Costa Rica 2015

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Beautiful bills from the 1980s, but just souvenirs now. World's most beautiful? Five colones today is worth less than a penny. Our hotel, the Santo Tomas. Breakfast was included. Enjoying the hotel patio area on our first day.
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A better view of the patio/courtyard area. In front of potted coffee plants at the Gran Hotel where we stayed years ago. The first stop on our 3-in-1 excursion, butterflies and a trip thru the rain forest. A tapir. Esteban, our guide at this stop was excellent. This is inside the butterfly enclosure.
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A friendly butterfly attracted to red. The cable car for the tour. Lots to see. A beautiful view of what we used to call the "jungle." Eugenio, in charge of our tour, points out that only the white part is the flower. Our 2nd stop, the Selva Verde Reserve.
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A walk on the suspension bridge. A native frog. A good lunch was provided. The begining of the 3rd stop. On the Sarapiqui River.
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An iguana on the river bank. We could hear and see monkeys howling. Small bats lined up on a tree. The Gold Museum under the Plaza de la Cultura showed how Indians made gold items. Carole was the photographer.
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The Gold Museum also told how pre-Columbian Indians lived. $11 per person to see the beautiful National Theater. Harry's/Larry's/Taberna Restaurante Poas across from our hotel. Great hamburgers! I liked Bavaria better than Pilsen and Pilsen better than Imperial beer. Horacio arranged for Juan Cedeño to drive us around. Leaving Alajuala which had a statue of Juan Santamaria, a hero who stopped William Walker in 1856.
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Sarchi, the cart factory where we bought our carts years ago -- now over $400. Only 1/3 the visitors since the new highway was built. Inside the Fabrica de Carretas Joaquin Chaverri factory. The church in Zarcero. Our driver Juan suggested the church and the park in front were "must sees." Inside the church. The park was spectacular for its topiaries.
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Juan with our group. Really worth the visit. Lots to see. I think this thanks the 78 year old man who created the topiaries, The man responsible also does work like this overseas.
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Going back, a stop for queso palmito. The retired American on left said $300 for 2 months of medical insurance. $1k/mo. needed to live as a pensionado. "Ruins" of the original (unfinished) Cartago church, the Santiago Apostol. The Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles in Cartago. Finished in 1924. 22 kilometer pilgrimage on Aug. 2nd, feast day of the Virgin of the Angels. Inside the Basilica. (Cartago had been the original capital but had wanted to join the Mexican Empire of Augustin de Iturbe, so capital was moved to San Jose) More of the inside.
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After Cartago, a stop at the San Isidro de Coronado Church. A wedding was underway. The bar in the Il Gattopardo Restaurant in the Mona Lisa Hotel a few blocks downhill from our hotel. Produce stands are common in San Jose. Some fruit we never see in Florida A busker. One of only two cats seen. Central Park of San Jose
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Inside the Mercado Central. Delicious empanadas, lots or food, produce and souvenirs for sale. Glad we finally found it open. Many police in the central part of San Jose. The Jade Museum was terrific. Many displays describing ancient tribal practices. Much jade, ceramics and how they were produced. Wonderfully done displays in the Jade Museum.
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Very interesting ceramics. Avenida Central view from 2nd floor of the El Patio del Balmoral Restauant where we had some beer before our last dinner in Costa Rica. Inside restaurant view from our table before we went down for dinner. Beautiful restaurant with vines growing inside, Walking to a cab stand after dinner on the Avenida Central.

Last updated: 9/7/15