More Pacific coast

Trip Start Mar 31, 2010
Trip End Mar 31, 2011

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Saturday, December 11, 2010

We travelled to our next destination, Jaco, by a crazy speedboat trip.  We carried our bags onto the beach where we put them into plastic sacks and waded out to a little speedboat.  It proceeded at full speed across a bay in waters that must have been about as rough as this little boat could stand, everyone was soaked to the skin within minutes and holding on tight to avoid going over the edge.  This was great fun but like all travel in Costa Rica, was pretty tiring.

We planned only a short stop in Jaco because it is a beach resort notorious for being overdeveloped, noisy and full of foreigners.  This reputation must have kept all the foreigners away because the place was full of Costa Ricans and was much smaller and quieter than we expected.  Indeed, arriving on a Saturday, we were in the rare mood of fancying a night out and we couldn't find anywhere to get a drink after 10pm.

We were staying in an apartment with a kitchen, so thereafter we decided to stay in and cook for ourselves.  Before we left, we thought that we would miss cooking, but in fact we´ve found it very enjoyable eating out every night.  Although we´ve missed certain foods, we´ve not missed cooking at all.  In fact, staying in for a night at first felt completely wrong, as if we would be missing something by not going out.  It turned out that we could still cook reasonably well and had such a pleasant time eating in that we decided to stay here for 6 nights and stay in for all of them.  The difficulty of transport has made us abandon plans we had to travel around the country more and we´ve decided to spend longer in less places and have a bit more time to relax.

Jaco had a decent beach, the highlight being some really impressive waves.  We tried ´body-boarding´but found it more fun just to swim out and be pounded by the waves.  We´d be lifted up and then sucked under and put through a full washing-machine cycle.  This was exhilarating and a little bit scary and a great lesson in how powerful the sea is.

We did some side trips from Jaco as well.  One was a boat trip where we saw some more fantastic birds.  But the highlight was some very large crocodiles splayed across the riverbanks, and at one point on a sandbar right next to us.  At the beginning of November, there were unusually strong rains that everybody has been talking about while we´ve been here.  In this area, they had 4 feet of rain in a week!  We could see that the riverbanks had been washed away in many places; we boarded the boat from a temporary jetty, and we could see the original one and several buildings that had collapsed in the floodwaters.

We also went to Carara national park to look for Scarlet Macaws.  After waiting all afternoon, we saw a tree that was alive with them.  They are big birds - 90cm from beak to tail, and the colours are scarcely believable in their richness.  At one point, something scared the birds and as they flew away from us with the low sun behind us, we were mesmerised by the colours. 
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