Monday, June 4, 2018

Pura Vida - the adventure begins...

Waking up early in the morning on Valentine's Day our host kindly greeted us with an early breakfast before we were picked up by our bus to our next destination. Having only organised this section of our trip two days ago, after seeing a leaflet on the counter of our accommodation, we were full of apprehension and excitement for the real start of our Costa Rican adventure. After several hours we stopped for breakfast (our lunch) at a stop which brought in people from all directions. Pura Vida was the greeting of the day and we were to find out that this is the national greeting in Costa Rica, meaning Pure Life. After everybody was fed we were all sorted onto different coaches depending on our next destination. After about another hour, change to a boat, another stop and then another boat, we finally arrived at our destination Tortuguero.

The Recycling Plant
The awesome little one street town contains no cars (you can only come here by boat) and mainly contains eating places and accommodation except for a recycling plant which takes recyclables, especially plastics, and creates useable items out of them such as furniture. We were taken to the tourist office running our tour and given a rundown of what was going to happen for the couple of days we were here. A sign on their desk said “Cuanto mas amamos el mundo, mas hermoso nos parece”, which roughly translates to “The more we love the world, the more beautiful it seems to us.” I am certainly loving Costa Rica and it is getting more beautiful every day :-)

Tortuguero means land of turtles and is a turtle breeding site, but it was the wrong time of year for observing breeding. It is also a rainforest and despite several years of drought, was in catch up mode the next day. We got up bright and early for our canoe trip on the river and with four other people and a guide we explored the Tortuguero River using arm power. We had some dry moments and many wet moments as we traversed a totally clean and crisp river system surrounded by lovely lush jungle and saw a large range of wildlife including numerous birds (herons, ibis, hummingbirds etc), monkeys, crocodiles and turtles.

The river trip was followed by a hike in the jungle. We took up the offer of the included knee high rubber wellies and large waterproof coats as we began trekking looking for wildlife. This was in contrast to the fairly stubborn Polish couple who hit the jungle in shorts and sandals, despite numerous requests from our guide for them to dress more appropriately. We were comfortable in our decision as we trudged along paths with large, deep, muddy puddles and withstood numerous showers. Our wildlife experience included howler & white faced Capucin monkeys, more birds, lizards and Costa Rica's national bird the clay coloured robin. Thanks to our keen eyed guide we even came across the elusive sloth, which to us just looked like a termite mound. Though considering that sloths live their whole lives in the one tree and only come down once every ten days to do their business at the base of the same tree, s/he and the guide probably see each other every day. The only time we came across rubbish was plastic on the beach, but the guide explained this was not the town's rubbish but gets washed in from the oceans. Another reminder how we need to stop plastic ASAP!
Glorious Nature

The brown mound is a sloth

When we reached the beach the weather took a turn for the worse

We spent a very wet night enjoying dinner at our very cheap resort and the next morning enjoying its facilities including swimming in the pool in the rain. By lunch time it was back on the boat to continue on to the next leg of our eco adventure.

The meal area of our wonderful accommodation
located in the middle of the rainforest

and wide verandahs