Vista Los Suenos Canopy Tour

Yesterday we headed out to the Vista Los Suenos Canopy Tour, a zip line down a mountain near Jaco Costa Rica. Because of the two little ones who couldn’t go on the tour, Brittany and Joe went in the morning, and then Ward and Hetty went in the afternoon. Brittany and Joe were the only ones on the tour during their session where as when Hetty and Ward went there were 28 other people in sequence before and after them, making things a little more exciting.

The adventure starts on a 15 minute ride aboard our specially designed 40 passenger tractor. Once we arrive to the top of the mountain we then descend to the bottom via a series of zip lines, including 15 platforms and 14 cables with a total cable distance of 3.5 kilometers…..including the longest cable in the area of 2400 ft!

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Crocodile Man Tour

Today we went to visit the Crocodile Man Tour, which involves a boat tour along the Tarcoles River and along some of the mangroves near the ocean.   We met several of the ‘local’ crocs; all given silly names that best describe their temperament.  Barack Obama was a large black croc, Shakira was feisty, George Bush wouldn’t come for the chicken, Angelina Jolie wouldn’t come out from under the water.  Strangely enough we couldn’t find Osama BinLaden, the supposedly largest croc of them all.  We learned a lot of neat information.  Here are a few tidbits of information our tour guide told us:

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Manual Antonio National Park

We drove to the Manual Antonio National Park (Google Maps Link / Wikipedia Article). According to wikipedia, established in 1972 with an area enumerating 4,014 acres (16.24 km2) (the smallest of any Costa Rican national park), it is the destination of as many as 150,000 visitors annually and well-known for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails. In 2011, Manuel Antonio was listed by Forbes among the world’s 12 most beautiful national parks.

Before we even got to the park, a group of men, with outfits that were made to look like they worked for the park guided us to our parking spot, way before the actual park entrance. Eventually we figured this out (or rather, eventually we acted on what our gut was telling us) and we got back in the car and drove to the entrance, where there is absolutely no official parking for the park, just a very narrow street with locals selling spots in empty building lots and along the street. Happy with our spot we loaded up the Chariot with all our gear and headed down the path.

We stayed on the main trail, which looks like it was once paved but mother nature has had it’s way with the road. During the hike we didn’t see that much wildlife until we arrived near the end of the main trail at the beach where we saw some fearless raccoons, a lovely sloth and several types of monkeys. We were all very hot during the late morning walk so when we arrived at the lovely beach we were all very happy to go for a dip. Even Oliver who went in the Ocean for the first time.

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More Random Costa Rica Photos

Check out this post of photos and our other Blog postings with some background at our Costa Rica Trip Summary Page.

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Beach Walks

Today and Yesterday were lovely lazy days. We spent time walking on the beach and also swimming in the pool. We visited the Backyard Bar, where we had $1.75 USD local beers and a huge plate of chips and vegs (sort of nacho’s with more vegetables) which was $8.00.

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Our Nanny has a Nanny

Today was the first full day here in Hermosa Beach Costa Rica and everything went really well.

We cooked our own light breakfast, consisting of coffee, eggs, toast, papaya, watermelon and bananas. Gabriel had a great appetite, likely from all the energy he used on the previous day travelling and playing in the afternoon sun.

Today was also our first day with our Nanny, Johanna. She bicycled to our bungalow this morning and spent the full day with us. She, Brittany and Hetty all went to the grocery store and Johanna was a great help in picking out local foods, good beers and the ingredients for our first home cooked meal, gallo pinto. We used google translate for many of the questions that even Brittany couldn’t figure out how to ask.

We learned that Johanna has a little girl at home, also two years old, and she has a Nanny taking care of her. We’re not sure if our Nanny’s nanny has a nanny, as google translate had issues with the logic.

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Creating a Chariot Infant Sling

I purchased a Chariot Cavalier from Kijiji some time ago, while I was on a jogging kick (something I hope to revive in the warm weather and ample spare time of Costa Rica). Leading up to our trip it has been a struggle to figure out what to bring. With the Chariot being a two child aluminum stroller with large wheels, it made a lot of sense to bring it. The one problem was that it isn’t really configured for an infant. The newer Chariots (the ones that are not strictly jogging strollers but a trailer that can be used in a variety of configurations) have accessory infant slings, but they do not make one for the Cavalier, so we built one.

With some webbing from MEC and some fabric that Dad bought, we made two supports and then stretched the fabric between the two supports. With cutouts for the shoulder straps everything came together nicely. During the trial fitting it didn’t offer as much protection (from Gabriel’s arms and legs) as I had hoped, but perhaps with some distracting scenery, or during a sleepy afternoon nap it will work out.
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Preparing to Fly to Costa Rica

Next week, the first of 2012, six of us will be flying to Costa Rica for two months of child rearing, relaxation, exploration and hopefully a heaping pile of memories. The past few weeks have been very busy, with a visit from John and Deborah from Ontario during the Christmas break. A lot of late nights at work trying to get things done that I thought I would help, though I probably should have taken it a bit easier as your inbox is never empty.

Ward and Hetty are ready to travel light. Brittany and I a little less so, always adding more kids ‘gear’ that we think we need to bring. The large items are the stroller, the hiking backpack and a large amount of toiletries. To get to the airport we’re going to all get in the Sequoia, and then pull the trailer with our luggage!

This post has a sales video highlighting the location we will be based out of as well as some maps of our flight to Costa Rica.

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Christmas Lights

This is our house, which is being lit by some LED lights I purchased off eBay.

One annoying thing about the LED lights I purchased is that they by default switch into the rapid colour changing mode when you turn them on, which is a shame because I have my outdoor sockets on inside light switches, but I still need to go outside to get the lights configured the way I want them.

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Gabriel at the Discovery Centre

Some photos from a day at the Discovery Centre. It has been many many years since I looked at the Discovery Centre and was it ever fun. Both Brittany and I said commented that it would be fun to go there even without the kids just to play with the interesting setups they have.

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Point Pleasant Park Panoramas

A selection of Point Pleasant Park Panoramas taken with my Nikon AW100’s guided panorama mode which makes it dead easy to take these shots. The quality isn’t as good as taking individual photos and stitching them together, but there is a great deal of satisfaction in having it already done for you on the camera.

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The Great Nose

Also known as The Great Alarm Clock and Gabriel’s Meal Cleanup Team Lead.

In Oliver’s Eyes

A shot taken with my new Nikon AW100 of Oliver while he was in Brittany’s arms. When I went to Henry’s to check out their waterproof camera’s the sales person actually showed me that the AW100 can take a picture of a photo laying flat on a piece of paper if the paper is backlit as it would be on their glass display cabinet.

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Deck Lighting with LED Rope Lights

I thought I would write this post because I am somewhat proud of how my new side entrance deck lighting has turned out.

I had originally purchased LED rope lights at 50% off from Canadian tire because I had wanted to run it along our inside stairs to provide a very low cost stair lighting. This has been done in a lot of industrial settings and is now being done by many DIYers. That project will be in another post once my the new LEDs I ordered arrive.

What I ended up doing with the outdoor LED rope lights is wrap them on the underside of my upper railing of my side deck as pictured in the gallery below. This was facilitated by using of Princess Auto Power Fist Saddle-Type Cable Tie Mount and some stainless steel screws. Putting the LED rope lights near the top of the railing actually provides much more light on the deck surface and on the stairs, and is also more hidden from view than mounting on the bottom railing.

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