Bob and Shirley in the Land of the Turtles
Trip Start Jan 27, 2012
5Trip End Feb 06, 2012
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Where I stayed
What I did
Monkeys, caimans, iguanas!
Going back to Monda˙:
Left San Jose and drove north through Barillo Carrillo National Park (thanks for the comment, Sheryl = glad you loved it too). It was a long bus ride to Tortugero National Park (from now on known at TNP) which means land of the turtles. We were on a 20 passenger river boat from a side canal to the main channel of the river. Already we had seen some birds and monkeys but much more later. Laguna Lodge, called an ecolodge, is where we stayed, a plain but comfortable room, single story cabin like with porches and 2 wooden rocking chairs in front of door. No AC, TV or phones but our guide had a cell phone which worked and we had to use it because (we still cannot believe that we forget to do this) had to contact our credit card companies to say we were out of the country. The room had one small fan on the ceiling.
Torrential heavy rain by later in the evening but luckily we were back in our room, pounding on our corrugated metal roof. This was the rain forest but the cloud forest as by the volano.
At the lodge, everything was open air except the rooms, dining room, bar, etc. overlooking the river. Very beautiful but very muggy.
¨Boat ride for 2 hours starting at 8 am, 20 of us in an open river boat. Great wildlife viewing including caimans (a small crocodile), iguanas (which were high in the trees - we had only seen them on the ground in Mexico). We did not realize that they are really good tree climbers and like to perch out on a sunny limb 30 feet above the ground. We also saw brightly colored lizards and many, many birds. We saw all 3 types of monkey that are found here: spider which are the largest, capuchin or white faced which we thought were the cutest and are the most active, and howlers which make a grunting sound like a gorilla. The river itself is brown but everywhere else is green, green and more green but beautiful flowers (red gingers stalks), bright yellow and orange flowers. There was a pool at the lodge but we never went in it. They said not to swim in the ocean because of severe rip tides but some did anyway (one Canadian man who lives in snowbound Toronto so who could blame him.
After lunch back at our lodge, we walked a very short distance along the beach of the Caribbean sea shore (about a 2 minute walk from lodge) through foliage to the sea turtle conservation and nesting area. There are fresh water turtles in the river but the large sea turtles only come once a year to lay their eggs (usually around July or August) - the hatchlings come out in October and have to make their way down to the ocean. The mothers are only on the grouind for about one half hour to lay their eggs and go back to the ocean and leave them there to hatch a few months later.
There is a very small village there (total year round population of TNP is 1000). Once important when the sea turtles were hunted commercially but for the last 20 years or so they are protected and cannot be bothered.
It rains almost every day but not during our open boat excursion when we had beautiful sunny blue skies. Temperatures in the low 80s but very, very humid. Example, Bob and I both our pills out in the open to remind us to take them in the morning and both pills had totally disintegrated into a powder by morning!
Checked out of Lodge by 7:15 and back on the covered boat which had engine problems and it took us 2 & 1/2 rather than 1 & 1/2 hours to get back to the dock and meet our bus. Torrential rain on the river on the way back (it is called the rain forest, duh!!!) Another hour and a half on the bus to a pineapple plantation for an amusing presentation and samples of the fruit, juice and fruit cake. LUnch included a ¨"fashion show" with dancers in animal outfits.
Another 2 hours on the bus to La Fortuna. See next entry for update here.
Bob and Shirley, the turtle experts