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Published: October 1st 2013
After an easy border crossing, we found ourselves in Costa Rica. The original intention was to go Puerto Viejo, but instead we have stumbled across a great, sleepy little town called Cahuita, about 30 minutes north, which borders a beautiful coastline national park. We have scored well here too, finding really cheap accommodation in a private cabin next to the beach. The cabin is rustic, but to have our own little private space, including a kitchen, is gold. For one week we will not have to time our cooking as to when there is a hot plate or bench space available. We even have our own fridge, it may not sound like much, but after 7 months of trying to find some space in a common, and usually bacteria infected fridge, it is a nice home comfort to have. On the Sunday we went to the weekly market, stocking up on organic fruit n veg, as well as home made smoked cheeses, and coconut yoghurt. It storms most nights, and on one particular night it got pretty wild. Just as mojo had finished cooking, lightning blew up the transformer on the road with a massive bang, resulting in us eating dinner
by candlelight watching the storm unleash above us for hours.
At night the sound of the waves puts you to sleep, and then at 4.30am the sounds of howler monkeys marking their territory is a nice way to wake up (and then again fall asleep too). The place is run by lovely German couple, one of whom has been here 36 years after travelling the world and then finding his ideal life here. The cabin is set in a dense garden, with humming birds clicking over the many hibiscuses, and Agouti's and Squirrels trawling the place for nuts and fruit. Apparently there are Sloths in the tree's above, but we have not seen one yet.
We did see a Sloth though, along with many other animals, when we went for a walk through the national park on our second day. White faced Capuchin monkeys jump from tree to tree above you, searching for fruit and nuts, but sometimes also hunting for something that you may have on you. The little buggers are smart enough to unzip people's backpacks while the owner is in the sea or not paying attention. They are also known for being able to pounce
down onto your shoulder, take your hat and sun glasses, and disappear before you can swat them away. Troublesome, but very cute in a mischievous way. Then there are the howlers, who mainly sit in the one place for the day, with the lead male bellowing into the distance, and if you get too close, throwing branches down at you. They prefer the really high tree's, so it is near impossible to see them up close, but you can hear them from a long way away, even with the sound of the nearby waves. We came across one tree that could have been out of to movie Avatar, it was enormous and home to around 50 howlers.
The national park is well organised, and as we found out, you need to reach checkpoints along the trail by a certain time, otherwise you cannot continue. Starting the hike after lunch, we were unable to do the full circuit, being turned away at the half way mark, so we finished the hike a few days later. I think the walk was equivalent to some of the jungle tours that we did in South America, just without the exorbitant price attached to
it. Costa Rica means Rich Coast, and fellow travellers had told us that the country is like a zoo, but we were not expecting to see so much so quickly. And we still have the really wild national parks like Corcovado and Tortuguero to do.
Although the country is beautiful, it's not as cheap as its neighbours to travel through, I guess due to the influx of US retiree's that started coming here in their droves in the 50's. And the beer is unfortunately nothing to desire for, at all. But it is stunningly beautiful, from the crazy animals that are literally everywhere, to the people free beaches, and the friendly locals who greet you each time when walking past. They are happy people here, maybe because they know what they have...
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