Morning comes early in the Costa Rican Rain Forest --- about 5:15 am in fact. The early morning quiet of dawn is broken by the deep guttural howl of the Howler Monkeys. The noise is so intense that it even woke Ed up. The howling lasts for about ten minutes then the rain forest quiets down and you hear a few birds chirping as you fall back to sleep, or at least Ed falls back to sleep. This morning I couldn't fall back to sleep so I got up and wandered around the resort listening to sounds and watching birds and a few Capuchin monkeys.

There was a bit of exciting this morning at breakfast. One of the Capuchin monkeys sat in a tree near the open door of the restaurant. When no was was near the door, the monkey jumped down from the tree ran to the nearest unoccupied table (which was near the door), leaped onto the table in a single bound, grabbed the plastic contain full of sugar and sweetener packets, leaped off the table dropping the container and equal packets making good his escape with the coveted sugar packets. I think this took all of 3 seconds. About 5 seconds later at least 10 Capuchin monkeys were sitting in the tree.

Today we leave Evergreen Resort just outside of Tortuguero National Park area with a destination of Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel just outside of Tenorio Volcano National Park. We get in a boat and ride down the river, then the canal to the port where our bus is waiting for us.

Just before we left this crab was spotted. There is lots of wildlife in the rain forest, you just need patience and good eyes to spot it.

The boat on the river.

The port is a parking lot, washroom and shoreline where the boats pull up to load and unload. The boats are used to take the tourists back and worth to the resorts, take the locals in and out, deliver goods like vegetables to the resorts, washing machines to the locals and bring garbage out. One boat was loaded with pieces of metal which was at one time in its life was a building.

I'm sure I mentioned that there are only 11 people in our group. The bus waiting for us was a luxurious 40 or 50 (I didn't count the number of seats) passenger bus. The bus has a washroom at the back of the bus, a refrigerator at the front of the bus, two televisions, USB outlets for charging cell phones at each seat and a control panel that I'm sure required the driver to take a course on. Needless to say we have lots of room to spread out and be comfortable. Apparently, the travel company Collette wants to provide a comfortable mode of transportation Smaller buses are on order for the smaller groups but haven't arrived yet.

A popular cow in the Caribbean Lowlands is the Brahman as it tolerates heat and humidity well.

Bananas are covered with a bag in the field to protect the bananas from insects --- us consumers want perfect bananas. Bananas are just one of many crops that are grown in Costa Rica and exported to many countries. Other crops that are exported are pineapples, coffee, orange juice and many more.

A conveyor system is set up in the fields that makes it easy to bring the bananas into the processing area where one of the jobs is removing the bag.

We stopped for lunch at the restaurant we had breakfast at on our drive to Evergreen Resort. Turns out the company that owns Evergreen Resort and two other resorts in Tortuguero also owns this restaurant. Couldn't find the sloth or the poison dart frogs today.

We also stopped at the Trimbina Rainforest Center. What this private conservation center does is very interesting but it's too hard to sum up quickly, so check it out on the web if your interested. One of the ways the center raises money (it's self-sufficient) is by giving chocolate making tours. They start with the pod that is picked from the plant and ends with a chocolate bar. Really interesting and fun activity.

Many cocoa beans are in this pod.

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The old way to grind the cocoa beans into a paste used a hot stone. An updated method uses something similar to a meat grinder.

After many steps one ends up with recognizable chocolate. We did get to sample the chocolate at just about every step.

A supermarket is our last stop. A chance to pick up some beverages and snacks as the place we are going is very isolated --- that's why hideaway is in the name.

Many of the products are the same as at home but the packaging is definitely different.

This morning our bus driver indicated that the total distance covered today would be about 300 km. At home that's maybe a 3 or 3 1/2 hour drive but here the roads are narrow and winding. Add large trucks and you have a slow though pretty drive. The last 4 km was done in the dark on a gravel road going up a hill. At last we have arrived. The hotel is amazing but I tell you about it tomorrow after I've seen it in the daylight.

The bedroom portion of our room. There's a huge bathroom and an outdoor shower.