From the Pacific to the Caribbean
Trip Start Dec 30, 2011
8Trip End Jan 22, 2012
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Where I stayed
breakfast time at La Coralina. g's having her usual, dark chocolate and shredded cocunut pancakes and I'm having scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers, onions and feta cheese with fresh fruit. surf is pounding the rocks below us as we sip our coffee and naranjo juice. yesterday we woke up too late to get a ride to town so we walked a few miles before catching a cab. Stopped to rent bikes for the week, check on another hotel for the weekend and rode back to our hotel for an afternoon on the beach. We biked down to Playa Bluff, a 3 mile long beach that never has more than two dozen people on it, including the 10 young soccer boys Gina was oblivious to as she was wrapped up in a book. not that i didn't have my own entertainment. So today we are going to do the same, hop on our bikes and ride several kms past Bluff to Mimitimbi, an isolated stretch of the island where it is likely we won't see another person until we come back the same way.
We have reservations here through saturday and had intended to leave Bocas at that time to check out elsewhere in Panama. We've already extended our stay by two nights in town. I don't know if we're talking ourselves into staying or talking ourselves into leaving. I actually think Gina is more motivated to leave for the Pacific side of Panama than I am, but it gets hard when you feel so comfortable where you are. We'll see when the time comes, we still have a few days to decide.
At this point the trip through Costa Rica is a blur. We vaguely remember a long car ride to Arenal Volcano, checking into the Arenal Observatory Lodge and quickly learning to keep a watchful eye out for pit vipers (our first experience was the dead snake that Tami ran over in the parking lot when we arrived). The volcano is currently in the 'passive' phase, meaning no more spewing hot lava, but it does continue to billow smoke from the crater. It !often is difficult to see the top due to cloud cover and smoke created by the crater, but we were fortunate both mornings to have clear shots of the volcano. We also were fortunate to have had a full moon during our stay, which created a beautiful backdrop, particularly as it set over Lake Arenal (created when a dormant volcano exploded suddenly in 1968, blocking a river, flooding the town below). The hiking in this area was wonderful, exotic, and a little dangerous (again, numerous warnings of poisonous snakes). Tami's words of wisdom - if you get bit, stay calm so the venom spreads slowly. We were most concerned when Tami, Dean, Chris, Gina and I decided to do a 4 hour climb up Cerro Chato, another volcano next to Arenal, which literally is a straight shot up through jungle terrain that had been muddied by recent rains. An arduous task for even those who are in shape. We made it to the top but by then the misty clouds floated in to cover the view and we could barely see the lake in the crater of Cerro. The hike back down proved difficult as well, slippery mud, giant steps created by exposed tree roots, and the vigilant look out for snakes.
Biked 7 km down the road to Mimbitimbi, which we think is just a few abandoned buildings now (dirt, giant pot holes, progrssively getting narrower and eventually turning to a path through the grass). Cut in through a path to a beautiful stretch of beach to park it for the day. Michael quickly saw two sloths in a mango tree above us. The bigger one slowly made its way up the tree and camouflaged itself in the leaves but the smaller one, about the size of Basil, kicked back on a branch without a care in the world. We were close enough that Michael could have reached up and touched it. Tons of cool pics. Spent most the day biking and laying on the beach, before stopping at the only beach bar before we reach our hotel, on Playa Bluff, owned by a European couple who make the best crispy monkey balls. After two cold cervezas and a chocolate shake, we visit the beach before returning to our hotel to get ready to go to town for dinner. When we returned to La Coralina, our room had been switched. Checked up front at the bar and we had been upgraded to a suite. We walked through our own private gate to an open aired outdoor shower/tub and patio set. Inside the suite was tiled rain shower, king bed, satelite tv, fridge, air conditioning, even a couch; and they even moved all our stuff we had spread out at our old place. (the old place - two full beds taking up the majority of the room and a shared bath. Yeah, we're feeling pretty special. The owner is from Minnesota and we stayed here last year, so it was easy for her to pick us for the awesome upgrade!