Costa Rica: Excursion to Rio Celeste, Sloths, and Cortez Waterfalls

We booked two tours with Frank the Tank before we left for Costa Rica. It was a good thing we thought ahead because he didn’t have much space available for when we were there. The tour guide picks you up at the hotel reception area (or in our hotel, right outside the gate). There were about ten people from our resort on this tour. We stopped in the town to pick up two other clients. We were surprised to find that four of the twelve people on the our were from Canada. Our first stop was at a souvenir shop so that people could change into their bathing suits and get cash from the ATM. I wandered around briefly to see prices and variety and made sure to use the rest room. Cortez Waterfalls was where we could swim. However, once we got there we only had 20 minutes to enjoy the area and there were howler monkeys that were much more interesting to us. We also didn’t feel like being wet for the entire day. The waterfall was beautiful. The monkeys were difficult to see, but very easy to hear. Jef had his zoom camera and got pictures of a mom and baby.

After the waterfalls we drove into the rainforest area. We saw two sloths in trees right from the road. I don’t know how our driver saw them. They look like a nest or just a blob. We stopped at a place that you walk through the rainforest. (There were quite a few of these areas advertised on the road.) We were offered coffee and wafer cookies and it was pouring rain. We were the only people in our group that had rain jackets. Most of the group bought a poncho before we went exploring. Our guide took us on the trail and pointed out various animals and plants for us.

Here is our first discovery, a red eyed tree frog.

This is how difficult it was to see the sloths in the tree. They just look like part of it. However, we were lucky that one girl was close to the ground.

She was so cute! The guide tried to get her to lift her head, but she was not interested. She pulled it back once and we got to see her cute little face, but she hid it again too fast for me to take a picture. This was the coolest animal encounter because it was in the wild!

Can you see the hidden sloth?

The blue jean poison dart frog was so exciting to see because they are so tiny! I was hoping to see a poison dart frog while in Costa Rica. The first picture shows how small. I think it was about the size of a nickel.

We were really lucky to see this toucan. It’s one that is not normally seen. The driver spotted it for us. Our next stop was for lunch, but before we ate, they had an area where you could check out butterflies. It was pretty impossible to get a picture of them in flight. They were a beautiful light blue color, but when they landed and closed their wings they looked like this:

The butterflies liked people with white shirts or hats and bananas. I was able to order a plain lunch for this trip, which made me happy. The tour guide made sure that we had a plain grilled chicken with fries. His reaction when I said I was allergic to chile dulce was that everything in Costa Rica was made with them. He was incredulous. At first all he could think of was chicken nuggets, but when he offered others grilled chicken, he conceded that we could eat that too. It was delicious. We left for Rio Celeste in the Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio. We were told that we would hike a little more than a mile, but to get to the waterfall it was 253 steps both ways. I asked if we would really be able to see anything considering it was too foggy to even see the volcano on the way there. The tour guide opted not to answer me, which was an answer in itself.

The hike was very wet. We were glad that we had on our old sneakers. Since I have weak ankles, I would have preferred hiking boots, but there were people in our group wearing Keen sandals with closed toes, so it’s all about your own comfort. It was more difficult to climb because of the elevation increase. We opted not to climb all the way to the bottom of the waterfall. If the weather was favorable and the water was bright blue, we may have tried.

We stopped at a coffee plantation on the way out of the Volcano Tenorio area. They had hiking trails, rented some of their land for oxygen (the government’s way of keeping things wild), and even made some chocolate. They showed us how to make the coffee the old fashioned way. We had to help grind the beans and then some people volunteered to push the hot water through the drip. I am not a huge fan of coffee, but the coffee in Costa Rica was delicious. This was probably my favorite. They also gave us some carrot cake, a dessert with coconut and caramel, and a chocolate covered with brown sugar. It was all tasty.

I really loved this tour. Our tour guide gave us lots of interesting facts about Costa Rica on our drive, the driver was always on the look out for interesting animals and birds for us, and it was packed with fun things to do. The hike to Rio Celeste was not for the faint of heart, but it was really cool walking through the rainforest. I would highly recommend doing the Rio Celeste tour with Frank the Tank.

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