Like being in a BBC documentary

Trip Start Jul 21, 2011
Trip End Jan 27, 2012

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What I did

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Corcovado - Drakes Bay - 13th sept

Anyway we got on the bus and it was freezing as we couldn't close our window properly. On the way Sierpe we crossed a section of road that was only one lane wide as the other half had been washed away by the river next to it.... Awesome ! When we get to our stop in Palmar Norte , guess who we see about to get on to our bus! Yes you've guessed it Sarah and Lee. We said hello and god bye as we had 25mins to made our boat from Siepe to Drakes Bay, otherwise we'd have to wait till 3pm for the next one. I think that might be the last time we see them now until England as they are flying out on the 17th.
We got to las Vegas restaurant (also the boat docking area for Drakes Bay) with mins to spare . Then jumped on a small boat to head up the river and then out to sea and come into Drakes Bay. There was inky a few of us in the boat so we thought it might not be that busy at Drakes Bay which is in the west side of Parque Nacional Corcovado , which is meant to have 3% of the WORLD'S bio diversity within this small stretch of land. We decided to to come to Drakes Bay as you can get to one of the best nature trails in the park via a boat 1.5 hour boat ride, rather than a 8 hour hike from Porta Jimenz on the other side o the park.
After a bumpy boat ride which saw some awesome crashing of waves against rocks in the sea. We jumped off the boat in to the sea (no harbour, so we were warned that we'd get our feet wet) . The views of the bay are amazing. Because it's soo hard to get too, it feels so remote from the rest of Costa Rica.

Off the boat on to the beach with our backpacks on. Oh if only we had our cameras out for that!! A guy from Monole hostel was waiting for us. We chucked out bags in the back of the Ute , expecting to get in the front but, oh no , typical central American style we sat on the edges of the back! I but dream of those South American buses Meera told us about !

After a travelling across the whole of costa rica in a few days , the travelling caught up with us.... We went straight to sleep at our lovely hostel. The hostel looked dodgy from the outside but once you walked to the back of it , it was beautifully made. The decking out outside our room was varnished wood and everything was hand made and carved out of wood . I would definitely recommend it to anyone.
We woke up and spoke to the hostel manager about going on the trek through the national park but unfortunatly the min number of people was 5 and there was only us going , therefore the next day we literally just hung around the room and hostel.
In the evening we went out to see the beach and walked close to the school as we were told there would be a procession for independence day. The procession was really nice as everyone made lanterns with either candles inside or battery lights. There was all kinds of lanterns shapes, from buses , houses, ships and beaches!!! The local kids then performed a traditional dance and the practically the whole village appeared with lanterns. There was atleast 200 people in the procession and it made me think there is no way this would take place in the UK. We headed up the hill with the procession and went for dinner at a place called "Gringo Curt's" . The place is owned by a cool guy called Curt who gave up working for HSBC america and retired at the age of 34 to live in Drakes Bay. Now , don't hate him be envious of his balls in giving up that life for this one. The food is fresh from the days deep sea finishing , so the menu is whatever has been caught. He has a big tv on his counter that shows natural history programmes such as Blue Planet and Life of Mammals. The fish portions were massive (expensive for backpackers but definitely worth the money as you'd easily pay double the cost at home for the size of fillet and fish he gave. It was a lovely meal and the company was even better

National Park

The trip started out early in the morning on the boat. The boat ride was going to be 1 hour 40 mins in rough sea , so i wasn't looking forward to that at all. However while we were heading out I saw a turtle coming up for air and then going back under. However that wasn't the highlight of the boat ride as about 20 mins later what did we see on the horizon but a mommy and baby hump back whale. The scene looked just like you've seen in all the documentaries where the mum sits back and watches while the baby comes over for a look. We had to keep our distance as you aren't allowed to chase the whales and you only get close to them if they come to you. It was still pretty amazing seeing them in real life. The whales then headed off.

About another 20 mins down the coast and we saw dolphins rounding up fishes like we saw in Blue Planet the night before with the birds dive bombing the water to get the fish when they come close to the water. Again it was like seeing blue planet live!! Later on we saw another group of hump back whales (mum, baby and possible mate) , we thought the others were big but the male whale was soo much bigger. Also when they blow out water from the spout on their head, they leave a oil on the surface which was weird to see.

