The fourth stop on our Panama Canal cruise adventure was Limon, Costa Rica (first: Aruba, second: Colombia, third: Panama). And, woah! Mountains! I knew Costa Rica had rain forests, but I never expected the gorgeous mountain landscape. As a mountain lover, this was a pleasant surprise. Our excursion for Limon was a jungle river tour followed by the Veragua Rainforest tour – you won’t believe the animals we saw in the wild!
Thank you so much to Princess Cruises for hosting Wesley and me on our long overdue nearly forgotten honeymoon. We had a blast, and of course opinions expressed are my own, unless they’re Wesley’s. In which case, I’ll let you know.
Pulling into port at Limon was breathtaking. I stood at the deck railing watching the mountains until my coffee ran cold. I am a mountain addict. Have I mentioned, I really like mountains? They’re like the ocean, but tall, so more people can see them. Thank you mountains. We appreciate you.
Also, I think more people should have colorful houses and shops. I just can’t help but smile when I see pink, and green, and turquoise buildings! Dear HOA, let’s rethink the neighborhood color palette, eh?
The first leg of our excursion was a river cruise through the jungle. It was swampy, hot, and really really really beautiful. I feel like I’ve been using that word a lot. Perhaps it’s time to pull up a thesaurus, but the fact remains. It was beautiful.
Wesley and I are junkies for those shows that show how people live around the globe, so seeing the homes and businesses along the river was really neat. I’ve always dreamed of traveling the world and living in vastly different environments for a period of time. This had my wheels totally turning. It’s something I love about cruises too – being able to see so many environments in one trip.
Do you see the sloth??? DO YOU SEE THE SLOTH?!!! P.S. There were sloths in the trees! Also monkeys, and snakes, and lizards! And birds too. The guide was very adamant that no one heckle the monkeys (why would you heckle a monkey?!) because they will fling poo at you. I have five kids. I do not need poo flinging on my grown-up only vacation. No. Thank. You.
Following the river tour we had some fresh fruit for snacks (*ahem* the BEST pineapple I have ever had. Period. Full stop.) and then hopped on the bus to head up up up to the top of a mountain for our tour at the Veragua Rainforest and Research Center. As much as I love mountains (a lot), I’m not a super huge fan of driving up them. But no one else seemed worried, so I put on a brave(ish) face and we made it there alive and well.
Almost as soon as we arrived, we saw a cute little snake (it really was tiny!) hanging out on a palm tree limb next to the handrail. The guide told is it was an eyelash viper. And if it struck you, you had 15 minutes to get to a hospital. But we were in the middle of the jungle. So please don’t try to touch it. Make a wide berth.
We did just that.
After walking around and seeing the facilities for a bit, we took a gondola ride up and down the mountain. This was my favorite part of the day. The views were incredible and we saw several more monkeys in the tree! I also practiced my Spanish a little with the gondola operator.
We were so high up that we could see our cruise ship in port even though we had driven over an hour to get to where we were! The facility also offered zip-lining, but I’m a bit of a chicken, so we stuck with the gondola.
We also saw wild bananas that the guide said are terrible and the monkeys won’t even eat, a teensy tiny red tree frog (again, super poisonous), and wild culantro. Not to be confused with cilantro, which is what we grow in the U.S. Despite the different spelling and leaf shape, they smell and taste very similar!
At the base of the gondola was a climb to see the two-tiered Puma Waterfall. The overlook was super close to the waterfall itself, so I didn’t get any great pictures, but I can assure you it was quite pretty. I’m not quite as addicted to waterfalls as I am mountains, but I’d say they’re up in my top three favorite naturey things. We do a lot of hiking when we travel, and finding a mountain with a waterfall is basically vacation jackpot. So, jackpot Costa Rica. Well done.
Before hopping back on the bus, we were treated to an authentic local meal of arroz con pollo with red beans and plantain. It was delicious. Really, really, really delicious. And I’m saying that as someone who grew up in south Florida and has had a whole lot of arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) in her life. Yum.
Behind those clouds is the highest point in Costa Rica and the national park there is called La Amistatd (translation: friendship) because it borders Panama. From that vantage point, you can see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans!
April is an expert foodie and consummate traveler who has honed the craft of developing simple delicious recipes and finding fun places to explore! You can find her content featured on MSN, Huffington Post, News 6, BuzzFeed, and more! (read more...)