Capital – San Jose Currency – Colones but US dollars also accepted.
Language – Spanish and English on the Caribbean coast
4th January 2014 – Our first impression of Costa Rica is of how green and tropical it appears with gardens full of vividly coloured flowers and many palm and banana trees.
We are heading for Golfito, once a thriving banana port but now slowly being taken over by the jungle. We are able to camp there, in the large and very beautiful garden of Swiss owned La Purruja Lodge. Full of different species of indigenous trees, tropical flowers and wildlife, including a toilet and shower full of bats, which we presume will fly out once it is dark!
6th – 8th January – We discover a large bolt head in one of our rear tyres, which explains the clicking noise that we have been hearing. It takes some effort in pulling it out and in no time at all we have a flat tyre. Luckily we can get this repaired in nearby Rio Claro or Golfito before we leave.
We take a dirt track through the forest toward Gamba and stop to investigate Esquinas Lodge situated amongst primary rainforest. We meet Manfred and his wife plus their two sons from Austria. He tells us all about the beautiful Lipizanna horses from Vienna and how everyone celebrates when they are led down from the high mountain pastures in the first week of September. Certainly something we would like to see if we visit Austria one day. We hope you all have a great holiday here in Costa Rica!
We have been recommended Adonis Campground at Puerto Jimenez and it is certainly in a wonderful location, with only a dirt road separating us from the palm trees that edge the Pacific Ocean.
On the opposite side to the ocean is an airport, where small planes regularly skim over the trees and out to sea, either to the capital San Jose or to the Corcovado Nacional Parque. The highlight staying here however, is the wildlife. We have many beautiful scarlet macaws screeching in the trees, flying overhead and finding fruit amongst the trees that grow on the beach. These noisy birds are such great characters and we spend a lot of time watching their antics.
Scarlet macaws mate for life and this pair have made a nest in a hole in a tall tree. The chicks will stay around 3 months in the nest before their first flight and will then stay with their parents for about 2 years.
It is wonderful being able to share in all this wildlife but perhaps not surprising, given that the town of Puerto Jimenez lies on the edge of the Corcovado Parque.
Adonis invites us to go with him when he feeds caiman and a large crocodile that inhabit the murky pools in the forest on the edge of the campground.
When the tide goes out you can walk through the shallow water some distance along the beach. It’s warm, like bath water, pelicans are diving for fish and the skyscapes are huge and constantly changing. This really is a great place to stay and Adonis makes you feel very welcome and delights in sharing his knowledge about the animals and birds on his land. I told him he would make a great guide and so it didn’t surprise me when I discovered that he had worked in the Corcovado for 8 years.
9th January – From Puerto Jimenez the tropical landscape continues as we pick up the coast road for Dominical….banana and mango trees and long tracks that lead to cattle farming fincas. The jungle however, is never far away and covers the hills that stretch into the distance, their tops disappearing under cloud.
We know there is camping at Dominical but a very bored and unhelpful guy in the Tourist Information, is not really interested in helping us find it. We decide Dominical is not for us, unless we want to join the big surfing community that come here for the enormous waves and listen to the loud, thumping music that dominates the town. We decide to leave these hot and humid lowlands and head up higher for cooler weather in the hills at Cerro de la Muerte but it didn’t turn out to be a good decision!