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Irazu Volcano

We began our first day in the San Jose area with a visit to Volcano Irazú National Park, Costa Rica's largest volcano, for a walking tour to observe the craters, cones, and fumeroles of this eerie, barren landscape – on clear days, it is possible to observe the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from the summit.

Costa Rica's fertile, volcanic soil is ideal for coffee growing; end your afternoon in the Central Valley with a visit to Café Britt, one of the largest coffee plantations. .





The sign shows the depth and diameter of the principle crater of Irazu.



Rex, Adrian, Don and Chris pose just prior to a major eruption which covered
this area with hot lava just a few minutes after this photo was taken.




Another picture was taken just after Don and Chris stepped backwards over the edge into the crater.



Looking East from Irazu towards the Caribbean ocean.



On the return trip from Irazu we stop at the cathedral in Cartago.



The structure of the cathedral is made entirely of wood.



La Paz Waterfall Gardens

The next day we visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens, featuring four cascading waterfalls accessible by a variety of pathways and steps that lead to viewing platforms. Within the gardens lie the Hummingbird Garden, where we enjoyed the antics of 16 different species, and the Butterfly Observatory, largest observatory of its kind in the world.




Those who have seen Lord of the Rings will recognize this entry to a Hobbit's house.



Adrian and Clint plan their exploration of the waterfalls.



A catalog of some of the butterflies we expect to see.



Sure enough, we immediately begin to find butterflies



The hummingbirds were also out in force.



It's hard to tell from this photo, but these purple/blue hummingbirds are about 3
times the size of the hummingbirds we normally see in the U.S.




Stylishly attired we begin our trek.



Our first stop is at the butterfly habitat.




Clint looks on while Suzy tries on a butterfly hat.



Adrian still chuckling about Suzy's butterfly hat.



We encounter more hummingbirds.



We get closer to the waterfalls.



The rainforest along this area remains wild.



While the climb is steep, it is made easier by the steps which have been installed.



We reach one of the waterfalls.



Everyone looks around for Rex, who seems to have washed away downstream.



The girls model their new rainforest hair styles.





Rex is found farther downstream.



Once we cross this pre-Colombian bridge, we can begin the climb back to the lodge.



Lunch and a cold drink are most welcome.



On the return trip from the waterfalls, we stop at the Cafe Britt coffee plantation.
Clint and Suzy hire on as coffee pickers.



The tour guides at the coffee plantation are a lot of fun.



We listen to learn how coffee is grown, harvested and processed.



Chris has some second thoughts about volunteering as a coffee taster.



Chris learns that as you get older it is better to drink coffee with a spoon.



Chris is impressed when the plantation tour guide breaks into singing an aria from the opera Rigoletto.

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