Thursday, 30 March 2017

Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca – Days 192 to 196

With Roberto our guide
As predicted it was a really hard four nights, three days. The first morning started off cloudy and turned to rain, but we had coffee and breakfast on the veranda and all was well. It cleared so we set off for a walk along the turtle spotting path, set back from the beach but with many numbered walkways to the beach. We walked very slowly and quietly looking out for whatever we might see. Many lizards to begin with, then a white faced capuchin monkey, then many more, fabulous. They were not bothered by us in the slightest and were a joy to watch. We also saw two spider monkeys, so a good tally.

Slave labour for ants! They carry these huge (for them) leaf cuttings all day and night in huge long lines, often falling over with it, picking themselves up and carrying on.
A long line of ants with their leaves and the track they have worn
Back to Los Amigos Jungle Hostal, which is obviously new, and cared for by a lovely Spanish speaking lady, her tiny daughter and Coco the new puppy, who I swear grew in the time we were there. I asked her to book our canoe trip for the following morning. This is the 'must do' trip, expecting to be collected at 05.45 the following morning we thought no more until we sat down with crisps and beer and Roberto turned up. He tried a gentle hard sell of a $50 package, $20 for the canoe trip, plus the $15 park entrance, and another walk for $15 instead of $20. We dithered, but that was fine, he also agreed to take us on the trip, buy our park entrance, and we could come down to his office after and pay by credit card, with no surcharge.

And here they are heading into one of the entrances to their nest
On Turtle Beach. No turtles unfortunately at this time of year
So having been woken by the large group occupying all the other rooms, coming home, we were then woken by them all getting ready for the early morning start. Oh well off we went. Roberto introduced us to a French couple while he went off to find the rest of the group, he seemed to find too many so palmed us off to another boat of  four leaving himself still with a group of eight.

Found this in our room on the morning of our canoe trip. A Katydid 
The other four were sitting in the boat and the guide vanished. We didn't know whether to get in front or back, one each it turned out. He eventually reappeared with their park tickets, we'd only been hanging around 50 minutes by then watching all the other canoes paddle off but hey! We weren't overly impressed by the guide, but he did begin by finding us some herons. 

Looking across the lagoon while waiting for our guide
He then appeared to just go to where other boats were stopped, there is some logic in that, and we actually did very well, so a howler monkey, a father and son spider monkey pair, a sloth in a tree, close enough to see it was a sloth, a couple of caiman, birds butterflies and basilisks and we returned with aching bottoms after nearly three hours on very hard seats and home for breakfast and more spider monkey viewing with cornflakes, you just don't get that back in Birmingham!

Apparently this fruit is called a Pachira. The locals used to eat it, but no longer as they have much better tasting fruit now. Monkeys eat it now
Jackie in front as we silently cruise through the jungle
Off to the office to pay Roberto, who asked what we were doing in half an hour? Did we want to come on his day walk, two clients, we didn't have to pay, just don't say anything! Rude not to, so we dashed off for long trousers and closed in shoes, back to the park the find him with the French couple from the morning. We ended up back on the path we had walked the previous day, but he managed to find Brian the snake I hadn't, and would never have spotted, quite venomous apparently, but didn't manage  monkeys for the French couple who hadn't seen any from the canoe either. I was disappointed for them, and not overly impressed for us, but it was free, until two raccoons came chasing down a tree. Finally back to the hostal and the hammocks, about time too.

A tiger heron (I think)
The other trip we'd signed up for was the after dark walk, though in retrospect I think this is a bit of a con, there are no turtles at the moment, so how can we extract more money from the tourists? In a foursome, with a young couple, one Belgian, one French, met and live in London we set off with torches looking for the green, red eyed frog. Our guide was not enthusiastic and obviously had a horrible cold which I now seem to be suffering from, and could we see a frog? Eventually we saw a brown frog, after about two hours of blundering about in the dark "a spider, a cricket, a sleeping lizard, a blob high in a tree apparently a sloth......" Not really impressed, until finally, on our way back, an anteater climbing a tree, who knew? Now he was cute.

