor at sunset Puntarenas, Costa Rica harbor at sunset Puntarenas, Costa Rica harbor at sunset

The video below is one hour and three minutes long. It begins as the Island Princess docks in Puntarenas.
My first tour takes me to the picturesque town of Esparza where the local children dance for us in the town square.
After a drive through the countryside I return to Puntarenas and take a walk along the beach.
My afternoon tour begins with a scenic mangrove boat tour and then continues at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary.
The video concludes with sunset and sail away from Puntarenas.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON DECEMBER 12, 2010
Hello Everyone,

We docked in Puntarenas, Costa Rica at around 7:30 this morning. This is a small town on the Pacific coast of the country. Costa Rica is considered to be the Switzerland of the Americas. They have no military here at all. The picture below is of Puntarenas just before we docked this morning.

The Island Princess pulling along side in Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Weather continued to be almost perfect. Not exactly Christmas weather, but I managed to tolerate the sunny skies and temps just below 80. I had two tours booked for today. The first was a drive around the countryside with a stop in the small town of Esparza, a picturesque Spanish town. Below is the church in Esparza.

Beautiful church off the town square in Esparza, Costa Rica

The children put on a show for us in the park across from the church.

Local children of Esparza, Costa Rica dance in the town square

The children were very cute and put on a nice show.

Local children of Esparza, Costa Rica

After the tour ended I had about ninety minutes to walk around the small town of Puntarenas. Below is the beach just in front of where the ship is docked.

Beach in Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Below you can see the ship from behind the palm trees along the beach.

The Island Princess docked behind the beach in Puntarenas, Costa Rica

After my brief walk around town I took a one hour boat cruise through the mangroves. If you look closely in the picture below you can see two pelicans at the top of the tree in the center of the picture.

Pelicans in the trees along the mangroves of Costa Rica

We saw lots of different types of birds on the cruise and a couple of crocodiles. The crocodiles looked liked pieces of wood in the water with a few air bubbles coming up. Our next stop was at a scarlet macaw sanctuary. This was a really beautiful place. Full of exotic plants. The plant in the picture below is ginger.

Ginger growing at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica

This place was not at all touristy. It was out in the middle of nowhere on a bumpy gravel road. You really got to see the birds in their natural habitat. Below is a toucan.

Tucan at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica

Below are two scarlet macaws. A macaw is bigger than a parrot. There were dozens of these birds flying all over the place. They also make quite a racket.

Scarlet Macaws at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica

We saw other animals too. Below is a sloth. Reminds me of the koala bears I saw in Australia, always asleep in a tree.

Sloth at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Costa Rica

We passed through a couple of small villages on the way back from the sanctuary. I don't know why but I liked this old house in the late day sun.

Rustic old house in the countryside of Costa Rica

We were also driving through sugar cane fields and some cattle pastures. I like the picture below. Notice the bird under the cow.

Cow in the countryside of Costa Rica

Got back to the pier just before sunset. Interesting thing here on the Equator. The sun sets and rises every day at 5:45, every day of the year, it never changes. Below is looking back on Puntarenas at sunset.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica harbor at sunset

The mountains prevented me from getting a good sunset picture, but I tried.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica harbor at sunset

It was a fun day. There was a lot more to see here, volcanoes, rain forests, cloud forest, the capital of San Jose, but impossible to do it all in one day. We are now sailing toward Panama. We won't get there until Tuesday. Monday is another sea day. I hope Panama has not washed away. The Canal had to close for a while again yesterday. That storm has dumped over 50 inches of rain there. Lots of floods and mud slides.

More later,

Tim
Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.



MONDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2010:

Monday was a day at sea as we sailed southeast off the coasts of Costa Rica and Panama.


Click on the arrow above to continue to the next adventure, Panama!

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