Published: April 12th 2012March 15th 2012
After slipping and sliding our way through the rainforest trying to get to Punta Mona, we finally gave up and chilled out inthis little spot- :)
One of the most memorable moments of our first stop in Costa Rica, has to be the border crossing.....
Thank god we had a fellow passenger who had done it before as I think we'd have thought they were having a laugh....So the shuttle bus rocks up in the town after about 45 mins of driving and take you to what seems like the back of town...The mini bus stops and this is as far as it takes you.... So you get out and are pointed to a set of steps say 120 which lead up to.....you have no idea!!! At the top of the steps you have 2 little huts with windows and one of these is the Panama boarder exit where you pay your exit money, $4 and the other where you get your passport stamped.... Honestly it was more difficult to get into one of my gyms when you were a member..... Lol!!!!
Then... We had to walk over a redundant bridge, which was falling to pieces.... And this wasn't a short bridge, it was easily the length of Waterloo Bridge....it wasn't a concrete bridge either, it was a wooden slat bridge, so it was eyes
Still no idea what they are....We found brown and yellow.... All very dormant thankfully.....
on feet at all times to make sure you didn't fall through!!!
Finally we arrived at the Costa Rican side, where at least you didn't go into the huts to get them stamped so it was marginally more official and we had to prove a route of exit from Costa Rica, so we just showed our flight details for leaving Guatemala City.... Finally we were through and heading for our 'man in the green t-shirt' to take us onward to Puerto Viejo..... Phew!!!!
It's a really short journey compared to all the others we've done and within 3 hours we were dropping our travel buddy off in the centre of Puerto Viejo and we kept going... And going... Now I know this place said it was on the outskirts but the 6kms did seem miles!!!!
Finally we pulled up outside Walaba Hostel in Punta Uva, which is where the best two beaches in the area are and we were really hoping for some great snorkelling and a spot more surfing.... Ever the optimists... Unfortunately the rain had not only followed us from Bocas but kept us company all the way.
The hostel was great
You could make a TV series out of these crabs they were so comical
and really quite, so much so we decided to stay an extra two days and for three of those there was only us in our 6 bed dorm and there were two other rooms that could house 5 people and only one American girl in there called Alison, who was great to chat to, her last job being an extreme sports photographer....We were kept entertained though by the spring breakers (14 of them), who had rented the large Cabina... We had some great renditions of some classics, not to mention the 24 hour sickness bug they all got!!!
Despite the rain, we had a great time here, once we'd got over the shock that everything is three times more expensive than Panama and even more expensive than Argentina and we didn't think that could be achieved!!!!
The first day we rented bikes and cycled back to Puerto Viejo to check it out and also see if we could find anywhere that sold an English adaptor...( we'd left ours in Bocas...) the chances of this we thought were slim to none, considering throughout the whole duration of our Central American and even Argentinian travels we've ran into less than
Cahuita- Team Ant on a mission...
We have no idea what they did with the leaves..... One thing for sure they weren't going to run out!!!
5 English people in total..... We also tried to visit the Jaguar Reserve, which is an animal refuge centre... But check this out we were refused entry as it was too busy!!!! So a cycle round town it was... Pretty unexciting really a few different beaches as we got to and passed Puerto Viejo, from 'Cockles' which is a surfing beach, where we bought some strange and gorgeous fruits from the a man on the road side, Puerto Viejo beach itself which is certainly nothing to write home about and then Playa Negro just past those, which although big is also as the name suggest a black beach.... Not the best. We'd already checked out Punta Uva 1 and 2 and certainly knew we had the pick of the bunch, not that we'd get much use of them if the weather continued this way. We spent 30 mins sheltering from the rain under some trees by the edge of Playa Negro waiting for the hardware store to open only to find it didn't sell English adapters surprise surprise..... Then called for some shopping and cycled the 6kms back.... And I think we only got asked if we'd like to buy
Howler Monkies from our dorm window....
Not only did we see them in our back yard..... They let you know they are there via their howl..... Usually at around 4am.......
drugs 3 times!!!!!
So a quite night in listening to the entertainment and praying for better weather the next day, which as the night passed and the howler monkeys woke us with their howls in the early morning we weren't very optimistic as the house is totally open you could hear and see the rain battering down....We must have nodded off as when we woke up at about 7.30am the sun was up and the rain had stopped....
After brekkie it was on those bikes again and another 6kms in the other direction to Manzanillo which is a protected stretch of coastline with rain forest right to its edge. Our plan had been to do the 5.5km costal walk through the rain forest and lots of desolate beaches to a place called Punta Mona but after about 3.5kms the mud really was too slippy to continue, which was a shame but at least we got to see lots of wildlife on the way, the highlights being a couple of Toucans, a Green Macaw and a rare Harpy Eagle, which were all amazing.....We made our way back to one of the little beach coves and spent a few hours
Where the Rainforest meets the Caribbean Sea
swimming and chilling, not to mention fish and bird spotting...a couple of kingfishers kept us entertained for ages, diving for fish, flying so fast about an inch above the sea, around the corner to what we presume must have been their nest and back again...The sky was turning black, so we thought it best to head back, spotting some howler monkies on the way.... But not quite making it in time to not get soaked!!!
As we'd decided to stay on, we had another day to explore so decided to take the bus up to one of Costa Rica's most visited national parks 'Cahuita', which is small but full of wildlife and has a really nice 8km trail through it, which again skims the beach in places. You can either get the bus straight through to the town of Cahuita, where you can pay a donation to walk along the more coastal section or you can do what we did and get off at the national park and pay $10 and do the whole walk, and we were really pleased we had... Only a few 100ms in and we'd already seen a group of howler monkies swinging away and when a hawk swooped past they made the most almighty howls, that Jon has on record but until you can hear it, it sounds like a cross between a wolf and a bear and really really loud!!!. A Toucan really close to us which was amazing..... It was too fast for us though and we didnt get a pic apart from that in our minds....A bit further down the trail we were watching another set of monkies who were really low and close when I thought I saw something else move and we did.... It was a sloth.... They don't move much and unfortunately it's last move was out of view but we definitely saw it!!! On we went and saw a couple stopped looking at something... Which turned out to be 2 snakes, one brown and one bright yellow, we think they were fer de lance but aren't sure, they looked really dormant but we weren't getting too close to find out!!!! A bite for lunch on the beach and whilst we had sandwiches the Mosquitos ate us... Literally! Had we come the other way, this is where we would have stopped hence why we are so pleased we didnt as despite lots of cool ants on missions and another snake, we didn't see much else but it was a good walk through to the town of Cahuita, which would have been a nice place to stay for a night, then it was back on the bus for a quick stop in Puerta Viejo to get some cash and for Jon to have the most expensive but I am assured delicious Cerviche ever at the local fish mongers and back to Punta Uva for our last night of chatting with the Amercan Students, who had cooked up quite a good spread for their friends birthday before they headed for town and Rockin J's to party the night away!!!! Whereas we were getting ready for off and our 8.40am bus to Limon on our way to our Tortuguero Turtle adventure..
So as places go as a convenient pit stop we were chuffed and had a lovely 4 nights in our open to the elements and wildlife (all kinds) hostel in the rain forest with the beach across the street, a party town up the road and national parks a plenty.....