Cahuita National Park

Published: April 11th 2015
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Big BugBig BugBig Bug

About the size of my thumb. Eating a dead leaf. Don't know what it is but the guide that came past while I was taking the photograph seemed impressed and drew a circle around it so nobody would step on it.
Today, Claudette is taking a vacation from vacation. It is a do nothing day for her. For me, vacations are all about doing things. I do enough of nothing in my regular life, so today I am off to Cahuita National Park for a stroll through the jungle bordering the beach.

It is not far to go, only a ten minute walk to the other end of town. It opens directly onto a beach. You can hire a guide to point out wildlife or do it on your own. The trail follows the coastline with spurs leading to small secluded beaches. At one point, the trail cuts across a peninsula to give the hiker a since of the real jungle.

The signage gives fair warning at some of the beaches that rip tides are present. These are marked with red flags while the safe beaches are marked with green pennants. Other signs warn not to feed the monkeys. They are crafty creatures that will sneak up to the picnic table and steal your lunch if you turn your back. It was hot walking the trail and I stopped frequently for a dip in the surf. A couple of times
Ant HighwayAnt HighwayAnt Highway

Leaf-cutter ants have used this pathway so much that all debris has been pushed to the side giving a smooth surface for the back and forth. Smaller ants will hop on to the pieces of leaf to inspect it for quality. If it fails, the ant drops it and goes back for more. There is quite a pile of rejects near the nest entrance. I discovered that if I run my fingers across the highway, the ants become confused and start wandering around in circles.
I continued on after seeing monkey prints in the sand.

I saw more wildlife today than on any other. I found monkeys, a sloth, lizards, a snake, quite a few different insects, many bird varieties and hundreds of hermit crabs that flitted into holes or shells at my approach. At one point, I came across a game of musical shells. There was a battle going on for a bigger shell between two crabs. Smaller ones hung around in the hopes of upgrading to a larger home. They scattered when I got too close. One crab ended up with nothing as the remaining shells were too small. Good luck buddy!

The far end of the trail ended in a kilometre long picnic area. Each table had its own little beach marked with a red or green flag. Not far from the exit, some Italian guy had set up shop with a bar/resto with showers and a pool. This was a welcome surprise for me. I was hot and sweaty, tired and hungry after this five kilometre hike in the humid heat. The guy served up an excellent chicken casserole.

It was getting a little
Blue Crab 1Blue Crab 1Blue Crab 1

Once the shells get too heavy to carry around on their backs, the crabs move into holes in the ground. Some share with leaf-cutter ants. They don't seem to wander far from their holes.
late to hike back along the park trailso I took the local bus. I certainly did not want to get caught in the jungle after dark. Lions, tigers and bears, you know. At the side of the road, waiting with me for the bus was a woman and young boy and various baggage, including a nylon sack. Every once in a while she would open it up and peer inside. She was being careful to keep it in the shade. My curiosity was satisfied when the bag began to move and clucking sounds emerged from the sack.

Later, on the bus, I saw her grimace. Then the people around her did the same and started giving her the evil eye. I guess the chicken had pooped in the bag.

Back in Cahuita, I headed back to our cabin for a short, refreshing shower and a nap in the hammock on our porch. A short snooze listening to the surf was enough to revitalize me for the rest of the day. I went to the black sand beach at our end of town for some body surfing. By the time I had tired myself out again, I found I
Blue Crab 2Blue Crab 2Blue Crab 2

One of the smaller crabs hauling around his house on his back.
had drifted a good three hundred metres down the beach.

I gathered up my stuff and headed back to our cabin for our daily rum punch. We decided to have supper at Miss Edith’s. We had come across this place on our meanderings the first day and thought it might serve typical Caribe meals. Looking through the menu, I came across some Jamaican jerk dishes. Bingo. Finally. I had been searching for this all week.

I ordered the fish version. It was great but it took some time to pick out all the bones and sprigs of thyme. The taste of the fish still came through the home-made sauce. For dessert, a big piece of chocolate cake with home-made cantaloupe ice cream. I have never tasted a cake with such a chocolatety flavour! Too bad we leave tomorrow. Still, I could always come back for lunch...

Home for a few hands of gin rummy and early to bed. I will regret this as I will be ready to go tomorrow before sunrise.

Additional photos below
Photos: 9, Displayed: 9


Crab FightCrab Fight
Crab Fight

Like a game of musical chairs, a crab outgrows his home and comes across a bigger shell. He may have to evict the present occupant. Then there is a frenzy as all the other crabs in the nieghbourhood upgrade also. One fellow was left with nothing. He will either have to dig a hole or wander about to find another shell or get eaten.
Butterfly 2Butterfly 2
Butterfly 2

Same one.
Cahuita N P TrailCahuita N P Trail
Cahuita N P Trail

I sure would not want to get caught out on the trail by myself after dark. All sorts of beasties make their appearance at night! Thankfully, there are signs along the trail telling you how long it will take you to walk to the end of the trail.

Looking back at the village from half way along the park trail.

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