31.03.2009 33 °C
Buenos Dias (Good day) all.
We have journeyed north by public bus, which we are finding a lot cheaper than the regular tourist transport shuttles, to the town of Liberia. It is a very dry and hot climate here and is famous for its Guanacastan cowboys (Sabaneros). A little like the North American kind you may be familiar with, but with a more Spanish flavour.
They like their maize (corn) here and even make milkshakes with corn flour or corn grits, flavoured with cinnamon. They call these drinks Horchata and they are actually quite tasty. The Guanacastans even make corn pancakes and donuts. Everything moves slowly here except for the cars, which will not stop for pedestrians. In fact, this is the case all across the country and Costa Rica has a lot of pedestrian fatalities.
We spent a lot of our time here at the national park Rincón de la Vieja, which is dominated by two active volcanoes. We spent two days hiking to the two prettiest waterfalls we have ever seen, and spectacular views. The waterfalls are clear blue due to all the volcanic minerals present in the water, and there is too much sulphur in the water to be able to drink it. These provided an oasis to cool down after our long hot dry windy up-hill hikes. The park is very volcanically active, and we passed many steam vents (called fumaroles) and boiling mud pits which is between 75 and 106 degrees Celsius. Visitors have badly burned when walking in the wrong areas and treading through the thin crust.
The park has three out of four of the monkey species found in Costa Rica. We heard the Howler monkeys (apparently the loudest land animal on earth, with the blue whale being the loudest animal overall). We got up close to the white-faced capuchins who descended from the treetops to check us out. They were very playful. Meanwhile Will was mesmerised by a beautiful little bird singing to us a few feet away, and was too busy trying to get the perfect photo to be paying any attention to the capuchins which had come right up to Sarah. The little bird was a long-tailed Manikin, and the boys live and sing together to attract females.
Another highlight of the park were our encounters with the beautiful and graceful black-handed spider monkeys which hung-out in the trees above us while feeding on flower-buds and just hanging around. These monkeys have very long arms, and often hang just with their prehensile tails (like having an extra arm). We watched them swing off into the distance over the valley.
Well, Hasta luego amigos, until next time…