Happy New Year!
Surprise – I’m still alive! I can’t even remember the last time I posted (and didn’t even look to see since it’s embarrassing). How lame is that?! And I won’t even lie by saying that I’ll try to do better in 2012 since I probably won’t! I started a new job in early 2011, and the rest of the year was just a blur of work, work, work. And unfortunately, as it looks right now, 2012 will likely be even more work. That’s not a very happy or positive way to start out the new year, but I figure I should be realistic and not expect it to be easy. Then maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised if it’s actually better (or less work) than expected. That being said, with my job taking up about 99% of my time and not being feasible (distance or otherwise) to bike to, if I do post, it may not be about biking. I actually didn’t initially begin the blog to post ONLY about biking, but just a word of warning for those who may not care to read about other things!
I can’t complain about the past 3 weeks though, since I was off beginning December 16th, and even though I needed to be working, my husband and I took a much needed vacation! We had a relaxing trip to Costa Rica and spent time in rain forests and on the beach. Of course, now that we’re back I can hardly remember it already, so maybe looking at the photos will help!
Thanks to A & E from Two Pitties in the City (Chicago blog featuring two cute Pitties, Mr. B and Miss M) for giving me the idea of going to Costa Rica, and specifically of staying at the Toucan Rescue Ranch while there. They blogged about their stay at the rescue over a year ago, and it had lingered in the back of my mind ever since. Once we decided on Costa Rica (it’s just a 4 hour direct flight from Atlanta), we knew that we had to stay at the Toucan Rescue Ranch.
The name implies that it’s a rescue for toucans, but it’s actually so much more. While they actually began as a toucan rescue due to the need, they’ve since taken in all sorts of other animals, including macaws, parrots, owls, sloths, a kinkajou, a spider monkey, and even a couple of porcupines. And as if that isn’t enough, they have chickens, geese, 4 (yes FOUR!!) Dobermans, and 3 shelties!! I honestly don’t see how they manage to keep it all running, along with having guests. They currently have just 2 employees working for them, but had hired an extra for the holiday season due to being a busy time. They are in the process of obtaining nonprofit status, so if you ever want to make a donation to a good cause (or want to visit yourself!), this would definitely be it. All of their funding for the upkeep of the animals basically comes from donations.
Other than donations, funding is supplemented by guests staying there or tours, so they just built a second guest house. We had the honor of being the very first guests to stay in the new house!
I can’t even begin to describe everything we experienced while in Costa Rica, so will let photos do most of the talking. Rather than completely overwhelm you with photos though, I’ll limit this post to our first 6 nights while staying at the Toucan Rescue Ranch and then will do another post with photos once we left the San Isidro/San Jose area for Manuel Antonio on the coast. So other than the sneak peak photo of sunset on the beach, you’ll have to check back for more! That guarantees that I’ll have at least two posts this year – haha!
I’ll begin with all the animals at the Toucan Rescue Ranch, so here are several of the cute resident sloths. All of the sloths currently at the rescue are the two-toed variety (meaning they have two long claws on their front legs, but still three on the rear legs). Two-toed sloths are nocturnal and sleep a minimum of about 18 hours per day!
Other than toucans, there were a wide variety of other birds on the ranch, including owls (my favorites), scarlet macaws, and parrots.
I especially loved Lorita, the parrot who would wave and say “Hola, Lorita” if you greeted her. But her version was more like “Hola, Looooreeeeeetaaa.” :) Then she would begin singing and dancing while another parrot laughed. It was hilarious. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a good photos of Lorita for some reason , but the photo below is of one of the parrots in the same enclosure with her (Lorita didn’t have red markings, so I believe this was the laughing parrot!).
Another of our favorites at the rescue was Jou Jou, the kinkajou. She was so cute and cuddly looking. My husband got to go into her enclosure with Jorge one night and she just wanted to play (they are nocturnal animals as well). Then she promptly ran up his arm to perch on top of his head – haha!
Issy, the spider monkey:
We chose to stay outside San Jose at the Toucan Rescue Ranch primarily for the unique experience, but also wanted to experience other areas, therefore did several day trips while there. Leslie and Jorge, the owners of the Toucan Rescue Ranch, were most helpful, and went above and beyond helping to arrange tours, so we did several touristy things such as the LaPaz Waterfall Gardens, a riverboat/canopy tram tour, and ziplining through the rainforest (NOT my idea I have to say, but I went along with it and survived)!
In the zipline photo, I think my eyes were closed and I was holding my breath! Little did I know that the tour consisted of 20 (yes TWENTY) ziplines, the last of which was over a mile long, face down. I was fully prepared for following through, but wasn’t actually thinking there would be so many – I guess I should get more information upfront in the future, right?!
LaPaz was a very touristy activity, but nice to see. They had a butterfly garden as well as waterfalls, and hundreds of absolutely gorgeous hummingbirds of all sizes. I’d never seen hummingbirds other than the tiny ones that fly around so fast that they’re a blur.
So there you have it – the very condensed version of our stay at the Toucan Rescue Ranch and our first 6 nights in Costa Rica. I’m leaving out a ton, but don’t want to completely bore you with a million details. Feel free to email me directly if you’d like more info!