At last we have traveled the length of Costa Rica and arrived at the OSA Penninsula on the Pacific side. It is almost in Panama and is home to much of the possible wildlife in Costa Rica. More specifically it is home to Corcavado National Park which is 60,000 hectares of rainforest that is very carefully protected. It is probably the most difficult area to get to and to explore as we soon learned when we turned off of the tortured and potholed main road and headed up and over the even more challenging dirt road to Drake's Bay. Thankfully we had gotten a 4 wheel drive vehicle and fortunately it was the dry season because it would have been impossibly muddy if it had been wet and we had to do quite a few river crossings as it was
. We stopped earlier for breakfast and met Miguel who lived half way between there and Drakes's Bay so we gave him a lift and then he called his friend Martin in Drakes Bay whose niece runs a set of cabinas.
He described us to Martin and said that he would find us and give us a good deal on the room. Sure enough, as soon as we came to the first intersection in town, Martin was standing by the road and hailed us. He took us to a house that was less than impressive and introduced us to his niece who then led us up a winding path where the cabins were nestled in the woods. Fine if you want that; but this is a beautiful coastal location and we were both shaking our heads; but on she went until we reached the top of the hill and she showed us our cabin looking
out over the bay with a cool sea breeze blowing across our porch. We settled in for the evening with some wine and cheese and watched as 30 parrots landed in the tree above us and then we watched 3 pairs of Scarlet Macaws glide noisily by.
The next day we joined a girl from Iceland and her beau from London and two Columbian chaps also from London on a hike through the Corcavado National park led by Carlos.
He has been guiding for 25 years and does it barefoot no less. He did not really share my interest in birds; but we saw a Great Currasow, 2 Trogans, and a Pygmy kingfisher. We also saw Tapir tracks
as big as your hand and a very brief glimpse of a fer-de-lance ( you have about 7 hours to get to the antivenin). We also saw troops of spider and howler monkeys and watched in amazement as the Spider
monkeys leapt from one tree to another with their babies on their backs. He also showed us vines for arthritis, plants for gastritis, a "prehistoric " plant, two leaves of which can be boiled to make a poison so strong that it kills as quickly as cyanide. He then stabbed at the bark of a tree and let us taste the milky white sap. It tasted like marshmallows, but it is used to stop bleeding very quickly. It was extremely sticky and made it hard to separate your fingers after the experiment
. Finally he took us to a waterfall and let us swim in the cool water.
What a treat after a long hot and humid walk! We could never have arranged all of this by ourselves or just hiked into the park. The boat ride to the far side was close to 45 mins and I think that we would have been walking for several hours just to reach the near side. Our hostess at the Jade Mar set it all up and it was only $60 pp. which is much less than what many of the more expensive e hotels charges. Tomorrow we are going snorkeling at Canos Island 12 miles out from Drakes Bay and supposedly one of the best places in CR to see fish and coral.