Category Archives: North America

Living on Island Time

The Hemingway HouseThe Gardens Hotel 1The Gardens Hotel 2The Gardens Hotel 3The Gardens Hotel 4The Gardens Hotel 5The Gardens Hotel 6The Gardens Hotel 7Our Veranda at The Gardens HotelThe Gardens Hotel 8The Gardens Hotel 9The Gardens Hotel 10Playing with a Polydactle CatThe Pool at the Hemingway HouseHemingway's Writing StudioOn Island TimePalm Trees at the Hemingway HouseKeep Off of the Furniture - Except for the CatsExploring the Hemingway HouseGiant PawsThe End of the RoadA ManateeSailing in the KeysSunset and Tall Ships 1Sunset and Tall Ships 2Becoming a Tall Ship SailorThe Key West LighthouseThe Southernmost Point - AlmostVictorian Key WestThe Customs HouseAt the Mell Fisher Maritime Museum 1At the Mell Fisher Maritime Museum 2At the Mell Fisher Maritime Museum 3At the Mell Fisher Maritime Museum 4At the Mell Fisher Maritime Museum 5At the Mell Fisher Maritime Museum 6At the Mell Fisher Maritime Museum 7At the Mell Fisher Maritime Museum 8Iguanas Eating LunchBegging Snorkeling in the Keys 1Snorkeling in the Keys 2Snorkeling in the Keys 3Snorkeling in the Keys 4Snorkeling in the Keys 5Snorkeling in the Keys 6Exploring the KeysPelicans A Ragtop Day!Kayaking in the Mangroves 1Kayaking in the Mangroves 2Kayaking in the Mangroves 3Music on a Pontoon Boat - SnappersMiami Beach Miami at NightA UFO?The Moon Setting Over MiamiLincoln MallSunset Over MiamiCrusin' the StripArt Deco South Beach 1Art Deco South Beach 2Art Deco South Beach 3Art Deco South Beach 4South BeachArt Deco South Beach 5The View From Our HotelThe AtlanticBreakfast in South BeachArt Deco South Beach 6Old FloridaRiding a Bike in South BeachThe Key Biscayne Lighthouse 1The Key Biscayne Lighthouse 2Through the PalmsThe Key Biscayne Lighthouse 3The Key Biscayne Lighthouse 4Cruising with the Top DownThe Requisite Convertible Picture
There we sat at the edge of Marathon Key in a parking area at the beginning of the Seven Mile Bridge. The rain that had been accompanying us for the whole drive had finally broken and, while the dark clouds were still threatening, we were determined to complete the last part of the drive with the top down.  The only problem was it was the first time we had ever rented a convertible and we had no idea how to get it to go down! We had done the obvious things like releasing the latch and pushing the button that had an image of the car with the top opening on it, but all we got was a warning that the top was not secure and a beep. As any modern, tech savvy person would do, we pulled up YouTube on our phone and watched as a helpful person walked us through the steps.  Armed with our new knowledge we walked around to the tiny trunk and removed all of the luggage that we had so carefully shoe-horned in a few hours before in Miami and then we hooked the top divider into its notches, thus eliminating any useful space in the trunk.  We pushed the button and the top effortlessly opened and fell into the space that our luggage had occupied – It was going to be a ragtop day! We shoved whatever we could fit back into the trunk and then we put everything else in the back seat.  We would be completing the ride with the top down, but we were going to look a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies doing it!  We eased our brand new, silver, Super Sport Camaro back out onto A1A and let its power rocket us up to speed as we headed west on the Seven Mile Bridge. Continue reading »

Where the Jungle Meets the Sea

The Eyelash Viper A Squirrel MonkeyA Capuchin Monkey From Our BalconyFrom Our Balcony 1Hotel Costa Verde 1Where the Jungle Meets the Sea 1A Perfect Panorama - Manuel AntonioWhere the Jungle Meets the Sea 2Where the Jungle Meets the Sea 3Where the Jungle Meets the Sea 4Looking Out Over the PacificA Three-Toed SlothIn the JungleThe PacificAt the Edge of the CliffButtresses Exploring Manuel Antonio 1The Forest of Manuel AntonioExploring Manuel Antonio 2Exploring Manuel Antonio 3Exploring Manuel Antonio 4Exploring Manuel Antonio 5Exploring Manuel Antonio 6Exploring Manuel Antonio 7Exploring Manuel Antonio 8Exploring Manuel Antonio 9Exploring Manuel Antonio 10Exploring Manuel Antonio 11Exploring Manuel Antonio 12Exploring Manuel Antonio 13Exploring Manuel Antonio 14From Our Balcony 2From Our Balcony 3From Our Balcony - Howler MonkeysFrom Our Balcony 4The Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 1The Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 2The Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 3The Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 4The Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 5A Chameleon at RainmakerThe Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 6The Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 7The Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 8The Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 9The Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 10The Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 11The Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 12The Hanging Bridges of Rainmaker 13Paddling to Isla Ballena 1Paddling to Isla Ballena 2Paddling to Isla Ballena 3Paddling to Isla Ballena 4Paddling to Isla Ballena 5Paddling to Isla Ballena 6Paddling to Isla Ballena 7Paddling to Isla Ballena 8The Lone Palm - Isla BallenaThe Sea Cave 1The Sea Cave 2Exploring the Sea CavePaddling to Isla Ballena 9The Sunset Over the Pacific 1The Sunset Over the Pacific 2El AvionThe Little Brown SnakeOn a Night WalkCreatures of the NightThe Active Eyelash ViperHotel Costa Verde 2Hotel Costa Verde 3Hotel Costa Verde 4One Last Plato Tipico Hotel Costa Verde 5
We were considering going to the Caribbean coast for the remainder of our stay in Costa Rica. We asked a few people in Monteverde how long it should take us to drive there and they each told us something different, ranging from a manageable 6 hour journey to an epic, stay-in-the-car-for-the-rest-of-the-day slog of 10+ hours, and each of them gave us their answer while making a face that told us they though it was way too far for us to consider in a day’s journey. Google Maps was the most optimistic, suggesting a comical 5-hour driving time – We knew that was not likely, since we had had to double the Google Maps driving time everywhere we had gone in Costa Rica.

