Sunday, December 8, 2013

Costa Rica - Day 6 (Part 2) - March 21, 2013

     After a long drive interrupted occasionally by pulling off to take a better look at a few birds, and getting lost, we finally arrived at the Costa Rica Nature Pavilion late in the afternoon. We had heard about the place through a friend who is a professional naturalist, and gained the privilege of being able to stay on the property before it became available for reservations (visit Trip Advisor for more info). This place is a National Geographic Tour Destination for 2012 and 2013, and it is easy to see why! It is run by a wonderful father and son team who live on the property, and care very much about conservation and eco-tourism. The Casa, where we stayed, was built far back from the road so it was possible to hear the sounds of nature with very little interruption from the sounds of "civilization". In the back of the house was a beautiful balcony that overlooked many acres of treetops, extending into the Tirimbina Biological Reserve. Hummingbird feeders were hung everywhere for guest's enjoyment.

View from the balcony of the Nature Pavilion Casa  (the railing is not curved, that is just an artifact of taking a panoramic photo)

The surprisingly comfortable wooden bench on the balcony. I ended up accidentally falling asleep on this bench one evening.

The kitchen of the Nature Pavilion Casa

The front door of the Nature Pavilion Casa. Much like barn doors.

The living area of the Nature Pavilion Casa. Perfect for late night card games!

The bedroom area at the Nature Pavilion Casa. Plenty of space to spread out, which was welcome at this point in the trip.


The view from inside the Casa looking out onto the balcony. The house is built to have an open air feel, and I would say that goal was accomplished very well.

Only a few yards away from the house was the Nature Pavilion itself which was essentially a giant wooden pavilion with places to sit and enjoy the birds. We ended up spending quite a bit of time here, only ripping ourselves away when there was a lull in activity or when absolutely necessary. Special feeding platforms are set up very close to the pavilion where the birds are served a variety of fruits each day making photography not only possible, but highly enjoyable even with a point-and-shoot camera. There is also a trail that runs through the forest behind the house and ends at the bank of the Sarapiqui River.

     Since it was late in the day, and we were in need of some relaxation after the whole ordeal of getting lost, we decided to spend some time getting settled in rather than going birding right away. We ended up having a very nice talk with the owners and asked them for a restaurant recommendation for dinner. They suggested that we drive down the road a bit and go to their favorite place (pictured below). It was essentially just an open-air shack with the token dog hanging around outside the entrance, and a few coolers set up behind the counter for all the Coca-cola and other drinks. It doesn't look like much, but the food was absolutely delicious and since it is right off the main road, the people watching was fantastic! Our waitress was absolutely delightful even with the language barrier, and we tipped well, so she was excited to see us each night and was very attentive to our needs.

The restaurant that became our favorite dinner spot while we were at the Nature Pavilion




One of the most delicious pork chops I have ever eaten!

     After eating our dinner, we headed back to the Nature Pavilion, being very careful on the roads. As we were told by our hosts, the traffic police don't work after dark, and people know this, so the roads get pretty crazy once dark falls. We found this to be very true. For example, there were many motorbikes without working headlights. In an attempt to be "safe" some of the riders had either strapped a flashlight onto the handlebars or were simply holding it as they drove.

The Nature Pavilion Casa at night

Just another friendly bathroom Gecko. I kinda miss this little guy!

     Once we got back we grabbed our headlamps and flashlights and headed out on the trail for a night hike..... but those details will have to wait for the next post....












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