Saturday, October 03, 2009

Trip Report--Costa Rica September 2009

So, our Labor Day trip this year happened a little bit late…….at the end of September. This year, we chose Costa Rica again, but an area different than we have been to before called Golfito. We went to Costa Rica from 9/24-2/29.

Thursday, we left super early from Detroit and flew via Continental Airlines through Houston to San Jose, Costa Rica. We were staying one night in San Jose, as there are no later afternoon flights to Golfito, our final destination. We got there, and our hotel near San Jose, the Holiday Inn Express, picked us up at the airport. As soon as we exited the airport, they were there with a sign with my name on it, and we jumped on their shuttle and headed to the hotel. Got there, and we were all exhausted, so we took a 1.5 hour nap, then headed out to the Hotel Del Ray, as Kurt really wanted to show Kory the spectacle that it is. The hotel is known for it’s prostitutes (which is legal in Costa Rica). Anyway, it was crazy. We had dinner there and just watched the action. There is a casino there as well, but most guys go just to check out the “eye candy” and hire girls for the night. The way it works is so odd there though, the guys have to almost “court” the girls, hang out with them and get to know them, and then they head off to a room. It was great entertainment. Anyway, the food there was really good, considering that the place is obviously not known for good meals. After dinner, we played a little bit of blackjack, then headed back to the room. I was exhausted, so while Kurt and Kory headed next door to Casino Fiesta, I stayed in the room and showered, read a book, and watched TV.

Friday, we got up super early again to catch our flight to Golfito via Sansa Air. Got the small airport and checked it, waited with the other 8 passengers to board. Really small plane, but great flight. Arrived in Golfito at the airport and a taxi picked us up and took us to the boat dock, where the captain of the Golfo Dulce Lodge’s boat greeted us and took us on our 25 minute boat ride to the Lodge. Arrived at the Lodge and to breakfast, which was good. Fresh fruit, eggs, meat (for Kory), fresh squeezed juice, toast. During breakfast, a herd of peccaries was spotted nearby, so we all got up to go see them. Pretty kewl to see one of my fav animals within 10 minutes of arriving! The peccaries remind me of pugs--they look like large hairy pigs and snort like them too! After that, we were shown to our room and unpacked some. Our cabin was nice……two beds (one single and one double), with a bathroom and a living room seating area, and a large front porch with a hammock and chairs. Decided that day to head into the City of Golfito to meet with a realtor Kurt had contacted prior to our trip about seeing some property on Tower Road in Golfito (a 300 acre jungle parcel). So, the boat captain took us back into town, and on the way, we saw dolphins! Swimming and jumping right next to our boat. That was awesome. Found the Realtor, and she took us to that piece, as well as another one she thought we might like. The 300 acre piece ended up not being what we wanted. A lot of the property was this really steep drop, and would have been really hard to hike and explore. The other piece however, was pretty kewl, but more than we currently want to spend. It had a house, pool and two cabins, with 110 jungle acres. We will keep it on our radar, although, I do not think Golfito is where we will end up living. It’s a tiny bit too remote, I think. Anyway. Had lunch at this place called Buenos Dios in town, which is the ONLY air conditioned restaurant in Golfito. Food was yummy, I had shrimp with rice and black beans. We explored Golfito some, then met Kory at this bar near the ocean, where he was drinking and waiting for us. Kory fished some with the bartender at the place (called Samoa Bar and Restaurant), and we then headed back to the lodge for the night. Saw some macaws and toucans, had dinner (needle fish, which was a first for me and super yummy) and went to bed. Oh, we found out we were the Lodge’s ONLY guests for our time there. There were more staff working than us (the guests).

Saturday, we got up early to hike to the Tower at the Lodge. On the way, we saw agouti, coati, macaws and toucans. Went to the top of the Tower, which was really high and overlooked the entire jungle. Had breakfast, then went on a boat tour of the Rio Equinas. Wow, it was HOT. This was the day, even with sunscreen, the three of us got burned. I mostly only got burned on my shoulders and top of my back though, which was good for me because usually, my entire body burns from the sun there the first time exposed. We saw a lot of birds on the tour, as well as caiman and crocodiles. The tour was pretty kewl as we did not really see anyone else during the entire thing. Pretty deserted river. Came back and had lunch, then took a nap on the hammock on the porch. Headed to the beach at the Lodge, laid in hammocks there, and watched the macaws play in the trees and scream at us. They have the funniest call for such a gorgeous bird……Kory went swimming, and we napped some and I read a book. After that, headed to the house and property next door to the Lodge, which was for sale. Met with the owner, but the house only has two acres and she is asking too much for it. We also think she sells drugs or was doing them….LOL. Came back to the Lodge and took an awesome hike on this trail, where we saw capuchin monkeys, squirrel monkeys, scarlet macaws, and other birds. This was the closest I have ever been to squirrel monkeys ever. Saw them in the Osa last year, but from afar. Chilled and played Scrabble until dinner. Took a short night hike where we saw a snake, some frogs, and a turtle (near the pond at the Lodge).

