Off to the Rain Forest!!

Trip Start Nov 05, 2005
Trip End Jan 04, 2006

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Saturday, November 26, 2005

Off to Tortuguero early this morning, for an overnite! Our drive through the Braulio Carrillo Nat'l Park was really nice through the mountains and at one point, we stopped near the summit where the temperature must have been about 10C! Brrr! Saw many volcanoes (Costa Rica has 112 inactive and 9 active ones).

Saw my first accident on the highway -- semi truck and trailer on it's side, pretty close to the edge, which drops into the canyon!! And our guide and I were just talking about some of the "kamakazi drivers" on these roads.

We stopped at a banana plantation which was interesting. All the tourists stop and watch the people work and take pictures of them. Not sure I would like people snapping away as I'm working, but oh well. I learned alot, so maybe that's the point. We were told that they make about $410 US a month and their housing, electricity and water is covered, which means they can save a good chunk of what they make and retire early! Everyone's dream!

Finally made it to the Rio Párismina where the road ends (if you can call it a road) and now we transfer to a boat. The rain forest is amazing and our guides have such a keen eye on spotting the wildlife. We saw Jesus Christ lizards (because they walk on water and balance with their tails), cayman (crocodile), turtles and many kinds of birds and vulchars!

After about a 1/2 hour, we stopped to drop off some people and I knew it was noon somewhere, so I had my first cervaza in Costa Rica (only took me 8 days! What is happening to me?) I think I even got a buzz from it.... more practica!!!

We made our way to our hotel Samoa (by water of course). When that road ended, everything from then on, is only accessible by boat or small planes (which crash in the mountains quite often). This place is so quiet with bungalow style lodging. It also has a really nice pool -- some kind of paradise!!

Back in the boat to visit the actual town of Tortuguero! Only 740 people live here and again, only accessible by boat. This is where all the sea turtles (green) come to lay their eggs every year from June to October. They take about 53 days to hatch, so some are definitely hatching now! They make their way to along the tree line where there's not so much salt, and dig a big hole and pop out from 120-180 eggs. When those little guys hatch, they head to the water and in 30-35 years, will come back to the same place to lay their own eggs. It's really interesting.

Tortuguero is such a tiny town, but they have internet and a recylcing program. Go figure! Not much surprises me anymore -- just amazes me!

At 5am sharp on Sunday morning, the Howler Monkeys woke up and woke me up. But this time, I was expecting them and looking forward to hearing them again. It's the most unique sound. We spent most of the day on the river and in the canals which are more narrow and you feel more closed in with the tall trees above you. So it's a little more eery! I was pretty proud of myself when I spotted an iguana all by myself. You have to understand that these animals blend right in with the forest so finding them is difficult! We saw more caimans, sloths, blue herons, spider monkeys and howler monkeys! For a treat at the end of the afternoon, we saw 4 HUGE crocodiles just hanging out (waiting to attack, I'm sure!).

The whole weekend was just spectacular! And we even walked along the Caribbean for a bit and saw the tracks of the baby turtles as they made their way to the water. We didn't get to see them - was too late in the day.

Our guide, Chito (chee-to), said to me... "you look like a local with your brown skin -- just don't open your mouth!". I'm sure he didn't mean it the way it came out! Our drive back was super-scary. I knew I shouldn't have watched but I'm way too curious. It was really foggy through the mountains and everyone drives like they're on speed. Will I ever get used to it??

Was a great weekend -- got a little bitten up by mosquitos so I have new bites to scratch, just when I got over the last batch!!! Tough life, but I'll take it!
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