Three Gringas Travel Across Costa Rica (July 23rd – August 2nd 2021)

Three Gringas Travel Across Costa Rica (July 23rd – August 2nd 2021)

After three challenging weeks in the rainforest, Peťa, Hanka and I went on the trip across the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. During the following days we could finally swim in the ocean, get some tan and see something else than the wood, mud and rain. On the other side, we missed the shrilling voice of the howler monkey that woke us up almost every day or curious monkeys that sometimes came to visit.

Manuel Antonio And One Aggressive Monkey

Our first stop was the city of Quepos. We lived in El Cocal neighborhood where you can come only if you cross the river with the wherryman. It was already sunset we paid the wherryman for about two minutes long transfer on the other side. That is a business! On the other side of the river, we had to walk for about 30 minutes with our 33 pounds heavy backpacks across the whole neighborhood. Thankfully we had our head lamps and so we could have seen the road we walked through because we lived almost at the very end where were no streetlights anymore. Our accommodation was quite cozy: all three of us slept on one mattress, during the night we all got bitten by the small and barely seen flies and at 4:30 a rooster woke us up. And so, an hour later we swam in the ocean and went to visit the Manuel Antonio National Park.

Manuel Antonio is the smallest national park in Costa Rica. Inside the park you will find four beaches and so, we saw people wearing bathing suits everywhere. I´ve never seen anything like this before. But honestly, it was amazing to jump into the ocean during such a hot day. In the park we also saw some colorful crabs, two sloths (one was eating a leaf and the other one was cleaning his fur from the little bugs), a cute agouti, iguanas and two species of monkeys: the squirrel monkeys and the capuchin monkeys. These monkeys are relatively harmless but only until they get used to the presence of people. In touristic destinations they have been spoiled by a creature called human who feed them either on purpose or by the trash that throws into the trash bins. And so, monkeys instead of being scared of people (just like in the rainforest) they actually don´t mind them because of the food, they like to pose in front of the cameras and once they get tired of them, let´s say they throw a coconut at them. And that´s actually what happened to us. There was a group of people taking pictures of a capuchin monkey. Since we didn´t want to be in the crowd, we waited for them to leave. At this point the monkey didn´t want to pose anymore and so we turned around to walk away. And out of a sudden, a coconut fell about 3 feet away from us. We looked up and what we saw – a grinning face of this little monkey. This was the first time when I realized how dangerous can coconuts be.

A Mystery of The Lost Baguette

From Quepos we went to the city of Uvita. Uvita is a well-known place for whale watching. Actually, you will find here one amazing, several meters long beach opened up into something called a whale tail. It is a part of the beach which shape reminds a whale tail. If you want to come and see it, you have to do it during the low tide. Because as the high tide hits the beach, it all gets lost under the water. I´m not joking we´ve seen it and it´s real.

On the following day we went for a whale watching. Doing a whale watching is like attending a lottery. You pay to the travel agency for the trip but there is no guarantee that during the 3-hours long tour you´ll actually see any. Fortunately, we got lucky and we saw three whale mammas with three little baby whales. They were humpback whales. Moms were about 55-59 feet long and their babies were “only” about 10-13 feet long. And actually, we also saw two baby whales playing together. That was SO CUTE! And what else we saw were two beautiful green turtles. I mean, it was a perfect day. And then the night had come and we solved the mystery of the lost baguette.

