Jungle River Trip ~ Costa Rica

 

We took a jungle boat trip down a river in Costa Rica, and were fortunate enough to see a  Great Blue Heron!  At over a metre and half in height, the Great Blue Heron is a very majestic sight. This stately bird, with its subtle blue-gray plumage, often stands motionless (as seen in the photo), while it scans for prey or wades belly deep with long, deliberate steps. Although these birds seem to move very slowly Great Blue Herons can strike like lightning to grab a fish or snap up a poor gopher. Other exotic creatures we saw included several iguanas and a lovely lazy sloth! After the trip my husband went ziplining through the jungle, but I decided to give that one a miss…

After the boat trip my husband went ziplining through the jungle, but I decided to give that one a miss…

P1000281

P1000297

P1000301

P1000283

P1000305
Spot the Sloth?

P1000285

 

Havana ~ The Highlights

Cuba is very popular at the moment, with restrictions being lifted in the near future for American tourists, travel articles the world over are urging us to visit the “real” Havana before its unique qualities disappear under the weight of the mighty American dollar. But how fast could this actually happen? Islanders seem to think this is gross misrepresenting the situation as nothing ever happens quickly in Cuba; probably due to a crumbling infrastructure and the sheer scale of improvements needed to renovate this once beautiful city to its former glory.

There is no doubt the place is amazing, charming and very special, the islanders seem so friendly, but some of the living conditions and levels of poverty that you witness can take your breath away. I was told that the main income of the island is already extremely focused on tourism, ( approx 1.2 million tourists in the last year), but there is still a long way to go for this semi-isolated island to be able to offer anything that approaches the luxurious standards that most of us expect these days…

Still an injection of cash could help raise living standards, but as always with commercial tourism – at what price to the islands cultural heritage? Overdevelopment can be as damaging as underinvestment. How this once staunchly Communist Island will cope with the imminent changes will be interesting to watch; not from just an economic viewpoint, but for those of us who have seen the “real” Cuba in all of its crumbling glory and uniqueness.