Saturday, February 2, 2008

Costa Rica: Honey Moon at New Moon

by Donna L. Watkins

When Randal decided to come down for the last 12 days of my time here, we knew we wanted rain forest time together.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Orchid at Homestay
We had a second honeymoon for our 20th anniversary and since our 30th was last year, we thought it might be appropriate since we never thought of anything to give each other as anniversary gifts. Since we have each other it's always difficult to come up with any "stuff" that is more exciting.

I began looking for places so I could get the school to book it before I left since they get much better rates than what is on the websites. Some have been almost half of what is posted for tourists. He'll arrive on February 29 (leap year day) and we'll both go home on March 11. Seems like a long time from now, but school is over and rainforest time will pass much too quickly.

And so another Up and Down Scenario began on finding a place. We would get excited about something we saw that was just right only to find that they didn't have anything available. Being the high tourist season, and the fact that our travel tastes are not typical, it's was hard to find an available place, but I finally got confirmation of a lodge that is just perfect. It's been a wearisome challenge, but in my heart I knew that for each door that closed it only opened a window and we'd eventually find it.

The place we finally found is worth all of the rest falling through. The lodge has its own rain forest preserve and is adjacent to The Children's Eternal Rain Forest Preserve. We became interested in the amazing story of the children's rain forest preserve during our trip here ten years ago, so it will be a total delight and dream-come-true to be able to walk some of that land. Because tourism can cause a lot of ecological damage, this preserve has only a small section open to the public.

The whole project began when one teacher went back to her class in Sweden and painted a picture of the importance of rain forest to the children who wanted to save it. These children started a worldwide effort in 1987 by sending money to Monteverde, Costa Rica to purchase and protect some rain forest forever. Today children from 44 nations have helped this project to become the largest private reserve in Central America. 54,000 acres have been preserved!

The location of our lodge and cozy bungalows would be enough, but on top of that, it's an herb-growing farm. How appropriate can you get for two people who have been in love with herbs since they first took away Randal's migraines in 1979 and provided a path out of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity for me.

Finca Luna Neuva Lodge is an organic sustainable farm. They grow ginger and tumeric and have fruit and vegetable gardens that provide 90% of the food they prepare. They offer vegan or vegetarian options. They have goats for milk and cheese and bake their own breads. They also grow fruit. It seems strange to say they farm with fruit trees. Would you call them orchards when they are tropical fruits? Their list includes papaya, pineapple, acerola cherries, rambutans, water apples and grumichamas. Surely they have bananas also. They seem to grow everywhere here.

The types of birds and animals and reptiles that we desire to see are all here and the weather should be a bit warmer than here. They have a 50' tower for viewing Arenal Volcano which is regarded as one of the world's most active volcanos. When we visited ten years ago we had a room with an entire wall that was a window facing it and at night you could see the red hot lava spewing from the crater. View photos of Arenal Volcano at an online site.

This preserve at the lodge we've chosen has an area called the Sacred Seeds Sanctuary. It's a collection of medicinal and biological diversity to preserve for future generations. That should be an awesome place to spend time in.

It's been quite cool some mornings here in San Jose. I wake up to 63 degrees in the room and with a breeze blowing, that's a bit chilly for the beginning of my walk to school. We decided not to go to Monteverde, a cloud forest that I had planned on visiting, because it gets much colder there since the elevation is higher. My friend spent last weekend there and it was 48 degrees. That's not what I came to Costa Rica for. There are great temperature variations here with all the mountains and coastal humid areas they have.

I will be spending my 19 days in the jungle in one of those hot and humid areas, but my joints seem to love warm. I've been so happy to be able to do so much walking and to realize it's January back home and very cold. For 7 years the winters have been long and I've lost one finger joint after another, so I am grateful to have a winter that will not sacrifice any more joints.

While I'm in the jungle I'll practice my "Me Jane" role so I'm ready for the "honey moon at new moon" with my Tarzan.

View Costa Rica photo albums.

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