When we arrived to Uvita, Peťa and I went to the grocery store to get some food including two huge, about 3 feet long baguettes. Hanka was tired and so she went to sleep. Peťa and I opened a bottle of Capitain Morgan and drank it all that night. Then it was morning. We wanted to have a breakfast but we couldn´t find our two huge baguettes anywhere. So, we gave up on it and bought new ones during the day. In the evening we told ourself that we shouldn´t drink that much and so we went to sleep sober. When out of a sudden we heard a noise coming from downstairs where Hanka was already hard sleeping. Super silently we moved to the staircase, cowered back and if you were at the ground floor at that time, all you´d see were two scared faces in the moonlight. We thought there was a burglar and we didn´t know how to help Hanka. Peťa actually did something I wouldn´t even think of: she screamed at Hanka: “Hanka! Hanka!” But it didn´t wake her up and there was a weird silence in the hut. And then I saw it and yelled: “There is a big cat!” A Peťa replied: “It is a racoon!” And as we got even more scared, we yelled at the top of our lungs. Our noise frightened the racoon that started jumping across all the furniture and landed on the bed next to the sleeping Hanka. She finally woke up and the first thing she saw was our new pet laying next to her. Then it got scared even more, boom, bang, slam and the front door smacked. Then we turned the lights on and what we saw – our 3 feet long baguettes on the floor at the front door. And then we realized that the previous night we got robbed by a racoon. And since we slept so hard, we didn´t hear it…

Crocodile, Turtles, And Us

Our last stop was Puerto Jiménez where we wanted to join volunteers from Tortugas Preciosa de Osa and release the newborn turtles to the ocean. We had detailly planned the way how to make it from Uvita to Osa Peninsula. We arrived to the bus stop 30 minutes in advance and then it happened: the bus didn´t arrive. We found out that a place that looks like a bus stop and has the buses schedule is actually not a bus stop. We waited at the wrong place while our bus had left from the real bus station. When we finally came to the bus station, we found out that there was one more bus going the direction we needed and we still had a small chance to make it to Puerto Jiménez on that day. The problem was, that bus didn´t show up. Who actually showed up was one amazing Czech guy, Danny. Danny was our redemption. He stopped working just to drive us about 93 miles to the south. On the way there he bought us some beers, showed us where Slovaks live and cook traditional Slovak meals, told us many interesting stories about Costa Rica and drove us up on the hill to have a panoramic view while peeing. Danny is an amazing guy, and I hope I´ll meet him one day again.

On the following day, at 6am we met volunteers from Tortugas Preciosa de Osa, who told us about their activities, interesting facts about turtles and at the end we released 112 green turtles. These turtles swim during following three days without any break and only 1 out of 1000 survives! Another fascinating fact is, that they never forget the place where they hatched and in 15-20 years they come back here to hatch their eggs. Other than that, we got to know that every night at 2am two volunteers meet here, each of them walks through one side of the beach while carrying several empty buckets and search for places where turtles hatched their eggs in the evening. Then they collect these eggs, measure the depth and width of the hatchery and carry these eggs back to their private hatchery. Then these volunteers dig the new hatcheries depending on the measurements of those they had found on the beach and carefully put eggs in there. This is the way how turtles can be hatched while being protected from any danger. Now, guess what was our plan for the following day. Correct. At 2am we met a volunteer named Dave at the beach. The fact that two hours before that we woke up because of a strong earthquake and the worst storm of my life, I´ll skip for now. Dave was an active old man and his first question was: are you afraid of crocodiles? We laughed and said we didn´t think so. Then he said there was a one living on the beach and we might see him tonight. Well, we didn´t see the crocodile but we saw his footsteps that were pretty fresh. That was the moment when I realized I don´t need to meet a crocodile on the beach. Ever. During 2,5 hours we found four egg hatcheries. Girls found about 120 eggs in each hatchery and mine was probably robbed – either by an animal or human. My hole was quite destroyed and I found only four eggs in there. By the way, the turtle´s eggs look like a ping-pong ball and they are very fragile. Around 4:30 we were already back and after digging our eggs in their new and safe holes we enjoyed a beautiful sunrise. And meanwhile 92 baby turtles hatched. We took a sample of 20 of them aside, measured them, weighed them and at the end we released all of them to the ocean. I´m telling you: it was amazing. Splendid. Unforgettable.

When Memories Are All You Have

Eleven days during three gringas traveled across Costa Rica passed fast. We saw the crocodile bridge, chased a tarantula on our porch, climbed through the fence, and felt weird over a group of people who went to the ocean during the high tide and then yelled at us asking for help. I´ve brought home a lot of nice memories and I´d like to quote one amazing man, my friend Jorge Serendero: “Live for today, dream about tomorrow.”

Love,