Saturday, February 23, 2013

Costa Rica Day 13

Monday February 18

Wake-up alarm at 5:45 am
We have to sort our luggage and have to sort out what we will leave in our suitcases stored in the hotel and what we take in the backpacks with us for the two nights.
We had overlooked the fine-print in our tour-package that the boat to the post-trip hotel has a luggage limit of 25 lbs and had not brought a duffel bag. But yesterday, just before our arrival at the TRYP Hotel we had stopped at a supermarket and there was a soft cooler for $10 just perfect. 

San Jose is in the center of Costa Rica. We drive up the mountain into the cloud forest and then down the other side to the Caribbean side.  Very interesting.
We stop for a second breakfast. It is a large place and quite touristy but it has a butterfly house which is very nice and educational.
We realize later that the second breakfast is actually early lunch because we arrive at the next hotel around 3 pm for lunch which I think was first dinner and then we had a second dinner later. Ha-ha, confused?
Here too many of those blue Morpho butterflies. So gorgeous.
 Look at the color of these seeds!
 The poisones dart frog?

 Not sure what these three ladies were promoting ... since we were already there.
And then our drive continued. When the paved road had turned into gravel (bad gravel) we drove by acres and acres of banana-fields. 
Most of the fruit was covered with these blue plastic sacks. It is to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs into the peel and damaging it. It can't be exported then.
Difficult to capture from the driving bus.
 Then we stopped at a processing plant and could watch from the outside.

What a job!

And then after about 1.5 hours on the unpaved roads the drive comes to an end. We reach the place where we change into the boats.
 Don't forget to go to the toilets. None on the boats.

A little diversion to the end of the river where it flows into the ocean. We turn back and into a canal.

Lots to see.
Fields of water hyacinth too.

A croc. The only one we saw here ... but we were always warned not to put any limbs into the water.
 Approaching the village of Turtoguero.
 Birds nests.
 No road, no cars. Just one walking strip.

 Una cervesa por favor!

Outside this store a list of what delinquent customers owe.

I think we walked from one end to the other and then got back onto the boat which waited for us there. James went shopping for t-shirts. Everybody approved of his choice for himself and me.
The ride continues.
Finally we see the sign of our hotel.
With the hotel in sight there is a beautiful emerald basilisk.
From the other side. I so would like to see one walk on water.
The greeting committee: a spider monkey.
We were lucky to get assigned an end-unit room. We have three sides of screen. There is no glass.

There were two beds like this, a private shower and (instead of AC) a big fan on the ceiling.

On the way to a stroll on the beach.

Driftwood! Wow!
Not many shells but lots of crabs. We had fun with them.
Wow, love this driftwood.
I think this would make a nice poster.
What do you think?

The sand on this beach is black because of the volcanoes. 

While we were at the pool relaxing a little the spider monkeys were swinging around in the trees.
A migrating hawk overhead on the way back to the room after dinner.

* * * * *
The official OAT itinerary of today:
Day 13 - post-trip day 1
Post-trip extension: Tortuguero National Park
Literally "region of turtles", remote Tortuguero is home to 111 species of reptiles, 60 species of mammals, 309 species of birds, and 57 species of amphibians - including the endangered Green Turtle, for which it is the western hemisphere's most important nesting site. If you arrive during nesting season, which runs between June and August, you might observe legions of sea turtles descending upon the beaches to lay their eggs and bury them in the sand. If you're lucky, you might even be able to watch as the eggs hatch and the baby turtles dig their way to the surface to make their way to the sea.
This morning, we'll transfer to the Cano Blanco dock and board a boat for our cruise to Tortuguero. En route, we'll stop to discover Tortuguero town, where we'll enjoy the Caribbean flavor of this unique village, which has no roads, no sidewalks, and no cars. We'll arrive at our lodge in the early afternoon, and enjoy a brief orientation walk followed by lunch at our lodge. Afterward, you'll have time for independent exploration before our included dinner at our lodge tonight.

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