Tortuguero has quaint resorts with Clusters of rustic cabins in the midst of the rain forest right at the Caribbean coast.
It rained a lot our two days there (surprise!), but we did get some sun. We had a few monkeys running through the encampment,
along with lizards and a few birds, but I was sorely disappointed by the noticeable LACK of fauna of all kinds. I was expecting much more. Very few birds, not much in the way of insects (thankfully), and we were not awoken by howler monkees as we were warned, although we saw them around. A few sloths, iguanas, and a couple crocs and caymans. But it was not “teaming with life” as i had expected. Indeed my mom’s place on bayou liberty in slidell louisiana has more abundant wildlife just outside her front door. Guess i’m spoiled. But we enjoyed the thick flora, lots of greenery and flowers. Still very nice.
They took us to the turtle nesting grounds on the beach, and then through the touristy village of tortuguera. Cute, but i guess after living a couple summers in a real caribbean fishing village of port royal, jamaica, this was not something i needed to experience.
The next day we went on another boat tour looking for wildlife. We didn’t see much – a couple sloths, blue heron, a cayman, a few other birds.
Can you see the tail of the cayman (small croc)?
An anhinga drying its wings after the rain
After another long boat/bus trek back out of the jungle, we headed towards arenal volcano near the west coast.
On the way we stopped for lunch at a restaurant that had a huge ancient tree called the white almond, still around because the wood is so hard the loggers couldn’t float them out and nails can’t be driven into it. They told us this type of tree was the model for the tree in the avatar movie. Does kind of look like it.
Some of our bus mates to try to give you an idea of how truly massive and tall this tree is.
We also saw a sloth on the grounds, more flowers, and a poison dart frog Jose found for us.
Can you see the sloth?
So now here we are at a super nice resort at the base of arenal volcano, a still active crater, although it just spits steam mostly lately.
Most of the day the top is covered by clouds, but i was able to catch it early this am and could see the steam hissing out of the top. Our “cabin” is next to a field with cows and orange trees, and there are bananas growing in our front yard.
Last night after traveling all day across the country we soaked in the hot springs here. Sweet.
The food so far has been nice, lots of beans and rice, but what really stands out is the fruit we get every meal. Sweet and fresh. We stopped at a pineapple plantation, and we pass many banana plantations, guava groves, and all manner of sweet edibles.
The banana picker hauls the bananas on a track to the processing plant.
Lots of cows – well treated and mostly bramas. Nearly everyone has a dog or two and they appear well cared for. Roads are good, only saw one minor fenderbender, and not much poverty, mostly on the outskirts of san jose. We drove through a lot of little towns, and the houses are small but neat. People are super friendly, and do seem very happy.
Costa Rica is a unique country. They abolished their military so they could apply those funds to healthcare and education. Everyone gets healthcare. Education is very important. And it really shows. Internet is everywhere. Everyone has cell phones. the cars are nice and fairly new. The country is modern and clean and they try to do things in a responsible way. Big on ecology, conservation and agriculture. Tourism is the biggest indusry here and you can tell they care.
Internet has been good everywhere so far. Free either in the room or at least near reception. So i have been able to keep tabs on my email and voicemail, upload pictures and of course send this out. Even allowed myself to check the news, but am trying to avoid that.
Tomorrow we head to a marriott resort on the Pacific coast for some sun and sand, and then back to san jose to wrap up the canned part of our trip. From there we rent a car and drive back down to the southern part of the Pacific coast for a few days near Dominical.
But today we are taking it easy, catching up with laundry and rest, the weather is perfect, and life is sweet.