Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Costa Rica Alive! Animals

For my second installment of my Costa Rica Alive! series, I'm going to focus on animals (the first was birds and butterflies--click here to see that one). Again, this will be just a small sampling of what is in Costa Rica, but these are the ones WE have seen--and most importantly, had the camera ready for!

I'll start out with soft-and-cuddly and move to NOT-so-soft-and-cuddly--in a very unscientific way. And for those of you who are wondering: Yes, I do consider frogs soft and cuddly! They are my favorite animal, after all. Hope you enjoy!

Holding a baby howler monkey at the animal shelter.

A baby skunk at the animal shelter

Our youngest holding a kinkajou at the animal shelter.

This agouti was very interested in my sneaker!

Okay, maybe this frog isn't that soft-n-cuddly!
a cool looking crab

a Boa
I know that posting the picture of the Boa is something a lot of other bloggers might not do--after all it "scares" some people away. But let me diverge for just a second onto one of my pet peeves: people who ask me how I could possibly want to move to Costa Rica with all the snakes, bugs, or whatever they deem to be an impossible animal to live near. Well, I don't want to sugar coat things. There are some dangerous snakes in Costa Rica. Will you see one every day? No. One a year? Maybe. But before you all run away and swear off Costa Rica, let's have a little reality check. I live in California right now, and we have black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders, and scorpions. In our houses. I've seen black widows in my house. Friends have been bitten by black widow and recluse spiders. At my daughter's cross country meet this year I saw this sign:

Mountain lions AND rattlesnakes! My daughter, and all the other cross country kids, ran through fields with mountain lions and rattlesnakes nearby--without batting an eye. Heck, I grew up in Old Lyme, Connecticut--made famous by Lyme's disease and Lyme ticks. When my husband contracted Lyme's disease after a visit to my parents' house one summer, his doctor out here actually said, "There are people that really live in Lyme?" Umm, yep! And it's a beautiful place, too! (BTW, my husband recovered fine from his bout with the disease) So, all that to say no matter where you live there will be something to make other people question why you would want to live where "fill-in-the-blank" lives. Before you throw Costa Rica out as a place to visit or live because it has snakes (and other "scary things"), consider what creepy crawlies are lurking near (or in!) your home right now. Doesn't it just boil down to what you've grown used to? So, the next time you're tempted to say to someone, "How could you possibly live there?" just take a deep breath and think about what you're living with. Ok, off my soap box now, and on with the good stuff. :-)

Although there are lots of exotic animals in Costa Rica, you can still enjoy seeing some "normal" animals as well!

Baby kittens at one of the restaurants

This dog visited us almost every day at the house we rented. Don't know where
she came from, but she was fun to have around! Any locals recognize her?

And I'm curious, did my soap box rant strike a chord with you? What creepy crawlies are near your home? I'd love to have you comment below with the animals that cause others to wonder how you could possibly live where you do--whether it's the black flies of Maine or something more exotic.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Costa Rica Alive! Birds and Butterflies

I'm an animal lover, and I think that is one of the reasons I love Costa Rica so much. The amount, and diversity, of wildlife there is fascinating. I've been going through my photos, and decided it's time to showcase some of Costa Rica's amazing wildlife--both fauna and flora. So, I'm going to do a short series on this subject with pictures I have taken. This post I'll focus on birds and butterflies!

These parrots were in an animal rescue center, but normally fly free in Costa Rica

I think this guy needs a better toupee!

The girls got to hold this parakeet that was in an animal rescue center. Parakeets usually fly free in Costa Rica.

From our trip to Nauyaca Waterfalls
(For more on our trip to the Nauyaca Waterfalls, see my post here!)

And below is a video showcasing some beautiful hummingbirds at our friend's house. 

Now for the butterflies! (Sure, some are moths, but that's ok, right?)

A close up of one of the butterflies from above.

I couldn't believe how tiny this guy is!!

Of course this is only a small sampling of what we've actually seen (and what actually lives in Costa Rica!), but sometimes I'm just not fast enough with the camera! Stay tuned for more wildlife in my next post!

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

What are Food Costs in Costa Rica?

Since I did my last post on some of the food we've had in Costa Rica, I thought it would be interesting to share some of the prices we have paid for food at the grocery stores there. Many people are curious about the actual day-to-day living expenses, and this will help to give a good idea.

I gathered all the receipts I could find from our trip in July 2013, and the table below represents the actual costs we paid. I did convert the prices from the Costa Rican colon to the American dollar for an easier comparison.

We also purchased this lovely box of Choco Zucaritas (chocolate Frosted Flakes), pictured on the right, on our first trip to the grocery store (for the kids, of course!). We weren't paying attention to the price, until we got back to the house and realized we paid a whopping $7.50 for this 18 oz box of cereal--ouch!! The price for a bag of potato chips also almost gave us cardiac arrest. Wish I had the receipt for that one, but I don't, so can't remember how much they were. Once we realized how much we paid for those two items, we didn't buy them again--sorry kids! haha

This chart is just a small sample, but I think you can start to get an idea of why eating like an American will break the bank, while eating like a local will save you a lot of money. Plus I also didn't put on the chart the FREE coconuts we ate and drank. The coconuts came from trees on the property. Most people grow food on their properties, with the most popular probably being bananas, pineapples, and coconuts.

So, if you're willing to forgo the normal American diet of lots of meat, cheese, and processed foods, you will definitely find yourself saving money on your grocery bill. And, as the majority of ex-pats discover, you may also lose a few pounds and feel healthier in the process. In fact, several of our friends living in Costa Rica report coming off their cholesterol and other medications due to their new, healthier eating habits. Awesome!

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