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Monday, January 07, 2013

Top 5 Travel Experiences of 2012, Spotting Scarlet Macaws Outside of Jaco, Costa Rica

My kids weren’t too pleased to wake up at 6:30 am on summer vacation, but I wanted to be at Carara National Park at 7 am, when it opened. I knew from prior trips to the country that Carara was one of the few places to see that majestic bird, the scarlet macaw. Last time here, I heard a loud noise, only to peer up at a family of four vibrantly colored macaws. That is an image I was hoping to recreate. We arrived early and the gate was closed. In summer, Carara opens at 8 am read the sign. Screw it. The kids were already giving me grief for waking them up, so we sneaked in through the gate and started our hike. An hour later, we were covered in sweat from the sweltering rainforest humidity and had only spotted one very large Jesus Christ lizard. No macaws. We drove back to the hotel and I was bumming big time. 

Later that afternoon, we were driving south on the coastal road outside of Jaco to our next stop, Manuel Antonio National Park. Out of nowhere, I heard that unmistakable squawking and suddenly seven to eight large macaws flew overhead, landing in an almond tree to our right. I stepped on the brake and pulled over, upsetting the truck driver behind us who started honking. As he drove by, he swore at me in Spanish, which fortunately I can barely understand. I could care less. My wife and kids were in their glory taking snapshots of the multicolored macaws. It made my trip. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/07/13 at 02:00 PM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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