Day 5 of our stay at Puerto Viejo was not as grueling as our trek up the beach into Cahuita, but it was just as interesting if not a little bit more.
Even though today is Day 6 here in Puerto Viejo, I did not have time to work on a post for Day 5 as it was pretty busy. We first caught a Taxi from the Banana Azul into Puerto Viejo though that wasn’t our intended destination. We originally were going to take the taxi all the way to the Jaguar Rescue Centre which is south of Puerto Viejo, closer to Punta Uva.
Did I mention I am writing this post from the comfort of our hammock? If only we had a bigger place in the West End, I would so set myself up in a hammock. Anyway, I’ll have to get Robyn to take a photo of me blogging from a hammock later. Just a little warning, this post might be fairly long too as we did lots during the day.
Robyn had a good idea and wanted to rent a scooter for the day. We asked the driver to stop off at the scooter rental place. Before we headed out we only took about $40 US with us, as well as whatever amount of Colones we had at the time (I think roughly 5,000). When we inquired about the scooter rental, it would be a $500 deposit (though they don’t actually charge your card, they just make an imprint) but also $42 for the rental for the day. Well this would have been great and all, except that the Jaguar Rescue Centre charges $10 per person (it’s worth it though). So scooter aside, we had to find another taxi to take us to our intended destination.
We got to the Jaguar Rescue Centre just in time for a little guided tour. What does Robyn notice about our guide? She is carrying a baby 3-toed sloth at her waist.
After a brief introduction about the Jaguar Rescue Centre, which by the way is not government funded. Thus our little tour began. First we stopped off at the Red Squirrel enclosure. Here they nurse the squirrels back to health and release them when ready. I don’t have any photos of them, though I do have a photo of the squirrels for the Day 6 post.
Next was on to the small cat enclosures. Currently in their centre they have a cat related to the Ocelot (I think it is called the Margay cat). There was also a Jaguarundi, which looked similar to a black house cat.
Near the small cat area was an enclosure for a black and white owl. They were waiting for the new feathers to come in before releasing him back into the wild.
We back-tracked an enclosure or two to where 3 female Howler Monkeys were being kept. They are slowly trying to reintroduce these 3 howlers back into nearby resident Howler groups.
Next came the part that Robyn was looking forward to; the sloths. Our guide had a baby 3-toed sloth around her waist to keep it warm as it was orphaned. She also brought out a 2-toed sloth and showed us how they differ from one another. The 2-toed sloth is considered the more evolved of the two species. Did you know that 2-toed sloths have ears? I sure didn’t.
According to our guide, we were not allowed to hold the sloths as they are very sensitive to the environment around them. We also learned that they have a 4-chamber stomach which takes 20 days to digest food. Imaging being able to eat something one day, and have it finally digested 20 days later? They can also slow their heart rate down to almost nothing to help conserve energy when there isn’t much food available too.
Bring on the monkeys! There were 2 baby howler monkeys that we were shown next. They are free to roam around and you can play with them too. Robyn got to play with one baby (that bit her finger) but it didn’t seem to want to play for very long.
I went down on one knee to take a photo of one, but it decided I wasn’t as interesting as my leg was.
We were then shown the snakes. Costa Rica does have numerous snakes but there are a few that stand out. Fer De Lance, Bushmaster and the Eye Lash Viper. Granted there are many other snakes but these 3 are (in my opinion) are the most interesting because they can be the most dangerous in the world. We learned that baby snakes are more deadly than their grown ups. Baby snakes are unable to control the release of venom, whereas the adult snakes can decide how much venom to inject during a strike.
The above photo is of a small Eye Lash Viper. Remember now, snakes don’t have eyelids, but this snake has eyelashes to help while it’s moving around on the ground. Actually, we saw some today (Day 6) in the jungle on our tour, but I’ll show those photos later.
This guy is a Fer De Lance the most dangerous snake (next to the Bushmaster) in Costa Rica. It’s hard to shoot with a wide-angle lens through glass but I think the photo turned out pretty good.
Now I don’t have a photo of their resident Bushmaster as it was hidden pretty good in a dark area of its tank but none of these snakes I would really want to run into in the wild unexpectedly.
Another display that the Jaguar Rescue Centre has showcase the skeleton remains of an ocelot, 2-toed sloth, toucan as well as a bushmaster. There are also various snake carcasses on display in jars.
They are also working on a new area for the cayman they are taking care of also. The Jaguar Rescue Centre helps educate the local people on the importance of the various animal life especially snakes. Just because a snake is poisonous doesn’t mean you should kill it. They snakes in Costa Rica (as well as in the rest of the world) help keep the rat/mice population in check.
While I was checking out the 2 cayman the centre had, Robyn was talking to a lady from Chicago named Nancy. She was headed back to Manzanillo and Robyn thought it would be a fun idea to tag along. We decided on taking the bus as you can flag it down at anytime it passes by. Lucky for us, it was to come within 10 minutes. Did I mention that if you don’t speak any Spanish you might have hard time trying to figure things out as simple as bus fare? I think we go the idea that it was 500 colonies to Manzanillo, but somehow we took forever to get it right, even then I ended up only paying 500 colones for the both of us.
We arrived in Manzanillo about 20 minutes later. A large amount of people seem to ride bicycles from Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo, but we have heard it can take upward to 4 and half hours to do so. The bus costs you $1 US, a bike might cost you as low as $5 for the day, which option would you take?
Manzanillo is a great place to go for a swim, or have a bite. Don’t expect to be served quickly, actually most people say you can wait up to an hour (or more) throughout all of Costa Rica at various restaurants.
We stopped off at Maxi’s which is right where the bus drops you off before it continues on south. We decide on Yuka Fries and to share the Beefeater dish. Both were so delicious and filling. The Beefeater dish (above) consisted of crushes fried plantains, rice, a small cabbage salad and the mouth watering beef. The staff at Maxi’s was great, though we don’t think anyone there spoke any English. We did eventually pay for our meal at the Cashier area too. Our meal was roughly 6,000 Colones which is roughly $13 US. It seems on that particular day, the Red Snapper was the dish to get as it looked like everyone else was eating it.
So why does someone go to Manzanillo? I would have to say it would be the beach. The white sand and crystal clear water is popular among many people as many people were dotted up and down the beach. The beach itself is similar to that of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic but not nearly as built up as Punta Cana is. Robyn and I wonder if this is what Punta Cana could have looked like before the large resorts started popping up.
After some relaxing on the beach and Robyn taking a swim in the water, we eventually found someone would could drive us back to the Banana Azul.
It was a great but long day. Yes, we did manage to go for a swim in the ocean when we got back to our accommodation.
Photos Taken So Far: 430
Next To Come: Guided Rainforest Tour of Manzanillo