Sunday, June 5, 2011

Costa Rica

4 people asked Ben and me if we were on our honeymoon on this trip. I guess we should take that as a compliment right? Okay so here it is! The big post on our adventures!
FYI: I did so great without Claire, it was amazing. I missed her like crazy, but with Skyping once, calling a few times, and being so busy--I did really well!  I only teared-up twice, and had a hard time when our flight got canceled and our arrival home was pushed back 12 hours... but I know she had a blast and was in great hands. Our family loved us being gone. It was awesome for everyone!!  

So here is what went down in Central America! Thursday: Arenal Volcano Tour

After a 3-hour drive, a beeeautiful drive at that, we arrived deep in the rain forest at the Arenal Volcano. It is still an active volcano and erupted 10 months ago. When it gets close to erupting, you can see lava spewing down the sides. Unfortunately (or fortunately), we just got to see the smoke coming off the top. Totally cool.

{Yes, I do love Africa. But I love Costa Rica too}

You can see the markings of its eruption over the years. The guide said the volcano is hardly ever clear from clouds and was amazed that we had all day with a clear view.

Friday: We went to the COOLEST hot springs called Tabacon. Seriously, it was indescribably beautiful.

It was a massive place with natural hot springs spread up into the mountain-side. We basically had a bunch of pools and waterfalls to ourselves to explore and relax in.

All of these were taken by our wonderful self-timer...

After relaxing for hours at these pools, and a nice Asian dinner overlooking the volcano, we went to an viewpoint of the mountain and valley one last time:

Saturday: Floating safari and canyoning (made famous on the Bachelor)

A baby Caiman:

Howler monkeys (SO loud! And don't look tooo closely):


We also saw lots of cool birds, lizards (Basilisk and Iguana), fish, and cows:)

Then we went CANYONING. Definitely one of the coolest things we've ever done. Our group:

We basically hiked down a canyon and had to repel down 4 waterfalls in the process. The first was 20 feet tall, the second was 150 feet, third was 22 feet and the last was 220 feet tall! It was AWESOME.

Pictures can't even capture how beautiful this rainforest is. Here I am mid-air into the pool (went all the way under):

One of the funnest parts was when the guides had us line up in this small ravine while they blocked off the water (dammed it with their bodies), then on the count of 3, they let it flow over us and MAN did it flow. It was so powerful and lasted forever. I thought it would never stop and we'd just drown:)

Watch the picture (waterfall lasted a lot longer than in this series of pictures):


The view from our room:

Sunday: After Arenal (which, by the way, The Springs where the Bachelor stayed while here was just up the road), we took a boat across Lake Arenal, then took a long bumpy ride to Monte Verde.

Here we did a Canopy Tour, which included 13 zip-lines and a tour of the rain forest via the Hanging Bridges.  Zip-lining was INCREDIBLE.

The pictures don't do jack-squat to how beautiful the rain forest was:)

The Tarzan swing. Totally scary, but only 10 meter free-fall instead of the 90 meter (300 feet) free-fall we did in Zimbabwe HERE.

Monday: Another long bumpy ride took us to Guanacaste, which is the west coast area. SO much hotter, but we're here to hang on the beach, by the pool and get some RandR.

The view from our room here:

Lots of pool time. Actually, we've had a bit too much sun and are hanging out in the room today letting our skin rest.

Thursday morning (6am) we went deep sea fishing! It has always been something Ben has wanted to do and it was AWESOME. SO beautiful, too. We saw dolphins, sea snakes, and lots of cool fish.  We were out for 3 1/2 hours and caught 6 big fish!

4 of which, were MINE! Just call me a pro fisherman.

It was SUCH hard work reeling them in. I am so sore and have a couple bruises on my stomach from the initial jolt of pulling them in.  I caught two Mahi-Mahis, one Barracuda, and a Jack fish.  Ben caught one Jack fish and a Rooster fish:

Video of our fishing:

{All fish caught go to feed their families}

So much fun. One last stroll on the beach before leaving:

Costa Rica is breath-taking. Reminds us a lot of parts of Africa and Asia. So lush and green. This is rainy season but so far we've had great luck! We love traveling in the low season because we have most places to ourselves. It's so quiet, beautiful, and cheap!

Now we're home! We got in at midnight and I just ran up and watched Claire sleep. {Okay, so I got her out to hold her but she woke up so I put her back:) } When we saw her this morning, she got a huge smile and reached out for me! My heart. She's so big!! She seriously isn't even a baby anymore. She's walking non-stop and never crawls anymore. Her hair is longer, she's taller, and I weighed her this morning and she's gained a pound and a half (18.5 lbs)!! She usually only gains a pound a month so I don't know what they've been feeding her! :) She looks great and is so happy and healthy.

Oh and she sprouted a tooth no one knew about! Everyone was saying how she was sticking her tongue out so much lately and she looked really slobbery so I just felt in there and she has one tooth coming!! Exciting!  Such a great trip. So happy to be home.


Jordy said...

You have so many fun adventures! Thanks for sharing them with us :D

hilary said...

Wow. Your life is like a dream compared to my world. Ha! Looks like you guys had an amazing time. Maybe some day in like 50 years we'll be able to all the traveling you guys do. Glad you were able to get your mind off of how much you missed Claire for a little bit! I would have a hard time leaving Sophie, too. :)

Christie Blair said...

Sounds and looks like a lot of fun! I am jealous! The good thing though, is that Claire was still here so you weren't too tempted to stay there forever! ;)

Mrs. Jaybird said...

Wow--I couldn't stand being away from Copeland overnight in the hospital. I STILL can't imagine leaving my kids ANYWHERE even for just overnight!

Costa Rica looks beautiful!

Erin said...

Guys I am soooo JEALOUS!!! Looks liek you have so much fun, and you squeezed into one week all the things I got to do in two months! Isn't Tabacon the greatest place on earth? Arenal was my favorite place in Costa Rica, it was just so rainforesty :) I'm hoping to get Clark back there some day. Miss you guys!!

Erin said...

Sorry for all the typos, Henry is doing his best to type along with me :)

Tawnya said...

Oh My GOSH!!! What an amazing trip! Seriously! Amazing!

The Miller's said...

It looks like you guys had a blast!! I can't help but be jealous. I think that once you start traveling it's like a thirst that can't be quenched. I'm dying to go somewhere tropical...thanks for sharing your pictures so I can travel through you till we get to go haha

Unknown said...

Ok, you totally inspired Bradley and I to plan a REAL vacation for our 5 year wedding anniversary next year!! Looks like you guys had a blast. So many fun activities! I am so glad your family was able to watch the little one and so proud of you for leaving for so long. I always wonder if I'd have the strength to leave Max that long. Anyways, glad you went, thanks for sharing all the pics. Need to learn how to do the fun progression pic :D

Rachel said...

Looks like so much FUN! and beautiful too! Glad you are back safely. And you never had a look great Camille! I really like the one piece swimming suit you are wearing in the first couple of pictures. Where did you get that?

mckenzie said...

Camille, this looks amazing!! I am so jealous!! So jealous that you are totally rocking the post baby body. Good for you!!

RachelBQuist said...

This looks like so much fun. Costa Rica is definitely on my places to go list! And I know it's been said before but you look so great! I'm a lot jealous over here!!

The Imperfect Pie said...

love these pics. looks like it was a vacation well spent. love ya