Day 20: Back home

All good things must come to an end, and this holiday in Costa Rica does so too.

We have experienced it all, ranging from tropical beaches, alpine highlands, tropic rainforests, wetlands, the food, the heat, the humidity, the people and most of all the language. Spanish is hard!

We would love to go back one day, to further experience the wealth of flora and fauna that makes up for an interesting visit to one of the few countries in the world without an army.


Day 19: Back to San José

Even though we have already spotted a Quetzal ourselves, we thought it would be nice to just get out early and go together with a guide to see more of them!
So, here we are again, at 05:45 in the morning gathered with our gear to go out and find something.

Today, we didn’t have to travel far: we found an adult male Quetzal in the tree directly adjacent to the restaurant!his tail feathers had not reached their maximum length yet, as the male quetzals loose the long feathers during the nesting season and regrow them each year. The nesting season lasts until June, and this guy was clearly not done yet.
He was sitting in the tree, peacefully digesting his wild avocado and didn’t mind us buzzing around the tree trying to get a good shot in the difficult morning light. We hope it worked out well!

Right after this, the guide took us a few hundred metres down the road to an area where loads more fruiting wild avocado trees were, and we got lucky. Eventually, we encountered 2 more juvenile males, and two adult females for a grand total of 5 quetzals! If you ever want to see this bird: go to San Gerardo de Dota, it seems to be Quetzal Capital.

After returning to the lodge, we had breakfast and immediately went out again to find some more wildlife. The guide’s main interest were hummingbirds and smaller vocal birds, and boy did we see a lot of those! In total, we have seen about 25 different species, all with long unpronounceable names and who all have at least 1 different specie of bird which looks virtually identical! The guide could tell them all apart. (or pretended to be able to really well)

We then packed our bags, loaded up the car, had one more meal and went out on the drive down (literally, from 2200 to 1200 metres) to San José. Without any major setbacks, we handed over the car to the guy from the rental company who actually was waiting for us, about an hour early. The Toyota Rav4 has served us well!
In anticipation of tomorrow, we are now waiting for things to happen.

Tomorrow, the transfer will pick us up from the hotel at noon and will bring us and our luggage to the airport. From there, the journey back begins, and before you know it, we’ll be back home! Looking back on these three weeks was quite simply put amazing, Costa Rica is awesome. Pura Vida!

Day 3: To Tortuguero

After a short night of sleep in Le Bergerac because of the noise of the city of San José and our jet lag, we got up around 05:10 to pack and get our breakfast at 05:30.
We were to be picked up at 06:00 from our hotel by the Tortuguero people to be brought all the way to the National Park. Yes, that is really early!

The breakfast was quite odd, as we were told we could get a cup of coffee, but as the chef in the kitchen would only start his shift around 6, no tea could be arranged. 🙄
The toast however was good enough to last us a few hours until we were given a proper breakfast while on route.

The small van that picked us up was half an hour late (not nice!) after which we got dropped off at a bus stop to transfer into a large coach. (Also, not nice!) Now we are trapped in a coach, on holiday, with a load of Dutch, Spanish and American tourists. (Definitely not nice!)

The driver took us on a 2.5 hour ride to a dock, where we transferred into small boats which would take us to our lodges. We are staying in Evergreen Lodge, so we found our boat and got in. The very scenic boat tour definitely is the highlight of the day so far!

After arriving at the hotel at 1pm we immediately were served lunch and were told we would go out on a tour to the nearby village of Tortuguero. The rest of the day was arranged as well, as the lodge is only accessible by water and nothing else is available for entertainment apart from the swimming pool.

Tortuguero is named after the sea turtles nesting along its beaches. Watching the turtles either hatch or lay eggs is just one of the things you need to do when you are there. Lucky for us, it is the egg laying season of the Green Turtle, and it is right at its peak at the moment.
We have been on the beach at night between 8 and 10, and have watched two of the turtles lay eggs! Also, quite a few tried to come ashore but were mainly startled by our presence and returned to the ocean. We were told they would come back later that night to lay their eggs.
Seeing them is just amazing!
And they are huge!  Tabletop sized, dark grey and mostly covered in sand, they are as mysterious as ever as they come ashore under the cover of night and leave the same way leaving behind a huge hole and about 100 buried eggs.

Tomorrow we will be in a kayak with a local guide to explore these wonderful surroundings in a much quieter fashion than today, so I’m eager to see what this will bring us!
Oh: weather wise it is not ok: it is reaching about 35 degrees with high humidity. Not Maarten proof by any means!
Let’s just hope it does not start raining, and all should be well.

Day 2: Taking it easy in San José

When I say easy going, I mean easy going.
After an early start we had an appointment with the local travel agent for some more background information on our trip and Costa Rica in general.

The travel agent advised us to walk through the center of San José as most touristic destinations are within a few hundred metres of each other. Unfortunately, as today is a Sunday, most of them were closed or otherwise occupied.
The market for instance, closes really early on a Sunday, and the national theatre houses a local festival with concerts of Costa Rican orchestra’s.
We decided to relax some more and just enjoy the scenic town itself.

The afternoon was for the majority spent sitting around the hotel. How easy going can you be?

Tomorrow an even earlier start for us: Tortuguero is the next destination!
Loads of means of transportation: ranging from buses to boats it is going to be a long haul.


Day 1: The planes

Day one of our holiday starts off like many of them: by plane.
We arrived at Schiphol Airport around 10 in the morning as our flight was scheduled to leave at 1PM.
As a severe rainstorm just happened to pass over Schiphol right around the time we would take off, this event was delayed for about 15 minutes as the rain caused some traffic buildup on the airport.
Being the fifth in a row, all we could do is sit tight and wait.

Everything went well afterwards, and a short 11 hours later we found ourselves in Panama!
The layover only took 90 minutes, and so we embarked on the short flight to Costa Rica. Luckily, our luggage arrived in San José as well, so all we had to do was find our driver who was going to take us to the hotel.

It is called Hôtel Le Bergerac, and is about 2.5km from the main town centre. I guess we’ll be visiting the town tomorrow!
For now: I’d like to get rid of my jet lag, so we are turning in early today, after all: it’s nearly 4AM in Europe right now…