oh and Happy Anniversary Ed ---- we made 30 years and are still going strong --- Ed, hope you agree!

Last evening we met some of the other people on our trip and this morning we met the remainder of them. Happily our small group with a maximum of 24 people is actually a small group of 11 people and everyone seems really nice and we're all of a similar age. Should be a good trip.

Today is the first real day of the Costa Rica trip. After a 5:15 am wake up call, we were in the lobby by 5:45 am having the first cup of coffee of the day --- my only one and the first of many for Ed (he's decided he likes Costa Rican coffee, think I know what he's going to want to take home). The bus was loaded by 6:15 am and we joined the rest of the rush hour traffic to San Jose. Apparently, traffic is very heavy and many offices allow people to start early in hopes to ease some of the traffic. As we drove through the city, our guide pointed out important or historical buildings and it wasn't too long before we were on highway 32 headed to the lowlands and the Caribbean coast. After a beautiful drive through the mountains, we stopped for breakfast and a wander around the restaurant property looking for sloths and poison dart frogs. Breakfast was great and the hunt successful as we found a momma sloth complete with baby, (I assume) a daddy sloth and a number of red poison dart frogs.

In the mountains we drove over a muddy river that joined up with a clear river

One of the sloths.

The poison dart frog.

Next stop the harbour where we picked up a boat for the one and a half hour ride to our hotel ---- Evergreen Lodge just outside of Tortuguero National Park. On the ride we saw some egrets (no big deal), a great blue heron (already have thousands ok maybe hundreds of photos) and an iguana. Nothing exciting. After check in, it was time for lunch. The exciting part of the day started after lunch. First were the white faced Capuchin monkeys. They were a lot of fun to watch --- probably have a few hundred photos of them now. On the way back to our room we spotted a number of interesting birds --- some toucans, black birds with red patches on their throat, macaws, birds with yellow tail feathers --- I need to spend some serious time with pictures and the Costa Rica bird book. Then a different kinda of monkey appeared --- so more photos. After we picked up the things we needed for our trip to the Turtle Conservancy we wander the grounds a bit more. This time we found some Howler Monkeys, an iguana and a lizard.

A mom and her kids.

A toucan, not sure which kind.

I think this is a Howler monkey.

Unfortunately, it's not egg laying time for any of the sea turtles that frequent this area so at the Turtle Conservancy we saw a movie about turtles laying eggs and the plight of the hatchlings. On the beach we saw holes where the turtles lay their eggs and we saw a video a women took just a few minutes before we got to the beach of two baby turtles entering the water. Just missed it by that much! We looked but couldn't find any hatchlings though we did find the body of one (very sad).

My art shot on the beach.

The town of Tortuguero reminded me of small tourist towns in Mexico. After a walk through the town we got back in the boat and were taken back to the resort. A meeting with the guide resulted in a drink and snacks provided by the tour company --- the spicy empanada was really good.