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Trip exposes travelers to Costa Rica's mammal diversity

Now that we've been back from Costa Rica for a couple of weeks, we can't help but continue to relive the experience.

While in Costa Rica, we adjusted quickly from the minus 20-degree temperatures here in Minnesota to the 80-degree weather there.

When we first arrived there, we settled in for two nights at Tamarindo Beach. The ocean views from our rooms were breathtaking, and the hotel was well-decorated with manicured flowers, heated pools and waterfalls.

Watching the surfers at sunset each night is a picture that I'm likely never to forget.

Traveling into the Monteverde Cloud Forest, where the trees grow taller than 100 feet, nature walks allowed us to view the natural beauty there.


Even though Costa Rica is small on the map, the Monteverde Cloud Forest contains 4 percent of the world’s living species — more than 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds and more than 100 reptiles. There are also thousands of species of insects and more than 900 species of plants.

Costa Rica also has the largest diversity of orchids in the world, more than 500 total.

At one point during the trip, we visited one of the world's largest butterfly gardens. The Blue Morpho was the star of the show.

Some people from our group chose to zip-line as part of a canopy tour for a more scenic view of trees and foliage. It was a unique sensation for sure, as they are outfitted to zip over 12 cables going about 35 mph.

One day we traveled to the Arenol resort to see the Arenol volcano. While there, we also drove through areas with blooming bushes, pineapple farms, banana and coconut trees, sugar cane and coffee plantations.

To experience more of the scenery, we took a boat trip in a panga (covered canoe) on the Cano Negro River. We made frequent stops to see the howler monkeys, sloths and exotic birds.

On our last day, we went to see the Poas Volcano in the Central Highlands, which is 27 miles from San Jose. At the base of the crater, there were fruit farms and huge, ornamental flower farms of roses and lilies.

With weather temperatures of at least 70 degrees, it was tough to pack up our sandals and sun tan lotion, but everyone made it safely, and we're glad to be back.

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