Posts Tagged With: nature

Vienna and High Tatras Tease

So my first two weeks of teaching have flown by. Time has been limited and so has good internet access, but I have thoughts bubbling over and pictures I’m extremely eager to post.  After Volkersdorf I had a full week in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria, followed by a weekend in the Zdiar, located in the High Tatras of Slovakia. Both were stunning and perfect in their respective ways.  Here’s a photo from each with more to come soon, I promise.

Nothing beats Viennese architecture

Except maybe mountain goats taking in views on a peak in the High Tatras

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Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary: Slow is Beautiful

As the girlfriend of an admitted sloth obsessive, the Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary, on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, was a non-negotiable visit. While it may not have otherwise topped my list, my visit here has been the most unique event of my Costa Rican trip so far.

Happiest camper of all time

A Mecca for lovers of these adorably slow creatures, the sanctuary is home to around 150 sloths of both the two and three-toed variety. Experts conduct a two-hour tour (leaving on the hour between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.) filled with all of the sloth knowledge you would ever need to know, and then some. Everything is extremely interesting and the tour includes a canoe ride in a river running through the sanctuary, but it’s the actual face-to-face sloth time that makes the $25 dollar cost seem much more worthwhile.

Happy sloth stare

Throughout the tour we met around 10 different sloths (including babies) and got to see them up close and personal.  While you can’t hold the sloths for their own safety, seeing their surprisingly human faces up-close was absolutely amazing. Each sloth’s unique personality shines through when you meet them personally.  The most personable of all of the sloths is the grand dame of the Sanctuary, Buttercup.  This friendly lady is the sanctuary’s founding sloth, as it began with three young girls dropping her off at Judy, the sloth whisperer’s, door.  Judy nursed her back to health and has since done the same with hundreds of injured or sick sloths. Now Buttercup makes you feel welcome from the hanging basket where she holds court as soon as you step into the room.

Buttercup, the Grand Dame of the Sanctuary

The sanctuary is about 15 minutes north of Cahuita or 45 minutes north of the popular destination of Puerto Viejo (which I would highly recommend.)  From either destination, just hop on the hourly bus that heads north on Highway 36 until you reach the sloth crossing signs.  The ticket costs less than $2 each way.

Buttercup checking out her surroundings

The Sloth Sanctuary should not be missed by any sloth fans. However, if you are just casually interested, note between travel time and waiting for the tour to begin you may be in for close to five hours from Puerto Viejo.  But for anyone who wants a guaranteed sloth sighting, especially a close-up encounter, this place is a must-see.  If anyone needs inspiration, check out these Animal Planet “Too Cute” clips, filmed on-site.

Categories: environment, nature, photography, science, tourism, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Three Top Treetop Destination Hotels

Maybe it’s because of my infatuation with Tolkien’s tree-dwelling elves or my nostalgic remembrances of the elevated fortress in my grandparents’ backyard. Or maybe just the experience of looking around and seeing twisted branches begging for climbers rather than solid ground.

Whatever the reason may be, I love tree houses. In fact, a high-priority item on my bucket list is to spend the night in a home nestled in branches far from the ground. Luckily for me and other tree house lovers, these residences traditionally reserved for eight-year-olds on summer afternoons, are sprouting up as hotels in canopies around the world.  Three resorts in particular have caught my eye for being unlike any constructions I’ve seen before, in or out of trees. Far beyond the few two-by-fours supporting pieces of particle board my Grandpa constructed, these architectural wonders provide lodging that makes the Swiss Family Robinson’s home look boring.

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Lose Yourself in Allegheny National Forest

According to the university website, St. Bonaventure is 70 miles from Buffalo, 195 miles from Cleveland, 220 miles from Pittsburgh and 360 miles from New York City.

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As far as many are concerned, that places St. Bonaventure right smack dab in the middle of nowhere.  And in many respects, they may be right.  However, that doesn’t mean that the area surrounding St. Bonaventure is without things to do or places of interest.  So for the next few weeks I will be exploring different things to do in Cattaraugus County and the surrounding areas.

This winter has been a disappointment to skiers and snowboarders in Western New York, including myself.  However, the uncharacteristically warm weather does allow for other outdoor ventures that are much less expensive.

St. Bonaventure is situated near plenty of places to hike, but Allegheny National Forest, with over 200 miles of hiking trails, is just a short drive away. This Saturday, after having hearty pre-hike Burton burgers, my friends and I set out to take on a small portion of these trails for a chance at some fresh air and a change of scenery.

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