Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica
Trip Start Jan 02, 2012
69Trip End Apr 12, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
The ship docked at Puerto Caldera, thirteen miles from the nearest town Puntareanas. It took a while for us to actually dock as they had to move a cargo ship in order to make room for us. Quite a process and drew quite a crowd on deck to watch!
Our tour for this stop was the Tropical Train Ride and Exotic Mangrove Cruise. Our bus headed for the Guacalillo Estuary on the Tarcoles River and along the way the guide pointed out a variety of local birds, animals - including howler monkeys, and plants. He brought with him a wide variety of fruit indigenous to this area and passed them around for individual viewing. A number of stops along the way to see birds and monkeys prepared us for our trip through the mangroves where we boarded a flat bottomed sightseeing boat. Although no wildlife sightings were promised we were thrilled with the number of sightings on our trip
From here we traveled back towards the port to board one of the original banana trains on the Historic Pacific Railway for a ride through the mountains past some of the agricultural valleys. This narrow gauge railway was used by the United Fruit Company to speed the transport of fruit to the coast for shipment. Until it was built all transportation was by ox cart – adopted as a symbol of Costa Rica. The trip started by passing through a very long – and dark – tunnel through a mountain and then along a track cut into the side of mountains and through fertile valleys were extensive fields of melons are being grown. we rode in one of the original cars with no amenities – windows open for ventilation, hard seats and the click-clack of the wheels over very rough track. We passed many small towns where people stopped what they were doing to wave at the train as it passed.
Costa Rica, bound on the north by Nicaragua and Panama to the south, is one of the smallest countries in Latin America. With both Caribbean and Pacific coastline, it is a diverse and complex country with 'somewhere between 500,000 and a million species of flora and fauna, 50,000 species of insects, 2000 species of orchids, 208 species of mammals, 850 species of birds and endless thousands of species of moths and butterflies’ – representing 6% of the worlds biodiversity
This tiny nation offers public education through high school, generous government-assisted loans for students wishing to attend college and universal medical services and experiences a very low infant mortality rate, a minimal suicide rate, an average lifespan of 75 years and a 93% literacy rate. It has no army or military force.
All in all, a great day leaving us with the desire to spend more time in Costa Rica.