Friday, July 10, 2015

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 – Puerto Quepos, Costa Rica – Partly Cloudy – 88F

Distance from Panama Canal to Puerto Quepos: 448 Nautical Miles

Background.  Puerto Quepos, located on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica has a population of approximately 14,000.  The town is located in Puntarenas Province.  Tourism has replace banana growing as the main industry in Puerto Quepos.  A small village, with shops and restaurants, and a marina of sport fishing boats are the main sites of Puerto Quepos.

This is out first visit to this port.  We are on an all day excursion today – “The Costa Rica Rainforest Experience”

The tender service started pretty early – we could catch the boats being lowered from our cabin.

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An early breakfast in the Panorama Buffet and then assembling in the Cabaret Theater to hop our tender to Puerto Quepos.   It didn’t take long before we were on our tender heading for the mainland of Costa Rica.  Didn’t have a very good angle for a picture of the ship.

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The Pacific Princess from the Tender Boat

The ride to the shore was relatively short and very smooth.  There wasn’t much to see at the tender port but I did get a feel for the kind of countryside we would see.

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Puerto Quepos Tender Port

The rainforest preserve is approximately 90 minutes from Puerto Quepos.  The roads along the way were in pretty good shape and there were some good views of the Pacific Ocean and some villages and towns along the way.

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The final stretch of road to the site was mainly dirt road.

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The Costa Rica Rainforest Experience is run by the Rainforest Aerial Tram Pacific and uses gondolas to climb through the rainforest canopy.

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Our Gondola/Chariot awaits

We shared a gondola along with a guide – other passengers went out in groups of six.  We had a personal expert on board.

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Proof We are in the Gondola

Even though we were about 150 feet in the air, it didn’t feel like it because we were surrounded by vegetation the whole way to the top of the canopy.  Some highlights are shown in the pictures below.  Caption identify items pointed out by the guide (I didn’t get them all).  Otherwise, it is green and more green.

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Balsa Trees

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Cortese Maria Tree

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View Straight Down from the Gondola

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The ride wasn’t very long and soon we reached the turnaround point for the descent.

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Half Way Point

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For the more adventurous types, the park also offers zip lining.  On our way up, we could hear the zip liners but couldn’t see them.  On the descent, we were at a level where we could see those Type A’s flying through the canopy.

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Zip Liner

The rest of the tour involved visiting the many open air exhibits spread throughout the complex.  Many of the passengers opted out of this part of the tour because of the heat (over 90F).  They took shelter in the shade in the large building near the entrance.  We went through the exhibits – some of the walking involved hills and it was hot.

One local that didn’t mind the heat was the iguana (below) who just walked right by us.  He must be used to visitors.

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Ellen took a picture of me checking out the spiders including a tarantula.  That’s as close as she will get to the arachnids.

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At the Spider Exhibit

The facility had a netted butterfly habitat.  The place was full of Blue Morphos and other magnificent butterflies.  While I find the butterflies pretty and interesting, being in the habitat always makes me itchy (don’t know why).  In any event, we did see some great specimens.

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Mimicking an Owl

One of the butterflies – a Blue Morpho -  found Ellen’s pick shoes particularly interesting because it landed and stayed.

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Ellen’s Blue Morpho Friend

Along with animals and butterflies, the facility also had some interesting plants including the Porcelain Tulip (below).

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After the exhibit tour, it was time for lunch, which was set up in a large hut near the entrance.

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Lunch Venue

The lunch offerings (buffet style) were interesting.  Included was a vegetarian pasta salad, beans (two types) and rice, fruit including sugar soaked plantains.  There were several salad dressings but no salad (we inquired but the servers said there wasn’t any salad).   Fruit juices and sweetened iced tea were included as drinks.  While the buffet was a little odd, the food itself was pretty good.

Lunch was pretty late and soon we were back on the bus and headed back to Puerto Quepos.

The sail away proved to be very scenic and I caught it from the back deck.  Included was a terrific sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

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Puerto Quepos Sail Away and Sunset

Since it was a port day, there was no Bistro in the Panorama Buffet.  We ate in the regular buffet - Pizza and salad with Orange Roughy.  Pretty good, especially the pizza when you get it when it comes out of the oven.

Tony Pace was the headliner tonight.  We had never seen him before but he was terrific.  He was a great singer but he threw in some terrific comic shtick.  A very entertaining evening. 

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Tony Pace

After the show, we went up to the Lookout Lounge to listen to the Domino Duo – they are very good (the vocalist is excellent).  I detected a slight accent and found out that the group was from Bulgaria.

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Domino Duo

Tomorrow, another relaxing sea day…

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