Sunday, April 6, 2014

Costa Rican Flora

A few weeks ago, I went on an amazing trip with my husband and 8 other people to Costa Rica.  We flew into San Jose and took a two and a half hour shuttle ride to Manuel Antonio where our private villa - Villa Perezoso (Sloth House), personal chef, bartender, concierge and house cleaners awaited us.  It was a spectacular vacation, filled with just the right balance of relaxation and adventure.  We spent time relaxing in our villa, looking at the amazing views from our balconies.  We got out and surfed, jet skied and snorkeled in the ocean.  We also got to go hiking and ziplining through the jungles.  There was also plenty of time to enjoy all of the plants and wildlife of the local area, which, as a plant enthusiast and animal lover, was definitely a highlight of the trip.

View from the main level of Villa Perezoso.  I never got sick of looking at this:

Jon enjoying the hike through Manuel Antonio National Park.

You certainly wouldn't want to touch this prickly tree - it had spikes like a porcupine!  The bamboo growing in the part is not native and can actually be pretty invasive with how quickly it grows.

Manuel Antonio National Park Beach - it ranked as one of the best beaches in the world.

Just walking the mile and a half from our villa to the beach, there were many wonderful flowers to see, including this Mexican Bird of Paradise, and countless bougainvilleas.

These hibiscus plants were probably the most common flower I saw, followed closely in second by the bougainvilleas.

More hibiscus plants lining the villa streets.

This makes me want to get a hibiscus for my Texas garden.  I'll just have to put it in a container so I can bring it inside during freezing temperatures.

Orchids were the third most prominent flower I saw in Manuel Antonio.  This purple one was my favorite.

I've seen passion flowers in shades of purple, magenta and even green, but this was the very first time I saw one in fire engine red.  Stunning.


Orange cosmos.  These guys do well in Central Texas.  I will definitely need to add some to my garden.

More bougainvillea in a light pink shade.

More orchids in white and yellow.

Just look at all that color!  And the size of those bougainvilleas!

Flying over the Costa Rican canopy.

We visited in mid-March, which was during the dry season.  This riverbed looks like something you might find in our drought-ridden Texas.

Dry riverbed and a wild cashew.  The top is the nut (inside a shell), which is attached to a fruit that looks like a mini apple.

Costa Rican farmland.

Quick drive-by shot of the palm tree plantation - used to make palm oil and various related products.  Also one of the most destructive crops to the environment.

Seriously, the views we kept seeing never ceased to amaze me.

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