Somehow I find myself a little short on time today so I’m afraid this post is going to be fairly light weight. Over the last few days on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast we have been well and truly rained upon. Fortunately until today it’s been mainly in the evening and night but we got utterly drenched today just walking a few metres to get some breakfast! It’s not a problem as such but the humidity does mean that things just don’t really dry out afterwards which is a bit annoying when you’re on the move. Still, it makes a refreshing change from the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing recently.
The week began with an unfulfilling trip to a place called Tortuguero where we paid rather a lot to trudge around on the beach for 3 hours in the middle of the night in the hope of discovering some green or leatherback turtles laying their eggs. We saw nothing. We left.
Next we moved on to Cahuita. It wasn’t far along the coast as the crow flies but involved a boat and three buses inland and back out again! It was well worth it though. Due to a lack of other viable options, we stayed at this beautiful place named Cabinas Nirvana, paying a bit more than we would usually. Our little cabina with a great view of the garden was decorated really nicely and we had our own outdoor kitchen and seating area so we saved lots of pennies (well, colons) by cooking for ourselves.
There was also a pool which was sooooo appreciated in the heat!
Howler monkeys woke us in the morning; toucans, parrots and countless other birds filled the trees; agoutis pottered about looking for food; the resident ‘puppy’ bounded about trying to entice playmates; and sometimes a wild sloth visited for a doze!
As you can see, we needn’t really have ventured beyond the garden but venture we did. We spent a day walking the beautiful Cahuita national park which had the unusual setting of reaching right to the sea. As such we were able to alternate our path between the white sand beach and the shadier jungle area.
It was a very successful day for wildlife spotting too. There were plenty of howler monkeys, active in the morning and snoozing by the afternoon.
We got another chance to see a sloth, complete with baby!
And, aside from a fleeting glimpse of one a few weeks ago, it was the first time we were properly able to observe white faced capuchin monkeys.
Lizards and crabs (in an amazing array of colours) darted and scuttled about everywhere plus the odd squirrel and spider. We need to practise our snake spotting skills though because we didn’t find any despite them apparently being common there.
From Cahuita we travelled to Puerto Viejo De Talamanca which, for once, was a tiny journey of only about 30 minutes! It was even rainier though. We’ve spent most of our time indoors, researching South America but today we visited the Jaguar Rescue Centre. There were no jaguars: it was so called after its first ever inhabitant. But there were lots of other orphaned and injured animals and it seemed like the centre and its volunteers are doing an amazing job of releasing them back into the wild wherever possible. The only way to visit is to take a tour. This was our guide and one of her charges, Tequila the papaya-loving keel-billed toucan:
Lots of snakes and a crocodile with one eye after the other was poked out by drunken locals in a pub:
A very excitable and friendly squirrel, some new arrival baby owls, a rhinoceros beetle and one of several frolicking deer:
A blind anteater:
And the highlight, sloths! There was a tiny baby…
… and two older ones which had to be moved back (reluctantly) into their accommodation in towels on account of their very sharp claws!
In addition to what is pictured we saw various parrots and birds of prey, an ocelot with cataracts, a machete-wounded margay, frogs and spiders, each with their own story. We also got to enter a cage containing young howler monkeys learning to climb and socialise! The older residents were out in the forest for the morning. Unlike so many animal ‘sanctuaries’ the centre doesn’t allow tourists to interact with the animals on the whole but their experience has deemed it beneficial for humans to enter the monkey area as stimulus for them. Unfortunately they didn’t seem interested in playing today but it was still cool to be able to get so close to them.
Walking back we were able to enjoy some more seaside jungle.
That’s it for Costa Rica! Tomorrow we’re heading to Panama, first to the mountains then to the capital. For anyone tiring of the endless animal pictures, hopefully I’ll find something different to write about for next time!