We flew into San Jose, CR just in time to bring in the New Year. During the flight, I have to admit to lamenting about missing Kenny's New-Year's ride. Wesla wanted to smack me, and I probably would have deserved it. Upon arriving in San Jose, we headed to a shindig in the city which was nice and all, but it turns out that most Costa Ricans bring in the New Year with the family, and then head out to party till morning. We had an early flight to catch the next morning, so we had our first taste of Gallo Pinto (rice, beans, and their secret sauce) and called it a night.
The next morning, we headed to a little slice of heaven called the Osa Peninsula.
La Peninsula de Osa is tucked away on the southwest corner of CR. Although it's only 100 miles away from San Jose (as the crow flies), it takes about 8 hours to drive to due to the multiple mountain passes and poor road conditions. Although I think the drive would be fun, we flew to Osa on a domestic airline instead, which took about 40 minutes.
|From Costa Rica|
We stayed on the Drake Bay side of the Peninsula, and according to some of the locals, the first cars did not arrive to Drake Bay until 8 years ago, and Drake Bay did not have a power plant until 4 years ago.
The area is very undeveloped, and reminded us of our visit to Mangrove Cay in the Bahamas last year. Very low key, great locals, amazing beaches, etc. What sets Drake Bay apart is its proximity to Corcovado National Park. We took a 1 hour boat ride to the heart of the park and took a guided tour through some amazing rain forest.
The guide was simply amazing. I'm guessing that if Wesla and I had ventured out by ourselves, we would have been lucky to have seen 4-5 different animals. The guide had a sixth sense for spotting all sorts of animals hiding in the canopy above us and on the earth below, and usually had some interesting science or history behind each siting.
Cool tree - Watcher, what's this called?
Baby howler monkey with mama:
These leaf-cutter ants were honestly one of the coolest things we saw.
Each of these little leaves on the trunk are being carried by an ant. They'd march to the top of this tree, cut out a leaf, and carry it back home to use as a bed to grow mushrooms, which were used for food. The ants had walked this tree and the ground below enough that they had worn in a nice little single-track path. Watching these ants go to work was simply amazing.
An American crocodile, which happens to be my new favorite Spanish word: cocodrilo. I could say that over and over again all day...
Nice little waterfall:
The next day, we headed out to Cano Island for some snorkeling. Unfortunately we don't have an underwater camera to capture all of the fish, coral and reef sharks out there. The water was 80 degrees and even a skinny guy like me could swim around all day without getting cold. My sunburned back is evidence of that. And by the way, don't trust Costa Rican sunblock. The SPF 60 that we bought locally didn't work half as well as the SPF 30 from home.
One of favorite things about travelling is seeing how the local people live. Here are a couple of pics to give you an idea of what life is like in La Peninsula de Osa. My favorite is the local airport:
No, that's not a fruit stand. That's the entire airport. The security screening consisted of... um... well nothing. I put my own bag into the airplane. Pura vida.
Another of my favorites is this is a little place that I came across while wondering around some of the trails near our hotel:
Next up is our visit to the Quepos area. At my current rate of updating my blog, I'll get to that sometime in March!