Trip Start Jan 07, 2008
36Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
I left San Jose 4 days ago and stopped first in Limon, the largest port in Costa Rica. The ride through yet another enormous state park from San Jose to the Coast was beautiful. Then when you hit the other side of the mountains, flat like a pancake for as far as the eye could see. This is agriculture territory. Unbelievable. I saw pineapple fields that ran for 20 minutes of solid driving. Then bananas for the same amount of time. They export something crazy like 280 million bunches of bananas annually from Limon. It is likely I saw the next banana that will be on your morning cereal. Mind boggling.
Limon was an interesting little town and easy to cover in one day. The feel of the place reminded me a bit of both Zihuantenajo and Old Acapulco
I got the scoop on the canceled Carnival. Yes, they had trash concerns, but mostly as they related to lingering trash and the spread of dengue fever. They just don't have the money or capacity to deal with those issues as easily as a city like NOLA does. It is unfortunate, because I think the town could benefit greatly from the economic hit of an event like that. Plus, I would have had a great time if I got to shake what my momma gave me a bit. I am JONESING for some live music.
After one night in Limon I got on a bus and headed out early for Cahuita. About 10 minutes out of Limon we hit long stretches of amazing Caribbean beaches and it was like I was re-born. They were spectacularly beautiful and deserted. Less than an hour later I was there...home to Cahuita National Park. It is the first time I have gotten off a bus anywhere since leaving the US where I was not bombarded with people trying to sell me things or help me find a hotel
Cahuita is a town completely dependent on the business from the park. And the views from the water and across the bay are spectacular. Jungle running right up to the shoreline. Zero development throughout the park. And, because we are out of the hurricane zone here, the palm trees and almond trees that line the coast are of monstrous proportion. They are FILLED with monkeys too. The first day I entered the park on foot it took only about 3 minutes for me to spot my first Howler monkeys. Then not long thereafter, more. And then some Capuchins that got right up close and personal with us (see photos). There were birds, blue land crabs and lush vegetation. On one end of town is Playa Negra (black beach) and on the other Playa Blanco (white beach) and everything in between is Caribbean inspired, lush and tropical. Most of the tourists here are Europeans....lots of German and French overheard.
Today I took a boat out onto the water portion of the park, and went snorkeling. The reef itself wasn't very colorful, but the fish were spectacular. And the brain coral were huge. I am glad I made the effort. It was well worth the trip.
So one more stop in Costa Rica before slipping into Panama on Saturday. This has been a long time coming and I look forward to it tremendously. I had been feeling a little beat up of late and was wondering if I needed a break from the third world. No. What I needed was the beach. A real beach. I have been inland for 4 months. I am like NEW MONEY now that I have gotten back to a good shoreline. I don't plan on settling for anything less than this anytime soon. S-WEET CAHUITA thanks for saving me.