Pay your dues at the right time or else

Trip Start Nov 08, 2008
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Trip End Jun 30, 2009


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Limon,
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We´ve come out to the carribean side for some serious wildlife action. This national park (another one) is a serious of river canals and tributaries which you can explore by canoe or on foot if you don´t mind the snakes. The town can only be accessed by boat again and once again there is no traffic, just the odd bike. It has that laid back carribean feel and a pretty windswept long stretch of beach. And the best banana cake I have ever had. It was a pretty long way to go to spend the day in a canoe and then go back again, but it was really nice.

Finding a canoe to rent at 6.30am was a bit of a challenge. Wildlife annoyingly dictates an early start and so does the rain. We are well into rainy season now. Most of the tour groups seem to go out at 5.30am, but we couldn´t quite manage that. 

On the way you have to stop and pay your 10 dollar park fee. But when we turned up there was noone there and a sigh saying that they´d gone for breakfast. So we thought, ok we´ll pay later. But as we paddled away an irate ranger came running out of the building and yelled at us to come back and wait for them to finish their breakfast. Erm, which planet was he living on? So we pretended not to hear or understand and paddled away, fully intending to pay on the way back of course.  

After a brief, but torrential downpour, we had a spectacular morning paddling about and spotting animals. The place is incredible. We saw a lizard run across the water in front of us, we saw 3 different types of monkeys, 3 otters, toucans, iguanas, boat billed herons and birds I don´t know the names of. But after 4 hours of paddling we had to stop.

We popped into the ranger station to pay our dues and were met with a very frosty reponse. The ticket man was not a happy bunny and he argued with me for a good few minutes saying we had to pay before we enter the park, and I said they weren´t there which is why we were paying now, and he said it wasn´t allowed and we should have waited for them to finish breakfast.. He said at all the national parks you have to pay before you go in, and I said at the other national parks they have staff in the ticket booth so that you can pay.  He didn´t like me very much after that. Paul of course miraculously avoided this little argument, which is so unlike him, and talked to a nice ranger who couldn´t give a crap about when we paid. It was all rather odd.

Anyway, we ended up hanging around  with this american dude who had signed himself up for a month in this place before he´d even seen it and was starting to regret it, as once you´ve seen the park there isn´t a lot left to do and he realised there wasn´t a cash point. The nearest bank was 3 hours away by bus and boat. Oops.
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