After our little extra natural history tour , we got to the national park and we split up into our groups. We had kindly been given a small lunch bag for the day full of snacks and weird food. As we started into the jungle our guide had a large telescope so we could really see close up to the animals. It was so useful as you got to see detail that you would never be able to close enough to see with your eyes. Over the next hour we saw howler monkeys, spider monkeys, capochin monkeys, wild turkey, tukans. The treking wasn't hard so you got to actually enjoy the walking and spotting of animals. Our group was 3 couples and the guide spoke really good English so we could understand everything he said. After a few hours of seeing more animals than I expected we stopped at the station for a light snack and rest. There was a small landing strip near the station that reminded me of the landing strip in Jurassic Park 3 where the dinosaur comes out of the foliage ! I've got to stop making film analogies in this blog! After looking out for dinosaurs we headed into another section of the park and saw tree cutter ants everywhere , these things are amazing to watch and see the size of leaf each one carries. As we walked on our guide stopped and said " I can smell pigs" at first I thought he was kidding and that really someone had let one rip without telling the rest of the group, but you could really smell them. There was a rustling of leaves and we were off the path after the pigs. We saw a couple of them and the smell was over powering. Out guide looked very pleased with himself and we carried on. Lunch was along the shoreline while our guide looked for crocs ( none to be seen). The weather was nice and hot so the sea breeze was welcomed.

Once lunch was finished we headed off into the jungle again and within mins we saw a whole group coca monkeys right above us. Amy moved from underneath them as she told us one of their defences is to wee on you from above ..... Nice! Got some nice pics.

The over powering smell from earlier in the day came out again later but this time it was soo much stronger. Our guide stopped us again and we found out why the smell was soo strong. 100feet in front of us was about 10 wild boars, but as we moved closer there was a mini stampede of about 40 boar than ran across the path. Even after we passed where the boars had gone you could smell the stench, which is secreted from a gland on their back.

The day was nearly up and we had seen our fair share of wildlife and walked through the jungle with great enjoyment. As we waited for the boat we got to know Amy and her husband Nirav. Turns out he's the same part of india as me and Parul and also our families kind of know each other through friends in London. It's funny how the world goes around. As we headed back to Drakes ( which was alot rougher on the way back) we said it would be nice to meet up for a drink. Unfortunately there was a power outage that night and it wasn't possible for us to meet up.

Next day we decided to be adventurous and hire a kayak and head up the river in search of crocs and other scary animals. This idea back fired as we found out we could only do this when the tide was in and that wouldn't be till 3 / 4 pm . It was 10am In the morning when we got there. So we decided we would trek along the shoreline for a few miles and find a secluded beach to chillout on. 40 mins into the trek the heavens opened and we had no shelter. With the weather not letting up we decided to head back. By the time we reached Amy and Nirav's hotel ( which was lovely by the way) we were completely drenched from head to toe, to the point we were leaving puddles of water around our feet when we stood for too long in one spot. We stopped to have a couple of cups of coffee and leave Amy and Nirav a message. The hotel was so kind they didn't charge us for the coffee and even gave us towels to dry off.
We headed back to our hostel with a little stop for lunch and found that our little Sony camera was swimming in a small pool of water in the bottom of my bag. It was dead !!

That night we ate at Curt's again as we were going to a night tour with a friend of his. We talked to a New Zealand guy who was heading north from south america , so we racked his brains for information. After dinner we met up with our guide Stevan , lovely guy who loved taking people to see wild and wonderful stuff at night in a part of the jungle only 20 mins walk from our hostel. Armed with flashlights and wellys we started walking up a small stream seeing bats, crickets, frogs , blue Jean frog, spiders, shrimp and finally a fer du lance poisoness snake. There is probably loads more I've missed off as it was a 3 hour tour in the end. Really good and different from anything else we have done so far.

Next day we were heading out early as we were trying to get to Boquete by the afternoon
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