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In Search of the Resplendent Quetzal

The Resplendent QuetzalExploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 1Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 2Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 3Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 4Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 5Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 6Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 7Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 8Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 9Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 10Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 11Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 12Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 13Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 14Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 15Maria Spots the QuetzalThe Search is OverExploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 16Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 17Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 18Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 19Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 20Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 21Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 22Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 23The Ecolodge San Luis 1The Ecolodge San Luis 2Eyelash Viper - Ecolodge San LuisTarantula and Babies - Ecolodge San LuisThe Fig Tree RestaurantScorpion in Our RoomMonteverde Cloud Forest LodgeScorpion!A Squirrel at the LodgeThe Pacific OceanA Traffic Jam
Monteverde was one of Costa Rica’s top attractions. Its cloud forests formed an otherworldly landscape of misty forest vistas and rolling mountains that are home to a stunning array of wildlife. It is a bird-watchers’ paradise that draws people from all over the world who come hoping to get a glimpse of its most famous avian resident the emerald green and red resplendent quetzal. The main town in the region is Santa Elena, a compact tourist town with a laid-back feeling about it. Continue reading »

The Mysterious Rio Celeste

The Rio Celeste 1Nuevo ArenalLeaf-Cutter AntsA Frog in the ForestAn Interesting Bug in Nuevo ArenalLooking over Lago ArenalDriving in Costa RicaThe Rio Celeste 2A Scene From My DreamsIn the JungleTenorioThe blue RiverThe Rio Celeste 3Hot Springs in Rio CelesteCrossing the Blue RiverLos Teñidores A Fun BridgeCabinas Piuri 1Cabinas Piuri 2Cabinas Piuri 3Cabinas Piuri 4Cabinas Piuri 5Cabinas Piuri 6Cabinas Piuri 7Howler Monkeys 1Howler Monkeys 2Plato TipicoEnjoying the National DishOn the Road in Costa Rica
Driving in Costa Rica was proving to be a frustrating experience.  The distances were short – Costa Rica was about the size of North Georgia – but the travel times were long.  We were learning that if Google Maps said it should take two and a half hours that we needed to double it and if a Costa Rican said it should take an hour and a half it would be more like four. The trouble was that the posted speed limits were slow and the roads were uniformly bad.  There were some nice paved roads, but even they were clogged with traffic and slowed by frequent towns and even more frequent school zones.  There were unmarked speed bumps, absurdly aggressive drivers, potholes the size of small cars – we were driving a small car – and animals that seemed to like it better in the road than in the jungle.  Once you left the pavement the roads left the realm of frustrating and became comical.  The dirt roads were all paved with chunks of stone that were haphazardly spread out forming a somewhat treacherous cobblestone paving.  On the good dirt roads the going was slow and bumpy, and I had seen rocky creek beds that were better than the bad dirt roads.  To say that having four-wheel drive was a necessity in Costa Rica would be an understatement. Continue reading »

In the Shadow of the Volcano

Exploring Arenal 1Over the Caribbean La FortunaExploring Arenal 2Exploring Arenal 3Exploring Arenal 4Exploring Arenal 5Exploring Arenal 6A Butterfly - Arenal Monkey!Colorful Bark - ArenalExploring Arenal 7Exploring Arenal 8Lago ArenalVolcan Arenal
There we stood on the balcony overlooking the mist-shrouded peak of the volcano. To our left through the mist we could see the distant shores of the huge man made lake that shared the volcano’s name – Arenal. The thick mist filled my mind with mystery and set my imagination running wild. I knew there was a volcano there and I knew what it should look like, but the only hint I got was a small piece of steep, rocky slope on the mountain’s western flank and a bunch of misty whiteness. We decided to return to the lodge later for lunch and we turned our backs to the misty mountain and set off on our first walk in Costa Rica.

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