3 days in Puerto Viejo, or is it in Jamaica?


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On Monday, May 7h, Rebecka and I got up at 5AM to take the 6AM bus from San José to Puerto Viejo. I was super tired, because we had been drinking with Rick and Clark until 1AM and this would not be a good day. Well, I’m not 20 anymore... ^_^The bus ride was ok, but I couldn’t sleep at all, so the 5h were quite long. We arrived to Puerto Viejo pretty early and went straight to our hostel, the Oasis hostel. We relaxed on the hammocks until we could check in at 11:30AM and then went to get lunch. It took us quite some time to find a nice place where Rebecka could find some vegan food as well. It was quite good, but nothing special. I spent the afternoon on the beach, just outside of our hostel, sleeping and relaxing, while Rebecka stayed in the hammocks. In the evening, we went for dinner and, unfortunately, we could only find very expensive pizza places... Still, we had dinner in a pizzaria close to our hostel and it was so big that it was enough for my dinner the following night as well.



The next morning, we went at 8AM by bike to the Jaguar Rescue Center. This place was really cool! It’s huge and there are many animals to be seen, but don’t mistake it for a zoo. All the animals there are animals they have rescued or that have been brought to them because they lived too close to humans or were almost killed by humans. There were many sloths, monkeys, birds and even 2 ocelots. If it’s possible, they release them into nature after as soon as possible, but some animals, like the older ocelot there, keep getting too close to humans - trying to kill chickens - and are threatened by humans, so they keep them in the refuge. They do 2 tours for tourists every day and that’s how they finance the rescue center, because the government doesn’t finance them. There are many volunteer working there and helping out and they have to change tasks every day, so that the animals don’t get used and attached to one of them. It’s a really nice place and you get to see many animals. :-D



After this visit, we went to the Manzanillo beach, a beautiful place, where we had lunch, then chilled on the beach. The temperature of the water was absolutely perfect, not too hot, not too cold, and it was pretty clear. A very nice beach!

Then we went to the national park there, where we walked in the forest and on the beaches for some time. This park was really nice and we enjoyed being out of the heat of the sun. :-)



The next morning, we took the 7:30AM bus to Cahuita, where we visited another national park. We enjoyed it a lot, the temperature was pretty nice, we were most of the time in the shade of the trees in the forest, but always close to the beach. The beaches were absolutely beautiful with the clear blue water and the white sand !

We saw many crabs and some monkeys and squirrels and it was all fun until we were attacked by 2 spider monkeys. We were just taking pictures of some crabs when suddenly Rebecka told me : « Bianca, I’ve got a monkey on my bag! » and, indeed, there was a monkey sitting on her bag, trying to open the pockets. When it didn’t manage to open them, it climbed up on her shoulder and, then, it saw me. I don’t know if it smelled the banana I had eaten earlier that morning or the cereal bar, but it ran to me, climbed up my bag and tried to open the zippers of my bag. When Rebecka told me it had managed to open of of them, I turned around and the monkey tried to bite me! I let go of my bag and kept one foot on it, so the monkey would not be able to leave with it. At the rescue center, they had told us, that spider monkeys are super intelligent and, because some stupid tourists feed them, they know that humans have food. They can get into groups of around 70 monkeys and sometimes they attack people to get food. If you don’t give them food, they will steal something else, like a phone or a camera, and if you give them food, they might give it back. They hadn’t told us anything about agressive monkeys, though... So when I tried to pull on my bag to get to monkey off it, it attacked my again and bit me 3 times in the leg! Rebecka had tried to give them an apple, but only the not so agressive one had taken it and the one sitting on my bag didn’t even flinch. I was very scared and desperate to keep my bag and told Rebecka to do something! Unfortunately we had no food left at all and so the only solution was to throw water on the monkey. So, Rebecka sacrificed her bottle of water and, after a while, the monkey let go of my bag and we left as fast as we could! Fortunately, the monkeys didn’t follow us, but I was panicked and paranoid for the rest of the walk ...



I asked some park rangers we met if it is dangerous and if I have to go see a doctor, but they said - being very desinterested - « no, as long as it doesn’t hurt much, you’re ok ». Still, it did hurt quite a lot and I didn’t trust their judgement, so, after getting a ride back to Puerto Viejo by an American couple living there and volunteering in Limon, I went to seek medical attention. There was no hospital around, but a medical center for emergencies.

Inside, it was very empty, but there was a guy sitting outside, Ivan, who called the doctor and let me talk to him on the phone. He promised to be there in 15 minutes and so I waited, while Rebecka went back to our hostel. No need for both of us to waste our time sitting around waiting. When the doctor finally came, he was a very nice and friendly guy. He told me that I could just get the Tetanus injection, but, in place, he would also take to rage vaccination and, since my insurance will cover it, I decided to take it. He told me, that he did mostly house calls since the medical center is only just being created and there is much work to do to finish it.

He sent me to the pharmacy where I got the injection and the first dose of the rage vaccination (there are 5 dosis that must be taken in 3 weeks time). Strangely, in Costa Rica, it’s not the doctor in the medical center who gives you injections, but the doctor working in the pharmacies. Every pharmacy seems to have one and they are not authorised to prescribe something, but they can give you injections.



It was quite late when I got back to the hostel and I didn’t do much for the rest of the day. Rebecka cooked some pasta for us and we chilled. Thank God I didn’t get sick from the vaccination !

That night, we had to share a bunkbed (top bed), because we had asked very late to stay one more night and they had only 1 bed left. Fortunately, he beds were quite large and so it was ok.



We had enjoyed our stay in the Oasis hostel quite much. It was pretty small with only 1 dorm (9 beds), but it was charming and the owners, a young couple from Israel, were really nice and helpful. The atmosphere was ok, but not the best maybe.



In Puerto Viejo in general, you feel like being on Jamaica. The flag from Jamaica is hanging on every window, you get asked all the time if you want to buy some weed and most people are stoned. It was nice for 3 days, but I wouldn’t want to stay there for longer.


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