Tapirs, sloths and other wild beasts...
Trip Start Jan 16, 2008
35Trip End Apr 19, 2008
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Where I stayed
On Monday we sat and waited for the 9:30 bus from Palmar Norte to Sierpe when a guy came past on his way there and wanted a bit of petrol money, so he offered us a lift for 3000 Colones ($6). Taxi costs at least $15 so we jumped for the chance (it was only 8:30 - we had no idea that buses weren't so frequent). Well at Sierpe we had to wait for our boat ride anyway, but that was no hassle. Boat trip from Sierpe out to Drake Bay on the peninsula takes about an hour and goes along the Rio Sierpe through the mangroves and then out into the Pacific. Mangroves here are pretty different to those in NZ - I'll post some pictures later.
Anyway, Jinetes is a super little hotel type place - everyone is incredibly friendly and helpful and everything
Monday afternoon we went for a wander along the path through the forest to a nearby beach and played in the waves a bit. Met most of the others who were staying, including Marc & Eric from the states. We ended up doing the same tours with those two so got to know them a bit over the week. Lunches & dinners are a communal affair with everyone sitting at the same long table. Lots of talk about where everyone is from, what they're been doing, how long they are here, what they've seen and so on.
Tuesday we did a snorkel tour to the nearby Ca˝o Island. Jinetes is also HQ for Costa Rica Adventure Divers, but we'd heard from others that they diving wasn't so good at the moment - lots of current and bad vis. Reports over the week were pretty much the same, so we didn't do any diving here. On the snorkel trip though, we saw 4 White Tipped Reef Sharks, a Stingray, a fair number of Puffer fish, and loads of pretty big trevally (jacks) and parrot fish. Very cool.
Wednesday we did a "morning walk" in the Corcovado National Park. We ate breakfast at the crack of dawn (6) and then jumped on a boat with our guide, Rolando, at 6:30. Half an hour later we were the first boat to arrive at San Pedrillo ranger station and the hoards of people staying there in tents seemed to still be sleeping, so it felt like we had the forest to ourselves most of the time. Rolando was a great guide and we got to see heaps of Spider & Howler monkeys, a large ground bird (Curašao, originally thought to be related to Turkeys but now in a family of its own - oh, and listed as extinct in some databases - guess they haven't been to Corcovado), a Scarlet Macaw, loads of other birds and probably some other stuff that I've missed. Oh, we did get to see a sloth for the first time too, but it was pretty far away and we couldn't see it with our naked eyes, just as a small grey blob on Rolando's spotting scope, so we're not counting that.
Wednesday was so cool and Rolando was such a great guide that we all decided to go to the other ranger station on Thursday. Sirena station is further in the park and takes a bit longer to get there, so we were up even earlier that day. Still, once again we were first on the ground there and got to see more spiders and howlers, plus two sloths (cool) and even a tapir (yes, it's true) - it was pretty late in the day, like 10am or something, so she was cooling off in a mud wallow
There are a number of tapirs in the park (they know of at least 20), but they're pretty rare everywhere, so it was really lucky for us to see one (and on our wish list, which makes it even better). Sloths were also on our wish list so it was great seeing a couple of them too. They have really slow metabolisms so have laziness down to an art. Their arms (including claws) are one solid bone, so they can just hang in a tree forever without using any energy, and they only come down from the trees once a week or so to go to the loo. Wow!
In the evening we got talking with some of the local guys at the bar at Jinetes and ended up going to a local bar with them and talking the night away. Great to practice our spanish and their english. Super night, but very hung over on Friday so we just took it easy, lazying around the hotel all day.
Today we're heading back up to San Jose and tomorrow we fly out to Ecuador...