Carlos the turtle

Trip Start Jun 16, 2012
Trip End Jul 31, 2012

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Heredia,
Sunday, June 24, 2012

This weekend we made our way via bus, boat, and treking through deep forest the a brick wall of humidity to the most beautiful place on earth: Tortuguero Costa Rica! After waking up in time for the 5:30 am bus pickup time, which was a challenge in itself, I got picked up and we were on our way to the rosty pollo!! Once we got there we there were greeted by the most BA tour guide on the planet, Carlos. We picked up some pretty cool people on our way out of the city, apparently Tortuguero is a hot place for locals and tourists alike; we were accompanied by a nice couple from San Jose, she was a microbiologist and he was an OBGYN, a couple from the east coast of the USA and he was the head of some international business that dealt with most of the middle east, africa, and the Americas, and also an odd couple from Australia who were big time ranchers and were on a 3 month vacation!
So we hop on our tour bus and make our way to the bus-boat transfer station, and on our way we pass miles and miles of banana farms. About half way to the station, we stopped at a great restaurant But immediately upon stepping off the bus we got slammed with a brick wall of humidity! And so we booked it to our boat, which sat about 25 people. The humidity was pretty much gone once we got moving and the breeze felt amazing. It took us around an hour to get to the village of Tortuguero; And the way over there was the most beautiful scenery by far that I've ever seen. we pull up to the "Laguna Lodge" dock and were greeted with a fresh coctail and got our room keys and check into our rooms. The rooms were very small, but might as well have been outdoors; there we're windows on either side with mere shutters that you could close, and a bug net on the windows and around the top of the room. It was very humid, but had the most powerful little fan that was kickin as hard as it could. But that night we had a great dinner, and took a walk through the resorts mascot "red eyed frog" farm; this frog was amazing, and it was pretty hard not to take a National Geographic worthy picture it was so cool. We got to see the complete life cycle of the frog, from egg to tadpole to adult.
So we spend the night in the bar, and headed to the room... And not knowing the walls were paper thin, we were pretty loud and the people next to us banged on the wall!! So the rest of the night we were quiet, and u can imagine the next morning was pretty awkward.
Saturday morning we woke up early to head out on the canals with Carlos and watched the forrest wake up. This forrest is so dense and full of life, it is nicknamed the Amazon of Central America. We saw some awesome creatures: White Faced Monkeys, Spider monkeys, Howler monkeys, alligators, hundreds of birds, fantastic vegetation, Iguanas everywhere, snakes, turtles, and massive 8 inch insects!
After our 2 hour tour we headed back and ate some breakfast at the outdoor dining room that overhung on the river that was infested with fish and crocodiles. Then at 10 we hopped back on the boat, and went out on some smaller canals that we could be closer to the life. It was intensely hot and humid, but most of the river was completely covered with massive trees so it wasn't too bad. On this excursion we saw some alligators less than 5 feet away, Carlos picked out a turtle swimming by the boat, and we got 5 feet to this interesting bird that naturally produces no oil like other water birds to repel water, so it must sit on a branch with its wings out to dry.
When we got back from that tour, we headed back to the lodge and got some lunch and spent the rest of the day hanging it in the resorts two pools, hammock tiki, beach, river bar, and just around the beautiful island.
I was in absolute paradise, and did not ever want to leave. So we savored every moment on our last night there. I figured it would be as good time as any to drink my first maragita; so I walk up to bar and order,and the bartender pours 2 shots of tequila and one shot of guaro in there! This was the strongest drink I had ever had! I had to drink half, and go back to add more juice and have him blend it, and after diluting it by half it was then an excellently proportioned alcoholic drink!! Upon finishing that drink, I decided to stick to my news favorite drink... Imperial! Well, we figured after that we would go to bed for our 7 hour trip back to San Juaquin the next morning.
So we wake up, have breakfast, hop on the boat, and waive goodbye to the astonishing village of Tortuguero! The river was very low on our way back, so we had to shift around the boat, and it took about twice as long to get there... 2 hours, but I didn't complain because we were immersed in the most beautiful scenery. After transitioning to the bus, we slowly but surely made our way back to San Jose, and made our "last stop" at the same restaurant we stopped at for breakfast on our way over. After eating, Carlos comes over and gets everyone's attention... He says "hey guys... Umm I have some bad news". Those are kind of words you never want to hear when your in another country in the middle of nowhere. But he proceeds to tell us that all of the taxi drivers are on strike in the middle of the road about 3 miles down. So we hang out for about an hour trying to figure out what we are going to do, because the Australians, and the Spaniards need to be dropped off right on the other side of the strike. So Carlos's final decision is to head out to go another way around that adds about 2 hours onto our trip, and leave those people at the restaurant and the tour company will come get than later. As we're pulling out of the parking lot, Carlos expresses his frustration to us that the company basically has money coming out of their eyes, and they could pay for a helicopter to come and get them out of this mess with pocket change! So we continue on our track back home, and along the way see some beautiful scenery. Much nicer than the way over, the views were astonishing from the top of the mountain seeing green, massive mountains for as far as you can see!
So we finally made it back home, about 10 hours later... But I can say we made an awesome connection with our cool tour guide! We even became Facebook friends with him.... Imagine that. Overall, Tortuguero was an experience like none other. I will miss you.
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