Wedding of Roopal and Ankoor

On Thursday, August 30, I left Costa Rica and flew for a weekend to Detroit in the USA.
I was invited to the wedding of Ankoor and Roopal, whom I got to know through José Luis. As both the family of the bride and of the groom are originally from India, the wedding was celebrated in the traditional Indian style. This was definitely quite an experience for us..... almost 700 invited guests, three days of ceremonies and rituals, as well as plenty of Indian food and music!!
Unfortunately I am still not able to get hold of the many pictures we (well, it was actually José Luis) did take during this really unforgettable weekend, but as soon as I have them, I will share a few shots with you. Therefore be patient and watch out for those pictures of José Luis and me in the traditional Indian outfits....... really not to be missed!

Good bye Central America...

... the three weeks with Esther and Romy in Costa Rica were a really great time and went by just that fast! Dear Esther, dear Romy, thank you very much for having made this long journey in order to spend some time with me on the road...
At the end of August it was also time to say good bye to Central America, where I had spent the first three months of my journey.

Before flying on to Ecuador I actually had a very nice and interesting weekend in Detroit (USA) lying before me. I was invited to attend a traditional, three days Indian wedding with more than 600 guests.... besides the bride, Roopal and the groom, Ankoor, I was going to see another very important person, my boyfriend José Luis, whom I haven't seen since I left Switzerland in June!
I will put some pictures of this very special event to the blog shortly...

Tortuguero National Park

One of the most impressive places we visited in Costa Rica, was our last stop in Tortuguero National Park.

The park stretches north along the Caribbean coast and is located on a narrow bit of land between the beach and a canal. There are no cars in Tortuguero and you can actually reach the park only by boat. One of the major world-renowned attractions of the park are turtles, as it is the most important hatchery in the western Caribbean for green sea turtles, hawksbill, loggerhead and giant leatherback turtles.

We went on a night tour to observe the turtles coming up to the beach to dig their nests and lay their eggs, a process that easily takes a couple of hours. There are no cameras allow on this tour in order not to disturb the giant female turtles, which weight a few hundred kilograms.
The next day we went for a walk along the beach and our guide was digging out some newly hatched, tiny turtles; they were so cute and it took them quite a while to get used to their new environment and to find their way dawn to the water......

Manuel Antonio National Park

Some of the nicest beaches (well, this is at least my opinion) in Costa Rica are located in Manuel Antonio, another national park at the Central Pacific coast. There are monkeys all over the place and they are not shy at all but are coming up to you at the beach and even trying to steal some of your food..... Romy and Esther were taking loads of pictures and even have one of them and some monkeys, but I think I better have this censored and not on here!


Impressions from around our hotel (the very nice Costa Verde hotel with the slogan "still more monkeys than people", which was really true - we had monkeys even at our front door...)

Catamaran tour with sun and fun, barbecue, snorkeling, dolphin watching (we did not see any..) and turtle observation


The beaches of Guanacaste

After one week of volcanoes and natural parks, it was finally time to go to the beach!
We first stopped in Brasilito where we spent four days in a really nice hotel and went to various beaches in the area. From Brasilito we drove along the coast further south and stopped in Samara for another two nights. While in Brasilito we also made a one day excursion to the Palo Verde National Park, where we observed birds, crocodiles, monkeys and even saw a boa constrictor.....

Palo Verde National Park

Rincón de la Vieja

From Arenal we drove further north to the national park of Rincón de la Vieja, another volcano with hot thermal spas, geysers and hot steam bubbles coming out of the underground. As there is also quite some wildlife to observe, we hired a guide and made a nice five hour hike in the park, but actually our Romy spotted more animals than the so called expert......


Volcanoes Poás and Arenal

Esther, Romy and myself started our tour of Costa Rica with the visit of two of the most impressive volcanoes in Costa Rica, the volcanoes Poás and Arenal. We were very lucky to see the peak of Arenal without any clouds and we could also observe the glowing hot and red lava streams making its way down the mountain at night.

Volcano Poás

Making new friends..., quite easy for three
blonds in Costa Rica

Traditional oxcart with freight
from Switzerland!
Jimmy (the small one in the middle), our
companion for three weeks

Volcano Arenal, three Swiss ladies on the road/horse (middle), view from our hotel (on the right)

Arenal at sunrise (we got up at 5:15am to take this picture)


San Jose, time to say goodbye to the Tucan group...

........but also to say hello to Esther and Romy, who arrived from Switzerland on August 11 and would spend the next three weeks travelling around Costa Rica with me!!

group dinner on the last evening

Joe, Megan and Anna

Romy and Esther on volcan Poás the day after their arrival from Switzerland

Island of Ometepe

From Granada we went on to the Island of Ometepe in lake Nicaragua, the largest freshwater island in the world. The lake is actually that big that it felt like being at the ocean.... we spent two nights in a very remote lodge and it almost felt like being at the end of the world! While some of the group went on a hike I decided to explore the island on horseback, a very nice and relaxing experience as the horses were very gentle and well behaved :-)

Granada / Nicaragua

From Honduras our trip continued to Nicaragua, where we spent two days in the beautiful colonial town of Granada. Our nice hotel was right in the city centre so we had plenty of opportunities to explore the centre and its small market. On Monday afternoon we visited the nearby Masaya Market and went up to the active Masaya volcano, where we also explored some bat caves........ quite scary!

Masaya Volcano