News aboard Sol Surfin


June Update

Hello again,

Yesterday we returned from our journey to an active volcano and a cloud/ rain forest. It was truly an amazing experience.

We are now in a town called Puntarenas, which is located in an estuary inside the gulf of Nicoya. This is a drop off point for travelers heading inland as well as across the gulf to the Pacific coast so there are many backpackers and tourists here. This has been a great departure spot to do some inland traveling.

We headed up to the cloud forest to a reserve called Monteverde. The $2.00 bus ride from Puntarenas took over 3 hours and was filled with local Ticos getting on and off along the route. It is fun to travel the local way and see the people and the countryside which is very clean and especially green this time of year. Santa Elena and Monteverde were no exception, lush, green and dripping wet. What a great change from the humid temperatures along the coast. If you have traveled to Costa Rica then you know that it is famous for the hair raising roads, steep drop offs, and crazy bus drivers. We were seated on the cliff side view seats and the drop offs were enormous. A few times the driver and a few passengers had to get out and move some of the large boulders that had slipped down from the cliffs and were blocking the road. We made it safe and sound to our destination and had a great time exploring this cute town. We stayed the night in small tree house hotel built around a 40 year old tree. That was fun.


The highlight of the trip was the zip line canopy tour and the hanging suspension bridges. The only way to really see the rain forest canopy is by hanging thousands of feet above it dangling from a strapped on harness that is hooked to a 1 inch cable suspended from one side of the canyon all the way across to the other side. I felt like superman zooming in and out of trees and sliding down these cables which felt like I was traveling 50 miles an hour. Our guide showed us how to control our speed with leather gloves, if you pull your self up then your speed slows down. If you don’t, well then you just go really fast. And we liked really fast! I pretty much screamed the whole way down the 16 different cable lines and all you could hear was us hooting and howling through the trees just like monkeys. What a great time this was because you hike along the trails to get to the next set of cables to take you across the canyon. It was better than any Disneyland ride I have ever been on. And of course the views were grand and lush and beautiful and everything you can imagine in a rain forest. We saw not one but three colorful large plumed Quetzal birds which is very rare indeed.

Our next stop was to take a bus, boat, bus down the mountain and across the lake to another town named La Fortuna which is along side the very famous and very active Arenal Volcano. The volcano is very active again and started up with a larger than normal eruption just a few days before our arrival. The volcano exploded about 40 years ago sending rocks and large boulders hundreds of miles and killing about 80 people in its path of destruction. The volcano hasn’t really stopped since then and currently she just grumbles and spurts whenever she wants. She is pretty awake right now and there were a few times that we jumped up out of our bed when we heard loud thundering sounds. We just wanted to check that she wasn’t going to blow again sending boulders on our hotel roof down below. We could hear and see the large car size boulders tumbling down the mountain side. It would break apart and split into thousands of pieces. This was a spectacular sight at night because the boulders are like barbeque charcoals, when they hit other boulders they explode and turn bright red sending tumbling hot rocks along the path. The colors were quite a show of fire yellows, amber oranges and hot cinder reds. It is not lava flowing but charcoal flying, very unusual.

Of course no volcano trip would be complete without a dip in the hot springs. Gary really splurged on us this time, when we stayed in the infamous Tabacon Resort which is quite famous for their natural hot springs pools, waterfalls and natural ponds. We soaked and explored around these beautiful gardens finding private ponds in the river and finding comfy rocks to hang out on and getting massaged by the cascading hot waterfalls. All of this while we watched the spectacular firework show of the volcano, sipping on pina coladas and allowing the nighttime misty rain cool us off. Gary treated us to several massages and body treatments that were quite relaxing. We also splurged on gourmet meals which were another culinary highlight all by themselves. We sprawled out on the large king size beds (one for each of us- hey we live in a tiny boat!) and we lived like kings and queens. I guess someone has to do this everyone once in awhile! What a treat, this trip takes care of our Christmas presents, birthday gifts and anniversaries all year long!



So we are back at the boat now at the Costa Rica Yacht Club. We have decided to leave our boat here for the summer instead of beating our way down to Ecuador. Since we dilly dallied so long in Northern Costa Rica, we missed our weather window to get down to Ecuador. We found a great spot to leave the boat and feel comfortable with the facilities here. We will pull the boat and have Sol Surfin’s bottom painted while we are here.

We are heading home the end of June and heading off to a family reunion and wedding in upstate New York. We will be back in San Diego for a few months starting in July. We will fly back to Costa Rica in the beginning of November to finish exploring this amazing country and start our next cruising season.

We have enjoyed traveling in Costa Rica and have been quite impressed with the environmental programs that are established here. As we were traveling along the coastline and countryside, we were very surprised and relieved to see it clean and fairly clear of trash and plastics, much better that the sister countries here in Central America. I guess that the programs and the education are working!

As I am signing off, it is pouring rain, with major thundering and lightening. Good time to have a beer and wait for the squall to pass.

Celeste and Gary