A spider monkey playing in the trees
The rest of the time we just spent relaxing, I'm getting quite used to a hammock, particularly when the young daughter of Isobel came past and swung me every now and then. She was a cutie, chatting away in Spanish not minding that we had no idea what she was talking about! We finally made it into our pool, one of the few on the island. Fortunately we were in and out before the 20+ American teenagers descended with much noise, not sure where they came from, perhaps the sister hotel, fortunately they didn't stay too long, and it was on our last afternoon.

A very comfortable Sloth sitting in a tree watching us in our boat
The standard food there, and where we are now, is heavily Caribbean influenced, rice and beans, which along with salad and a protein item, is called Casado. I checked with one lady, and yes, this does mean married, so slightly confused!

We left, sadly, having enjoyed watching monkeys while eating breakfast, on the expensive option, rather than retrace most of our journey in, we opted for the three hour boat trip to Moin, followed by in theory a taxi to the bus station and a bus. 
The popular name for this is a snake bird, because that's what it looks like
Taxis however were quoting silly money to the bus station, so with a bit of negotiation we took a shared taxi, with a couple we'd been chatting with on the dock and arrived very promptly. The boat ride was great though, our captain broke all records and still managed to spot caiman and sloths which he turned round for us to see. Slightly worried when he stopped for a pee break at 11.30 and proceeded to have a beer, but we all arrived safe and sound.

Here's one out of water
This Caiman got really fed up with us flaoting near him and swam off
Sadly the hostal Rio isn't quite the same. We arrived to some complicated story, which we didn't believe but meant we weren't in our en suite with kitchenette, but in a tiny box with shared bathroom. We didn't have anyone to share with, but you still had to go outside! Fortunately it wasn't raining. It is also our first time of only having a cold shower, which fortunately isn't too bad, though is colder than the sea! He also offered to discount us, though only down to the standard price for the small box, until I pointed this out! Today we are in our proper room.

Have a look at this Youtube video we did, it's only just over a minute long:
After two nights in Tortuguero they changed our bed and scooped Teddy up in the linen by mistake. Jackie went down to ask if they had seen her 'pequeno oso' (small bear). He was wrapped up in the linen waiting to go into the washing machine so he was saved!
With the French couple and guide Roberto on our free (but don't tell anyone) walk
The small but apparently highly venemos 'eyelash' snake (you can just see it's eyelashes, hence the name - obviously!)
We were quite amused by these posters. There are Jaguars here, about 200 they estimate. We didn't see one, but one couple we spoke to said they did, but it moved too quickly so didn't get a photo
Take note! It appears ladies have to do a dance on one leg and men a kind of a Highland fling!
Our night time walk. This was a really big caterpillar
2 hours later we found this frog
And this insect, which was actually quite big - see the tip of Jackies shoe on the right
But then this ant eater appeared and climbed the tree in front of us to pose for a photo
Suddenly our young guide came alive, he was so excited as he'd not seen one in the wild before. He called everyone over and became very animated
Oh yes, and crabs, lots of crabs, usually scurrying off down their holes, but this one posed
School games. There were three lines of pupils with a full bucket at the front of each, an empty bucket at the back and each team had a sponge. The soaked sponge was passed to the person behind over their head, so plenty of water everywhere. Just the thing on a burning hot day! Good fun to watch too
Roberto seeing us off the island. His uncle was our boat driver
And he certainly knew how to drive. We passed every other boat in sight, banking steeply into the bends, the water almost coming over the sides. But he still had an expert eye open for wildlife and would suddenly stop and turn round to point something out
This was our route by boat to Moin and then shared taxi to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca 161km in all
You may not believe this but there is a turtle just diving into the river. He was sitting on top of the big log, but he hopped off into the water just as I took the photo, but I just caught him before he disappeared!
At our halfway rest
That's a crocodile being splashed up and down from our wake after he screeched to a halt. How he saw it at the speed he drove I don't know
This was after the water had settled down and he went back to floating. I don't know about you but I would never have seen it. 'No swimming there then' someone remarked. I replied that you can swim, but probably not for long!
Another screeching halt to see this sloth hanging about in a tree
This is a vulture (don't know the exact name). I had taken a crap photo of one from a distance when on our morning canoe ride in Tortuguero and when we arrived in Puerto Viejo they were everywhere!
Here's a psycho cat in amongst a flock of vultures twice its size. Surprisingly the vultures were scared of it

1 comment:

    Can't believe you nearly lost him. Phew!