Exploring Costa Rica - Colors, Creatures and Curiosities

Exploring Costa Rica - Colors, Creatures and Curiosities
82 minutes
Format: DVD
Available: Now

Central America's Costa Rica nurtures some of the last remaining true natural treasures of the World. Emerald rainforests, marvels of rainbow-colored creatures, milky-cloud forests, jeweled birds and bugs, Caribbean and Pacific golden beaches. Together they create the colors that have lured visitors to Costa Rica's shores again and again. The other part is its people, with their unusual friendliness and heartfelt hospitality. But with over 25% of its total land mass set aside as protected ecosystems, the emphasis is on the natural. We join Sandy Mortimer to explore both coasts, and in between, to capture the essence and uniqueness of nature's nursery, Costa Rica.

In the capital city San Jose, we stop by the police ptation to meet some of the men and women who manage to keep order and good humor in this busy cosmopolitan town before touring the city.

In Zarcero, there is a whimsical sculptured garden of amazing creatures. Bulbous elephants with lightbulbs for eyes, a bull ring and a cat riding a motorcycle.

Costa Rica Ox CartIn the town of Sarchi, the townspeople make delightful handpainted oxcarts. We meet the family who has kept the tradition alive for three generations.

In Braulio Carrillo National Park, we join two naturalists to encounter giant bullet ants and other tiny creatures. On board the aerial tram, - the first of its kind in the world - we get a bird's-eye view of the forest canopy where new plant species are being discovered on the tops of the trees.

Guayabo National Monument protects the remnants of a lost civilization dating from the 9th Century, when another culture inhabited this region from 1000 BC to 1400 AD. Stone roads and ancient house foundations remain. Nearby, a summer festival carries on with its own unique traditions.

Lizard heavenAt Iguana Park in Orintina are friendly but hungry lizards. Arenal Volcano has become the most active of the country's nine volcanoes. We see its lava flows and Lake Arenal, with its tale of its resident monster ...an enormous black, hairy serpent with horns!

West of Arenal, the clouds in one of the most popular areas - Monteverde Cloud Forest - hides the Continental Divide in this region. They also hide other treasures, the Resplendent Quetzel, hummingbirds of all colors and the blue morpho butterfly. Among the human residents of this magic place is Stella, a 75-year-old artist and dynamo who captures the faces and feelings of Monteverde and its people on canvas.

The Guanacaste region, with its wild savanna grasses and cattle ranches, is Costa Rica's version of Texas. We pass through its capital city of Liberia on our way to Santa Rosa National Park, then enjoy the sunset at the Pacific beach resort town of Tamarindo.

Nearby, volcano Rincon de la Vieja, was named after the legend of an old woman who once lived on its slopes. Now a national park, it has four complete ecosystems contained within its 35,000 acres. We hike this site to see hot springs, boiling mud pots and vapor geysers to see why it is called the "Yellowstone of Costa Rica". Over a canyon on one side, we try our nerve on the Canopy Tour. Swinging across a vast empty space fastened only to a cable can bring thrills ...even to the adventurous!

We also visit a remote farm where a Costa Rican owner is living his dream ...creating a self-sufficient ranch that is eco-friendly. We meet Edgar and see how that is happening. We also visit the traditional nearby village of Dos Rios to see how its residents are slowly moving into the 21st Century.

Costa Rican schoolgirlsBy the Orosi Valley with its alpine scenery is the Central Valley and the oldest church in the country where a miracle took place. Another miracle is the reason for the Fiesta of the Virgin of Los Angeles, Costa Rica's patron saint. We join the 2 million people on their walk to Cartago to pay her tribute. On the Pacific Coast, we visit the vacation port city of Puntarenas, see its fishing fleet, fish market and watch how cevichi - one of the most popular dishes - is made. Puntarenas is also where we join vacationers for a catamaran boat cruise to Tortuga Island.

At Las Pumas, 76-year-old Swiss-born Lily has been saving injured and captured animals - especially large native cats - for 40 years. We meet her margays, ocelots and pumas and see her newest babies as well as enjoy a hands-on experience with a newborn howler monkey and a two-toed sloth. Down the Pacific coast, the road takes us past magnificent beaches and palm oil plantations to one of the longest breaking waves left in the world. At Jaco we watch surfers trying their luck in some of the best surfing in the Western Hemisphere.

The town of Quepos is the gateway to Manuel Antonio National Park. We hike through, explore its unusual ecology and see an agouti, an iguana and capuchin monkeys.

We also meet Merle and Alexander Walker who came to this area 30 years ago to raise exotic spices and flowers on their isolated farm and live the life of true pioneers in the tropics. Heading inland, we visit the city of San Isidro de le General, the commercial center for this agricultural area.

In the southern mountain range is the native Indian village of Baruca. We climb to this mountaintop village to see traditional arts and crafts before driving to Golfito, where the duty-free shops bring on a frenzy of buying for Costa Ricans.

We fly over the Talamanca Mountain range to the Caribbean coast and stop by the busy city of Puerto Limon, with its public market, Central Park and Chinese cemetery. Here, off the coast also lies Isla Uvita, the island where Columbus landed on his fourth and last transatlantic voyage.

Making our way south to the Caribbean village of Cahuita, we meet the townspeople and see how they live. Enjoying a Calypso band, having great seafood with unique sauces, meeting the village's senior calypso musician and gathering bananas on a hilltop farm are all part of the life of this quiet village. We also journey up one of the rivers along the coast to see crocodiles, spoonbill cranes, sloths and other creatures.

QuetzelCana Palmas, a biological station in the remote Tortuguero region opens up a world only dreamed of by nature lovers. Reached only by boat, this part of the country is truly the nursery of nature. We visit Tortuguero village and meet a Canadian who is determined to help nature survive here before beginning our climb by car over Cerro de la Muerte - the Mountain of Death. Over 11,000 feet high, it got its name from early foot travelers who died from exposure and hunger while crossing the mountain. In the cloudforest, we end our saga as we spot the rare and elusive Resplendent Quetzel.

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DVD $19.95