12/24/12 - 12/27/12 95 °F
Since we left Manta, Ecuador, on Sunday we’ve visited two more ports: Puntarenas, Costa Rica, and Corinto, Nicaragua. We spent one day at sea after Manta, which happened to be Christmas Eve. The day was business as usual, which for me included Spanish class and another keynote talk by Julian Bond, this one on race in America. It wasn’t quite as personal as his first talk since it was somewhat of a history lesson, but he’s still an amazing speaker and a pleasure to listen to, regardless of the topic. That night we had our special Christmas Eve dinner, which was also very nice and a good time. We spent the rest of the night at the piano bar on board the ship, which eventually morphed into an impromptu dance party at about midnight – definitely a very unique Christmas Eve for the Weinstein kids!
On Christmas Day we arrived in Costa Rica. What a beautiful country! During our first day there, we set out to find a beach to spend the day on with a group of about eight others. We ended up at a place called Caldera Beach, about a half hour’s drive from Puntarenas. We enjoyed the sand, the warm water, a couple of cervezas and ate a seafood lunch at a nearby restaurant. The beaches were fairly crowded and we learned that this is a typical way to spend the holiday for Costa Rican families. I think I could live with that – Christmas on the beach every year? Sign me up!
Our second day in Costa Rica we were in for a real treat – zip lining! And it did not disappoint! We drove for about an hour from Puntarenas to Jaco, which is up in the hills a bit and covered in rainforest. Once we got there, we were each fitted for our equipment (a series of harnesses plus a helmet and heavy gloves), slathered in sunscreen and covered with bug spray. Then we spent the next two hours zipping (literally!) between 12 separate platforms built high in the treetops above the forest. It was super fun! I thought I’d be more frightened to take the first plunge, but it really wasn’t very scary at all – it was just really fun (I keep saying that, but it totally was). And once you really got the hang of it, it was a blast. We purchased their professional photos of us in action, so those will definitely be posted once we get back.
We sailed from Costa Rica a little bit on the early side (on-ship time was 3pm, as opposed to the more typical 5 or 6pm in most of the other ports), but that was due to the fact that we were scheduled to arrive the very next morning in Corinto, Nicaragua. We made it right on time and that’s where we spent the day today. Corinto is a sleepy little port town, so we decided instead to head about an hour away to the city of Leon, Nicaragua’s second largest city. It has a certain old world charm with its cobblestone streets and colonial-style architecture. We visited the Cathedral of Leon, which is where the man they call the father of modern Spanish literature, Ruben Dario (and a local Nicaraguan hero), is buried. You’re able to climb up to the rooftop of the cathedral, which offers some beautiful views of the city center and also the multitude of mountains and volcanoes that surround it. In fact, there was even one volcano that was in the midst of an eruption while we were there! We took plenty of photos and they are pretty surreal. We heard that the volcano hasn’t seen any action for at least 40 years, so this was a rare occurrence. It was a beautiful but somewhat unsettling sight! In fact, if you want to check out pictures of the volcano from Nicaragua and some of the other happenings along the way during our trip, check out Enrichment Voyage's Facebook page. Maybe you'll even see some pics of us!
As I type this, we’re sailing toward Puerto Quetzel, Guatemala. It’s hard to believe, but it’s our second-to-last port - so sad! I do have to say that the last few days have been among my favorites so far on this voyage. I especially loved Costa Rica and of all the places we’ve been, that’s definitely one that I’ll want to go back to. As all the locals in Costa Rica say, pura vida!