Sunday, got up and headed on a hike to the Lodge waterfall. Glad we had a guide for that one, as we NEVER would have found it on our own. It was on an unmarked trail that went ALL over the place--walk in the river, go up on a trail, back in the river, etc. We wore large boots because the Guide said “sometimes snakes swim in the river we are walking in”. Yes, please, I will take the boots! :). On the way to the waterfall, we stopped and the Guide knocked some coconuts out of a tree and showed us how to peel and open them, and we got to try coconut milk, which tastes NOTHING like coconut. It was very sweet and good! And I do not like coconut. He also showed us how to take palm leaf and make it into little creatures. Although we all sucked at that. The waterfall was beautiful. We stayed there for a while admiring it and walking around looking for creatures. Kurt found a tarantula in a hole that was pretty freaky. Came back to the Lodge and had breakfast. We then relaxed a lot the remainder of the day, playing cards and Scrabble, hanging out at the beach. Took a short hike later that evening and say a tayra (which I had never seen before) and an agouti and various birds. Had dinner, then took another longer night hike through the jungle. We saw a kinkajou, heard owls, saw frogs, toads, turtle, various spiders and bugs, etc. After that, bed.

Monday, we got up and had breakfast and headed to a nearby town via boat called Puerto Jimenez. Explored the town, and bought some souvenirs and had lunch. Kurt bought a wood carving of a squirrel monkey and a painting of a red eyed tree frog. I bought a really kewl local carved vase with monkeys on it. Kory bought a soccer ball. We had lunch at a place called Juanitas Restaurant, which served Mexican food. Found an Internet café with air conditioning so we could check our email and such. Headed back to the lodge after that. Hung out at the beach and played Rummy, then headed on one more hike at the lodge. Kurt and I headed out ourselves and we saw a TON--peccaries (9), agouti, macaws, 4 green parrots (which was awesome, as they are really rare to see for us anyway), and squirrel monkey CRAZINESS. They were everywhere. We stood there for quite some time and watched them, and I think there was at least 15 of them playing above us in the trees. They are super adorable. I was in heaven. Went back to the Lodge, and Kory had seen a fer de lance while we were gone! Which is a really poisonous snake, if you are bitten you have to get to a hospital within 2 hours to get treated or you will die. The snake came right into the dining area and was just chilling near the pool. Had dinner, then went to bed.

Tuesday, got up super early (again) and headed to catch our flight. Took a gorgeous early morning boat ride, taxi met us, then we waited at the airport. Got into San Jose and had a long layover, so we checked our bags and did all the stuff with the tax you pay to leave the country, then headed to lunch at Denny’s nearby. Came back to the airport and did some shopping at the airport. Bought a really kewl wood carved bowl, and some postcards, then charged my phone and checked my email. Flight to Houston, then layover, then Detroit. In Houston, Kory got stopped by the customs drug dog, and had all his stuff searched. First time I have ever been in the customs area. They of course found nothing and we got to the Detroit flight just in time. Got home at midnight and that was the end of the trip!

Overall, another awesome Central American trip. Highlight of the trip was probably the squirrel monkeys and scarlet macaws, as well as the remote location of our Lodge and all the wildlife available for viewing right there. Oh, and the dolphins we saw. Lowlights would have been the couple early flights (I am so not a morning person), and the lack of Internet at the Lodge. It did not really bother me, but it was killing Kurt to now know the scores of several games going on, like the Tigers and Lions. He survived though. The weather was also extremely hot and very muggy, but it’s better than MI, so I won’t complain!

Click here to see the pics.


Nicole said...

Sounds like a great trip! Glad you had such a nice time.

.................Nancy said...

I agree, sounds like another awesome trip!