El Carribe

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Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » Limón » Cahuita
October 4th 2010
Published: October 5th 2010
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Lo siento pero no quiero escribir en español hoy. Fue un fin de semana con mucho español y quiero hablar un poco de inglés.

Saturday I had to get up at 4:30 am to get ready for our trip to Cahuita. We had a 6 am bus departing from downtown San Jose so we had a shuttle pick us up around 5 am. There were 10 of us on the trip which made it very fun (and a little difficult at times). After a brief argument with the bus driver I snuck my bag onboard (he wanted me to put it under, but with what I have heard about the buses in Costa Rica there was no way I was going to allow this!) and was able to stuff it into the overhead compartment much to the chagrin of the driver. The bus ride was tranquil for the most part, and about 3 hours in we took a stop at an overpriced shop in Limon. When we got back on the bus, one of the girls in my group, Magdalena from Austria, could not find her backpack. At least she had been prudent enough to take her valuables off the bus with her, but the window next to her seat was open and we figured that the thief had picked up her backpack off the floor and tossed it out the window where he later collected his winnings. We remained on high alert the rest of the bus ride, and on the return trip, which I will reference in more detail later, 4 of us did not leave the bus during the stop!

We got into Cahuita a little after 10 am Saturday morning and we excitedly walked the 2 blocks into the center of town from the bus station. We had no reservations so we decided to look for a hostel close to the beach. After visiting a few, we settled on Kelly’s Hotel and Restaurant, located right next to the entrance to the national park. It was a bit pricier than the other places we looked ($13 a night per person instead of $9, what a horrible deal!) but it was next to the beach which was important to us, and the proprietor was very friendly and accommodating of our large group.

We quickly changed into our beach attire and headed for the sea. It was my first time in the Caribbean and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It wasn’t an overly sunny day, more overcast in fact but the sun’s rays are very strong in Costa Rica (a UV index of above 10 is normal) and we could undoubtedly feel the warm (and wrath) of the sun through the clouds. The water was a perfect temperature and modestly clear. We soaked up the rays for a few hours before heading for lunch. We went to a Chinese restaurant (there are a lot of Chinese in Costa Rica, they have established themselves as hard workers, especially in San Jose and the areas surrounding Limon) where I ordered Chow Mein expecting noodles as fat as the ones from Black Pearl on 35th but instead got very thin, crunchy ones. The food was still good so I can’t complain too much.

After lunch it was time for a nap before the real fun began. I felt like I was back in Tamarindo as we spent the evening drinking and laughing, taking an hour to grab dinner (of course we went during happy hour so we could get 2 x 1 cocktails) before heading to the bar around 8:30. I was fairly inebriated and even enjoyed a few dances with some of my friends (I danced merengue for a song!, and then got down to the reggaeton later!).

I left the bar around 11pm and headed back to the hotel to get some sleep. I was awakened multiple times by the rest of the group (one other guy had returned home around 10 30 but he was able to sleep through the ruckus) as they came back from the bard to get into swimming gear. Unfortunately they were denied access to the beach by the park guards and had to look for fun somewhere else. I think they finally stumbled into bed around 12 30.
We awoke around 7 30 (my life here is in ways more normal than my one back home, I get up at 7 am every day and don’t return home until after 4 pm, and I eat rice and beans, and vegetables every day. Why only now?) and grabbed a quick coffee and some fruit before we prepared for our 2.5 hour boat adventure. We weren’t sure what to expect but had been offered a morning on a boat for $20 each which we thought would be fun. When we headed to the boat we were surprised to find 7 other people joining our party and the boat appeared to be a rickety skiff unsuitable for more than 7 people. After some hesitation, and the departure of one of our friends, we boarded the boat and set out on our adventure. It turns out that we were only going across the bay (10 minutes max with a weak engine) to snorkel in water that was at most 8 feet deep. The coral was all dead which was sad and disappointing but we were able to see quite a few fish and for the most part we enjoyed ourselves. We then headed to another spot around the point to snorkel again and here we saw some larger fish (only 1 or 2 people actually saw something noteworthy, I saw some sort of ray fish, while one girl saw a small shark, not sure what kind). We then headed to a tiny patch of white sand where we went ashore and were treated to fresh fruit.

I have forgotten to mention that our guides were two afro-Caribbean men, who looked straight out of a movie scene from Jamaica. Very dark, dreadlocks with a few shells in the hair, accented English. I felt like I was once again in an entirely different place while in Cahuita. The Caribbean is very different than the other parts of Costa Rica I had been too. Very relaxed, sunny, a little more impoverished looking, and more diversity in terms of race/ orientation.

After our fruit lunch we headed back to Cahuita proper. We had to rush back to the hostel because check-out was at 12 pm and it was 11:45. We took a quick shower and packed our things before storing them in the office. We didn’t leave until 4:30 so we split up and spent the rest of the day doing various activities. We grabbed lunch, and I tried to find internet to know what had happened to my beloved Sounders and Huskies, while others went to swim again and other went to check out the black sand beach, while the other group went to walk in and explore the park.

Unable to find internet I bought some fresh fruit and sat in a hammock at the hotel. That only lasted 5 minutes before I could no longer bare all the exotic noises surrounding me. The hammock was located in the back of the hotel a few feet from the riverbank the runs out into the bay. In my short time there I was many birds, a sloth crawling overhead, monkeys, and a giant lizard crawling up a tree nearby that pushed me over the edge. I retreated to the beach and watch from shore as my friends splashed around in the surf.

We gathered around 3:30 to grab our things and venture off to the bus station. We left around 4:30 without much fanfare and began the journey home. I was more awake this time and took more notice of what we passed by, lots and lots of agriculture. Bananas and pineapples were everywhere. Between them, the companies of Chiquita, Dole, and Del Monte, must own 10%!o(MISSING)f Costa Rica. I was so many of their plantations and giant processing facilities, not to mention hundreds of their containers (Limon is also known as Puerto Limón so I’m assuming it is where most of the fruit leaves the country) stacked up in facilities along the highway.

We were about 40 minutes outside of San Jose when we came across the scene of an accident. It must have been fairly horrific because there were many flashing lights at the scene. We were the first car stopped on our side, so we must have just missed it. We had to wait 30+ minutes before we were allowed to pass, and when we got into San Jose it began to pour. We had planned to take the bus back to Santo Domingo from the station, but with the rain some of us preferred to take a taxi and after a few intense minutes of haggling with the taxistas we found a decent priced ride home.

And that concludes my weekend! Today was uneventful, 6 hours of class and nothing more. I am exhausted as always and hope to get to bed before 11pm tonight!

Hasta luego.


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