Day 5: To Sarapiquí

05:00 am, you know the drill. Get up, curse at yourself for having to wake up this early, dress up for the canoe trip, grab a cup of coffee and wait for the dude in the boat to arrive. 05:45: Rey junior shows up and we are off!

Being in a group of 6 today instead of a private tour like we had yesterday is a little different, but the animals don’t mind. Luckily for us, they all show up to show off!
Cayman, frogs, egrets and herons, spiders, cuckoos, toucan: they all turned up and we got good looks at them. Rey junior is also very knowledgeable and even tries to crack a few jokes! Like his father, he knows an impressive amount of German words reminiscent of the number of tourists gracing their boats with their presence and foreign languages.

A quick, flying pests infested, breakfast later we are ready to leave Tortuguero NP and Evergreen Lodge altogether to start the next leg in our journey, this time by car.
The journey back is in reverse order to the one we made on the way in: first by boat, and then by coach. We stopped at Restaurant El Ceibo where the rental cars met us, and off we are.
A white Rav 4 is what we’ll call our means of transportation for the next two weeks.

The first leg of the trip is to Sarapiquí, most famous for it pineapple plantations and white water rafting, here, we will not visit the pineapple plantations, but will jump in a raft tomorrow.
Upon arrival at the Ara Ambigua Lodge, the lady at the front desk informed us a tour would start at 6 PM to find the Red Eyed Frog from the reception. We immediately signed up, because… Well, just because.

Between us checking in and 6PM however, the skies opened up big time, and we experienced our very first tropical rainstorm. Everything they told us about it is true. The rain is really heavy, it seems to go on forever and our storm even got spiced up a little with heavy thunder!
Right before 6, the skies cleared and it stopped pouring down.
So, on the trip we went and we found a grand total of 6 different species of frogs!
We found the Red Eyed Frog, Marked Frog, Hammer Frog, Bull Frog, a Camouflage Frog and an unidentifiable type of the same family as the Red Eyed Frog, and all that within an hours and about 400 square metres!

Tomorrow, we will be on a boat again, and after that we need to drive for a few hours to the next destination: Caño Negro.

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.