Our first beach in Costa Rica

Published: August 29th 2008
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We decided to hire a small 4WD so that we could explore the Nicoya Peninsula at our leisure. After mastering the other side of the road and trying to calm David down we arrived at our first destination of the Santa Rosa National Park. There are 2 beaches, Playa Nancite and Playa Naranjo. We arrive at the station which lies about 12km inland from ocean.

It is apparent that not many people camp in this country so we have the entire grounds to ourselves. We have some time in the afternoon so we take a small hike up the path to the Mirador or lookout. It didn´t take long and we sat listening to the sounds of the jungle while looking towards mountain ridges to the distance. One of the things about the natural jungle is not only the known animals of cougars, pumas, coyotes, wild pigs etc would make us a little hesitant about venturing on our own but the unknown sounds that some animals make. Out of the relative silence came a howl that chilled me to the core. We looked at each other, David stood up to look down the hill from where the sound came from
The MiradorThe MiradorThe Mirador

This is where we heard our first howl...
and looked back at me to find an empty space. I had made it about 50 metres back up the path. This gutteral sound rates 8 on the pucker (fear) factor scale. For future reference we will use PF. The hike back to the camp site took half the time then the outgoing journey.

When we arrived back we heard the noise again and look up into the trees to find that this huge sound came from a reasonably small monkey called a Howler. It figures.

We pitched the tent, had a meal at the station of, you guest it, rice and beans. By this stage it had started pouring but our tent remained water tight. The rain drowned out any odd sounds that may have kept us awake and we slept well but woke for the 4am howling. This howling time is consistent throughout CR. These monkeys must have an internal clock set at 4am.

We pack the tent, sleeping bags and rolls in our backpacks with enough food for the next day and set out early for the hike to the ocean. The dirt track didn´t seem too bad for vehicles however no cars were allowed through. We noticed different kinds of animal prints...coyotes, tapirs, and possibly a large cat. Rated PF6. We walked quite fast and met up with some of the rangers cutting back some scrub with only machetes. The pawprints ended there. The rangers told us that there was no danger. Yeah, right!

We walked through a lowland area which was home to thousands of crabs. They had blue bodies and white claws, measuring about 100mm across their bodies. As we walked they backed into their holes. Couldn´t get a good picture.There were the sounds of clicking as they all moved. I was fascinated by them. Our first iguana was on the track to greet us and then many more at the site. Deer also. We have seen more natural wildlife in this day than the entire trip to date. Howler monkeys, woodpeckers, iguanas, crabs, deer, eagles, turkey vultures and many other birds a can´t name.

The campsite is right on beach and is home to other crabs. Although these seem a facsination to us at the beginning they were a pest by the end of our stay. They burrowed under our tent, got in our shoes, and generally annoying. We didn´t have much sleep that night.

Our first look at the beach and we realised we were completely alone. So I stripped off for a swim in the ocean. Now for reasons of general publication there will be no photos of this. hee hee

We also saw our first sunset over the Pacific ocean. The beach is full of driftwood and evidence of turtles having made the journey up to the high tide mark and buried their eggs.

The hike back the next day was long and very hot. But just as we set out across the flats I spotted a little one metre crocodile...but a little further up we were startled by another much larger one perhaps 2 metres (PF8) Maybe not deadly but could do us some harm. I think we shocked it more because it took off up a drain pipe. There was one long hill that was only 20mins down yesterday but took over an 1.5 hours to climb up on the way back. By the time we reached the station we were stuffed. We made it to the dining hall and in time for lunch. What a relief! Cold water to drink and plenty of savoury rice and vegetables. Just what we needed.

Not a bad start to our camping part of the trip. Plenty of pics attached. Hope you like them.

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 25


I´m glad we didn´t drive.I´m glad we didn´t drive.
I´m glad we didn´t drive.

This bridge wouldn´t take a vehicle anymore
Read thisRead this
Read this

They are supposed to live much further up the beach

29th August 2008

Did you say crocidile?
oh man i hope I am not intruding or being nosy reading your blog, I too am in Costa Rica, San Jose now but headed to the beach this weekend, we have moved here on a bit of a whim picked up from the US did a bit of research on safety of "human" factors and education and such, but I had no idea to expect Crocodiles... what fun, I look forward to the howler monkeys these, I had read about. kudos to you camping I love the adventure... Pura vida
31st August 2008

Thanks for your comment
Hi there, we have been in San Jose for 2 days and will head out to Tortuguero on Sunday for a week, then to Turrialba for a day of rafting, after that to Matapalo Beach for 2 weeks volunteering with the turtles and eggs and then finish off with a hike up Chirripo. Hope Gustav will move on quickly and not cause any heartache for anyone. Have a great time at the beach and for the remainder of your holiday. Cheers Lynne

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