While Dan was hiking through Rincon de la Vieja National Park, he found this Coati (sometimes called Cotamundi) but known as Pizote in Costa Rica.  They’re cute but vicious and quite aggressive beggars.


In the second part, you can see that he’s walking among the steam vents in the thermal section of the park.  Rincon de la Vieja is an easy park to get to, just 3 hours from Casa Mango and Casa Papaya but makes a better overnight than a single day trip.


That’s what my sister used to say to my brother when they were both in high school – it means “lazy” in Spanish.  But now I know it also means Sloth.  With his video camera, Dan found a pair in the woods near Tenorio Volcano.

Tenorio is another great National Park where you can see lots of animals on the face of the mostly extinct volcano.

horseback costa rica

I’ve got friends in town this week, which is always a good excuse to do fun stuff I forget to do on my own.

horse jungle audrey

After snorkeling – sorry, no pictures – and seeing the Scarlet Macaws, we went horseback riding.

b- horse 7

We drove about 5 kliks west of Samara to Horse Jungle and Audrey.

horseback costa rica

Our gracious guide, Georgia, led us across the river and through forest trails.

b- horse 16

We trotted on the beach,

what to do in playa samara beach
before a break and a “copa” at a hostel along the river. No crocodiles today.

vista playa buena vista costa rica

At the vista view-point, we looked back at the beach where we had just been.

b- horse 12

This once stray cat, which has adopted the horses and their cowgirls, is not afraid of the hooves.

b- horse 10

There are several horse tours and guides in Samara.
Horse Jungle - 8650-1606
• Luis and Rolando on the beach near Tree House Inn – 2656-0353
• Luis in Carrillo – 8337-3642
• Or just stop by Samara Info Center or the Natural Center in Samara. They can arrange a horse tour for you.

scarlet macaw costa rica

One of my favorite things to do when family and guests visit us here in Playa Samara, Costa Rica is to head down the beach about 10 kliks to visit the big birds.  The Ara Project is a breeding center for Great Green Macaws and Scarlet Macaws, both of which used to live all over Costa Rica.

ara project punta islita costa rica

The range of the Scarlet Macaws used to cover the country while the Great Greens limited themselves to the Caribbean slope of the continental divide. The populations have been decimated by the usual suspects – development and capture for pets - such that they are both endangered and limited to very small pockets of the country. There are now less than 1000 Great Green Macaws in the world.

Ara Project, punta islita, costa rica

The Ara breeding birds are mostly rescued and rehabilitated pets that have been abandoned or injured. The center provides a meeting aviary –it’s the equivalent of a singles bar where the birds “hook up” – and individual mating cages – like honeymoon suites, with privacy and solitude.  The hatchling birds are then reared for 4 years before they are released to roam the hillsides of Costa Rica.


Because they have not learned from their parents, who were probably pets themselves, how to forage in the natural forest and what foods to eat, the newly released Macaws continue to be fed twice a day for as long as it takes for them to learn to feed themselves.  The diet provided to the Scarlet Macaws is gradually altered from sunflower seeds to Beach Almond, Melina fruit and Nance, all found growing naturally in the Guanacaste forest.  Although both kinds of birds are bred at the Ara Project near Punta Islita, the Great Green Macaws are released only on the Caribbean side where the Mountain Almond and other east slope fruits make up the preferred diet.

Scarlet Macaw

During the tour, the director, Carlos, will tell you about the evils of keeping parrots as pets.  Like JJ here, these birds are very social. They become very attached to their hosts and suffer greatly when separated.

Great Green Macaw

Their cheeks turn red when they get jealous, like Precious did when I put my arm around Carlos.


You can visit the Ara Project at 3pm any afternoon to tour the breeding center and watch the afternoon feeding of the free-flying majestic Scarlet Macaws.  The center is just west of the Hotel Punta Islita and about 10 kilometers from Casa Mango and Casa Papaya. Call a day in advance to request a tour 6052-9331.


kids activities on playa samara beach

Casa Cuna brought about 20 kids from Nicoya for a day of beach fun.

The obstacle course was a good challenge for many.

Everyone got a shirt sponsored by SUR paints

playa samara beach
and a number.


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