Just a quick photo posting of last weekends trip to the Valley.
Yesterday we spent a lovely day touring a Nova Scotian dairy farm. We were given a tour of the various barns, buildings and processing rooms. We also helped out in the afternoon milking of the cows and got to see some of the calves on the farm as well as other animals. Gabriel loved it all, though I think the adults in enjoyed it at least as much as he did.
We had a lovely day today with two other families, the Cornick’s and the Alpert’s, at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park.
The park was pretty busy and the animals were active and visible in most of the displays. As usual it is a great place to take the kids and let them stretch their legs while getting to see some animals.
After walking our normal loop, we set out some blankets and had a lovely picnic in the fields near the entrance.
Just a few photos from the Easter weekend in the valley. I think this was the first holiday/event that Gabriel was really clued in for. Throughout the weekend we would have him find an egg or a chocolate. He was really enjoying himself.
Today seven of us headed out to the Sugar Moon Maple Syrup Farm and Pancake house. The farm has 2500 taps on about 35 acres, and lots of people who want to eat pancakes. Something that I had never seen before, but makes a lot of sense, the farm collects sap with a “gravity-fed pipeline system”. This means that each tree is connected to the others by a network of plastic tubing. This tubing in turn feeds into a “main line” that travels downhill to the sugar camp and the sap tanks outside. They then boil their sap over a wood-fired evaporator – a craft that requires attention and skill as the syrup is actually finished over the wood fire.
Shawn told me of a local mountain road that had great views of the area, he had jogged up the mountain as part of his training. I initially took the scooter up the hill and at a later point, when I had a car, took a group of people up the hill.
The road traverses the ridge that overlooks both Jaco and Hermosa.
When I (Hetty) lived in Japan, I used to plan weekend excursions to see more of the country. In a country where the signs are posted in Japanese (obviously) I often ended up somewhere far from where I planned to go so my mantra became “If you can’t get to where you’re going, go to where you are.” This has served us well here in Costa Rica. While a GPS is sometimes useful, it is not always totally reliable. This was the case when we set out to find the Peace Lodge and La Paz Waterfall Gardens on northeastern slope of the Poás Volcano. We thought we were getting close although we had no specific directions when the GPS told us to take a turn. Although it was counterintuitive, we had nothing else to go on so we decided to follow the GPS directions. As a result we found ourselves on the opposite side of the volcano, driving on some of the most twisty, steepest roads we have ever experienced. The scenery was stunningly beautiful and the air was crisp and cool. Terraced farms dotted the mountainside and the road took us almost to the top of this active volcano. (elevation: 2700 m.) Just when we were wondering where we were and in need of a rest, we happened upon a beautiful compound with an open gate. We drove in and met, Donais, one of the owners. She informed us that they were closing in a few hours but we were welcome to go to the back garden and view the waterfall.
Ward and I (Hetty) have just returned from an excursion to Tortuguero which is situated on the Northern part of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. The interior and coastal region of Costa Rica is very lush and agricultural. We drove through miles and miles of banana plantations and pineapple fields – all destined for the Port of Limon which is a major container shipping port. Along the way we saw a few large Dole, Del Monte and Chiquita processing plants. I will never view a banana in the same way! The drive to the Caribbean coast, although only 260 km, took about 5 hours. The road is a busy one with a lot of truck traffic destined for the port of Limon.
We recently went and spent the morning at one of Costa Rica’s most popular national parks – Carara National Park. We pilled in the car with Joe on the scooter behind us and made our way to Costa Rica’s northernmost region of Pacific rainforest.
As part of our 3 day trip to Arenal, six of us (two couples and two 4 month old babies) travelled to see the Arenal volcano. The volcano has not been active since 2010, but it is still a sight to see and there are lots of other local attractions. One such attraction is the Arenal Hanging Bridges walking tour. Located up one of the longest modern roads paved with individual bricks I’ve ever seen, which starts just under the Arenal dam. The dam caused the Arenal Lake to triple in size when it was built and provides water to a hydro-electric station which provides somewhere between 40 to 70% of the countries electricity.
Brittany Oliver and I (Joe) went on a three day trip to Arenal with another couple that was also staying here at the Hermosa Bungalows. They have a daughter that is just one day older than Oliver so going on a three day trip made for the same baby-mindset and also gave us an opportunity to have a few minutes of alone time when we one couple would take care of both babies.
On Tuesday & Wednesday of this past week, we took turns venturing to Tortuga Island on a Calypso Cruise. The day started off with a 6:50a.m. pick-up at out bungalow and a drive to Puntarenas a port town an hour and half north of Jaco. Puntarenas (Pointsands, from “punta arenas”, or “sand point” in Spanish) is the capital and largest city in the province Puntarenas, Costa Rica, at the Pacific coast. Once we arrived at the dock, we enjoyed a typical Tico breakfast of gallo pinto, ranchero eggs, corn tortillas, sour cream, fruit and coffee at El Shrimp.
We embarked upon Manta Raya, our catamaran and began our almost two hour long voyage down through of Gulf of Nicoya to our destination of Tortuga Island. Isla Tortuga is Costa Rica’s most visited island. It consists of 2 islands, one of which is a Wildlife Refuge. The island used to not be privately owned and as a result, was near ruin until it was bought and made private. Tourists are now only able to remain on the beach, no overnight stays are allowed and nothing is allowed to be taken off the island. Now an uninhabited island, the clear turquoise waters afford excellent snorkelling and diving, and the white sand beaches lined with swaying palm trees provide the most sought-after setting in the world: a tropical island paradise.
Ward and I have just returned from a little adventure. We decided that it was time to explore another part of Costa Rica so we rented a car and set off for the Nicoya Peninsula. We chose this as our destination because we had heard about a small town named Montezuma and were curious to see it and the Peninsula on which it is situated.
Today I headed down to a Red Bull 70s Style Surf Competition here in Hermosa Beach Costa Rica. I was there for 6 AM and the event was setup, but the heats didn’t start until about 7AM. There were a number of photographers, pro and amateur all shooting the event including two in water photographers. I used google translate on the Spanish event page and have pasted it in the quote below. The surfers would go out initially on longboards, then on fish boards and then on guns. At each 10 minute mark of the 30 minutes the Red Bull girls would run the different board down to the water and the surfers in the heat would exchange boards.
The rest of the family came down at around 7:30AM at which point I was happy to join them for a Tico breakfast (a traditional Costa Rican breakfast).
Yesterday Ward and Hetty went on a day long excursion to Tortuga Island travelling across the Gulf of Nicoya by catamaran. Brittany and I did the same excursion today. There are lots of photos from the island, and probably enough footage to do a video. So I’m going to take a few days to put that together. In the meantime, here are some photos from the yesterday when Hetty and Ward were away.