Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo and Cahuita

Trip Start Sep 30, 2011
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19
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Limon,
Friday, November 18, 2011

The first nights accommodation was clean and quiet but with many house rules laid out very clearly as we arrived. We decided we wanted something a little livelier so we went to our first option to ask if they would block us some rooms for the next day. They weren't sure how many check outs they would have so they recommended us to come back in the morning to check. That evening we made some guacamole and nachos in the very strict hostel were we where and had an early night.

We couldn’t believe out luck the next morning when we went back to Pagalú Hostel and they had had two double rooms with shared bathroom check out and they booked us in. As Paula and Franco were not up yet we went back to let them know and to pack up our backpacks. After breakfast all four moved over to Pagalú Hostel. Ramón and I rented bicycles for 2 days and Paula and Franco went to enjoy the beach. The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is mainly inhabited by descendants from Jamaican immigrants that came to Costa Rica to build the railway. Therefore, we even felt a little like being in Jamaica at times, they have maintained the language and most people speak English with the special expressions and accent from Jamaica. We were seeing plenty of Bob Marley posters and there was reggae music coming out of most of the bar, typical Caribbean feeling. We spent the day cycling around the town, which is very small and going a bit further afield to explore some of the beautiful beaches which you can perfectly have to yourselves if you just cycle 15 minutes away from the town. In the afternoon/ evening we caught up with Paula and Franco and really spoilt ourselves by buying a bottle of red wine and made some lovely spaghetti for dinner. Costa Rica is one hour ahead of Panama, which means that the sun comes up around 5.00am and goes down around 4.30pm, this makes us get up early in the morning and by 9.30 – 10.00pm we are in bed.

Wednesday we had decided to take the bikes to Manzanillo, a village about 12 kms away, which was supposed to have a lovely beach. We put on plenty of sun cream and swimwear and were joined by Paula and Franco. The bicycle ride was lovely, the road to Manzanillo is nearly completely flat. We did they whole ride to Manzanillo in one go which took exactly one hour. We were awarded with a nice and calm beach with very little current. We spent some hours just chilling on the beach and enjoying the sun we had missed out on in Bocas del Toro and I think we all agreed that Costa Rica seemed more impressive than Panama so far. On the way back we stopped at another beach called Punta Uva where we stopped to have a swim to cool off from the bike ride. We were getting very hungry and had been talking about doing something that could go with the bag of nachos left over from the night before. We all agreed on a tex mex dinner. Back in Puerto Viejo we showered and went to the supermarket. We had a great dinner with fajitas, refried beans, corn, guacamole, pico de gallo and nachos. Then we were too tired from food and bikes to move even to go for a drink. Thursday we had already decided that we would take the bus to Cahuita and trek the national park. It is an 8.3km trek along the sea. There are two entrances to the park, the one you reach from the town centre called Kelly creek, which has an entrance fee by donation (you choose the amount yourself) and the Puerto Vargas entrance where you have to pay 10usd. We took the 10.15am bus to Cahuita town and entered by Kelly Creek and made our donations. The trek is divided into two parts, the first part being 3.5kms to Cahuita Point and then 4.8kms to Puerto Vargas. We saw toucans, sloths, snakes, lizards, monkeys and some other animals along the trek. We entered around 10.50am and got to Puerto Vargas around 3.40pm, just in time to catch the bus to Puerto Viejo. We went at a really slow pace to try to spot as many animals as we could. Since we were getting into the habit of cooking and the hostel kitchen was really nice, we decided to have another evening of home cooked food. As I prepared the avocado and tomato salad, Paula and Franco cooked rice and made tuna burgers. It was all yummy. The next day we had decided to move on to the Tortuguero, a place where the turtles come to lay their eggs on the beach. We are not in egg laying season but it is still supposed to be worth a visit because of the wildlife you can see. We are going to get there by public transport instead of taking the easy way out and get a ready transfer this time. Doing it this way we will save around 10usd per person. We’ll have to get the 7.30am bus to Puerto Limón, then a bus or a taxi to Moín and from there get a speedboat on the Tortuguero canals for 3.5 hrs to el Tortuguero.
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