Costa Rica – Natural Paradise

We had a trip to Costa Rica from December 29, 2012, to January 10, 2013.

The first part was a tour with Caravan Tours to several regions of the nation to see the variety of natural beauty. This included the Caribbean coast, rain forest, cloud forest (drier than the rain forest, but often misty and of course, cloudy), the central valley and the Pacific coast.

Lush vegetation, birds, monkeys, crocodiles, banana plantations, coffee plantations, fields of pineapples – we saw it all. We were at Poas volcano, but the day was cloudy and rainy, so at the lookout we saw only three feet in front of our faces – not the  lovely green lagoon in the crater. For this we had to by post cards! We did see Arenal volcano – at rest. No lava eruptions.

Based on our experience, we give a strong positive recommendation for Caravan Tours.

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Above you see two of the hotels where we stayed.


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Beautiful flowers.

We saw a remarkable bird, Montezuma oropendola. It is the size of a crow and has a loud, rattling call, like a kingfisher on steroids. It is mainly chestnut in color, with a tail that is bright yellow with two dark central feathers. The tip of the bill is orange in color, and the bird has white patch on the side of the head, under the eye. Because of the chestnut color and yellow tail, Montezuma oropendola is especially striking in flight.  I have not found a photo online that is not copyrighted, so you may look it up for yourself, if you wish.

And here are the largest birds we saw.

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Here is the well-dressed rain forest explorer. Doesn’t look like Superman to me!


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Arenal volcano.


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Coatimundis, somewhat like raccoons but with a distinctive way of holding their tails.


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JoLene and I at the luxurious J.W. Marriott Resort on the Pacific Ocean.

After that tour we spent three more days on our own in San Jose, the capital city. The highlight of this was the time we spent with Pastor Alex Alvarado and his wife Pastor Ana, and their daughter Jeanette and son-in-law Johan Murillo. Alex was formerly a Catholic and a dentist, now the founding pastor of Ciudad de Dios (City of God) Church, a church of 800 that has planted four other churches in the city. Several years ago, after positive contacts with Bishop Eduardo Llanes and other Brethren in Christ leaders, Pastor Alex and all five churches transferred into the Brethren in Christ. It was a joy to hear about Alex’s spiritual journey and the extensive ministries of his church today.

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Pastor Alex and Pastor Ana on the left. Jeannette and Johan Murillo on the right.


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City of God church building.

And so ended our delightful time in the beautiful land of Costa Rica.

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