Sunday, February 24, 2008

Costa Rica Day 3: On the Road to Tortugero

Seeing the capitol city was fun and all, but I was super excited to leave and get to seeing more of the country, since being in San Jose was a lot like being in any other big city. I knew the country was full of jungle and I was itchin to see some of it. The next place we were visiting was Tortugero, or Turtle Beach, on the Caribbean Coast. But to get there meant a day on the bus...ugh! Fortunately though, the ride was broken up into manageable chunks, with discovery stops along the way. About 2 hours into the ride we stopped at the Del Monte banana plantation to see the fields:

They put these blue plastic bags over the bananas to help them ripen quickly, and then string them up on these pulleys to pull them back to the factory where they're cleaned up and stuff. Totally not a job I'd want to be doing in 90 degree weather, but the workers sometimes hitch a ride back with the bananas, and that looked like a cool job perk!

Outside the banana farm, there were vendor carts set up selling fresh coconut milk, and I tried it for the first time. One word...nasty! It wasn't milky at all like I expected, more like muddy water and everyone loved it but me (surprise, surprise). I'll take a Malibu and pineapple juice, please.

Always the first to make friends with the locals, Hector was excited to introduce me to his new little buddy...

OMG, is it any wonder they call this guy a rhinoceros beetle? After meeting him I was pretty sure I wouldn't sleep again the rest of the trip.

Then it was back on the bus for another two hours, until we finally ended up at a dead end. Turns out where we were headed wasn't accessible by bus, so we hopped a speed boat...Oooh fun!

Well, for about the first hour it was, then it was just...well, long.

But there were all kinds of cool things to see along the river, and the breeze was nice...

Then finally, I saw our sign post up ahead:

And after a 4 hour drive, a two hour boat ride, and several potty breaks, we arrived at the Turtle Beach Lodge to spend the rest of the day:

Taking pictures (say cheeeeeze),

swimming in the turtle shaped pool (seriously!),

unpacking our bags, (ok, how cool is this room? There are no windows, just screens covered by sheer can hear the rain falling at night, and the breeze is always warm...)

exploring the Caribbean coast and it's black sand beaches from north,

to south,

and relaxing in a hammock, watching the breeze through the palm trees, and sipping a frou-frou cocktail with an umbrella.

Pure bliss.