Jan. 14, 2014
Last night, we went to the beach again to find crabs and enjoy the waves gently coming in against the sand beach.
Today, we awakened to another beautiful day at Punta Leona. We heard and saw the Scarlet Macaws again, and a couple of White-faced Capuchins visited us while we were eating another delicious breakfast. We then headed for the beach to see the Brown Pelicans and Frigate Birds. It was low tide this morning. We also saw a Limpkin. After hiking along the beach, we headed back to finish packing.
After lunch we left Punta Leona for a two-person kayaking experience in the Pacific Ocean. We kayaked in the Pacific Ocean for about one hour to a secluded beach area where we snorkeled and saw a starfish and other sea life among the rocks. After a snack of watermelon and pineapple, we kayaked back. It was amazing to be kayaking in the Pacific Ocean with many Brown Pelicans, Frigate Birds, and an Osprey flying by.
We left for our hotel in the airport in San Jose, because we have an early morning flight. We are all very thankful for the time we have spent here learning to appreciate so many diverse parts of God’s Creation. The next report will be regarding our arrival home tomorrow.
Jan. 13, 2014
Last night, many students went to the beach to find crabs. The beach was quiet and with the low tide many crabs were found.
Today we were joined by White-faced Capuchins while we were eating breakfast, including several mothers with a baby on their back. They watched us eat waiting for a chance to steal our delicious food, including mangos, papayas, pineapples, and watermelon. The fresh fruit here is always excellent!
We then took a two-hour hike through a Pacific tropical rainforest on the property of Punta Leona, where we are staying. We saw many things, including a Red-crested Guan, a Blue-crowned Motmot, Chestnut-mandible Toucans, a Black-hooded Antshrike, Leaf-cutter Ants, several Blue Morpho Butterflies, several small lizards and several Black Iguana. After we returned from our hike, we visited a butterfly garden, where we were mesmerized by Blue Morpho Butterflies.
After a delicious lunch, we headed for the Pacific Ocean white-sand beach. There we enjoyed the sun, waves, and the many fish, including Puffer Fish, we saw while snorkeling or swimming. While at the beach, we saw Scarlet Macaws feeding and then fighting, Brown Pelicans, and Frigate Birds soaring over head. Tomorrow morning we will go back to the beach to do some sea kayaking in the ocean before heading back to San Jose for a very early departure on Wednesday. Today was sunny, humid and ~95 F.
Several times today we visited the 500+ year-old Kapok Tree that is here at Punta Leona. In some cultures a Kapok Tree is referred to as "the tree of life."
Jan. 12, 2014
We are in Punta Leona, right by the Pacific Ocean, with daytime high temperatures near 90 F.
We awakened to some light rain today. After a delicious breakfast, we began our long journey to the Pacific Coastal area. Along the way we saw Coatimundi, which we had also seen yesterday, a Ringed Kingfisher, a Suntail Hawk, a Laughing Falcon, a Roadside Hawk, a White-tailed Hawk, many Black Vultures and Frigate Birds.
On our fascinating mangrove tour we saw crabs, American Crocodiles, Parakeets, a Mangrove Hawk, Osprey, a White-tailed Kite, several Scarlet Macaws who were nesting, a Pygmy Flycatcher, a White Ibis, a Caligo Butterfly, a Wood Stork, Magpie Jays, a brown Basilisk and many swallows. After a delicious lunch, we continued on our journey to Punta Leona. Along the way we saw more Scarlet Macaws, a Black Iguana (we had seen many Green Iguana on the Caribbean side), a Black-headed Trogan (we had seen a Black-faced Trogan on Selva Verde), more Frigate Birds, a Black and Orange Flycatcher, and many American Crocodiles below a bridge we walked across.
As we arrived at Punta Leona, we were greeted by more Scarlet Macaws. We all were thankful to arrive in this beautiful and enchanting part of God's Creation. As we read and reflected on our devotional readings this evening, we were thankful we could worship outside in God's created beauty in Costa Rica. We are all realizing more and more that God's created beauty needs preservation and restoration.
Jan. 11, 2014
We awakened to another glorious day at Selva Verde in the rain forest. After another delicious breakfast with fresh pineapple and mango, we started on our journey to the Arenal Volcano region. On our midway stop, we were treated to seeing a Three-toed Sloth climbing down a tree. About 10:30 a.m. we arrived at the Arenal Volcano National Park. We took a two-hour hike to the 1992 lava flow, climbing on the lava flow to get a close-up view of the volcano. We could also see the large, man-made lake where ~60% of Costa Rica's electricity is generated. Along our hike we were treated to seeing a Squirrel Cuckoo, a Praying Mantis, a female Curassow and a Caligo or Owl Butterfly, the largest butterfly in Costa Rica.
After a delicious lunch, we did the two-hour, nine-stage Sky Trek Arenal zipline. Some of us also saw the Spectacled Owl, the Ornate Hawk Eagle and the Tropical Parula, all very rare birds, and Blue Morpho Butterflies. After we arrived at our hotel with a spectacular view of the Arenal Volcano, we saw many Red-lored Parrots, a very long line of Leaf-cutter Ants and a Chachalaca flying in the trees.
After another delicious dinner, we reflected on how our spectacular day connected to our devotional reading from our book “Safe in the Shepherd's Arms” by Mac Lucado. We are looking forward to our journey across the continental divide to the Pacific side of Costa Rica. Today was mostly sunny, not humid and a high temperature of ~83 F.
Jan. 10, 2014
Today was rain free, with the temperature about 85 F and humid. Tomorrow, we leave the glorious Selva Verde Lodge for the Arenal Volcano area.
Last night, Jan. 9, we took a night hike and saw many things, including the Red-eyed Tree Frog, a Basilisk, a Strawberry Poison-dart Frog, various spiders, beetles, and millipedes.
It was pouring rain overnight, so the river was much higher in the morning. The rain stopped at dawn and we were awakened by the Howler Monkeys at 5:30 a.m. We went on a bird walk where we saw the beautiful Trogan, some Wrens, Chestnut-mandible Toucans, several hummingbirds, and a mother Agouti with her baby. After breakfast we went on a river cruise where we saw a Caiman, a Long-tailed Tyrant Flycatcher, Anhingas, Amazon Flycatchers, Green Kingfishers, a Three-toed Sloth, Great Green Macaws, Little Blue Heron, a Curassow, Howler Monkeys, a Tiger Egret, Basilisks, a Gray-headed Kite and Spotted Sandpipers.
After that glorious cruise, we visited an organic pineapple plantation where we saw the entire process of organic pineapple production, from planting to boxing for shipping. We had the treat of having as much of the best pineapple we had ever eaten as we wanted. We then returned for a delicious lunch. In the afternoon, we visited Tirimbina Biological Nature Preserve, where we went on a two-hour guided hike through the tropical rain forest. We began the hike by crossing the longest suspension bridge in Central America, which is 262 meters, i.e. about 860 feet long. Once in the tropical rain forest, we saw a Praying Mantis, an Agouti, Chestnut-mandible Toucans, White-fronted Parrots, Red-lored Parrots, a Two-toed Sloth, a 450-year-old Kapok tree, a Strawberry Poison-dart Frog, and Leaf-cutter Ants.
We all are in awe and appreciation of God and his creation. We are seeing how all of creation works together.
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