Well we’re back in Vancouver and I must say, we both dearly miss Costa Rica. I went yesterday morning to the local Starbucks to pick up some coffee for Robyn and I and it was an odd feeling walking towards the Davie & Denman location. I guess I got so used to the relaxed way in Puerto Viejo, the quietness too. Vancouver seems noisy and busy in comparison.
Alright, the last couple days of our Costa Rica trip were fairly busy so on Day 8 but we were booked to do a Sea and River Kayak trip at Punta Uva. This trip was to replace the snorkeling trip we did not get to do due to the size of the waves, but in the end it was very enjoyable.
We were picked up at the Banana Azul and headed into Punta Uva with 4 other people (2 Americans and a couple from Romania). Once we got to Punta Uva and the Kayaks were unloaded we got into them and floated around a bit as our guide helped the other people learn to paddle. Robyn and I took level 1 kayaking at Deep Cove in 2008 so we were pretty comfortable on the water.
Normally they start off with a ocean kayak to view the caves along the shoreline but due to the rough sea we went straight into the river. Right off the bat our guide, Frederico, pointed out a 3-toed sloth climbing up in the tree. A little bit after that he spotted a river turtle and jumped right in to grab it! The sucker was fairly large and heavy!
Yea that is me trying to kiss him without him scratching me with his claws or biting me. After we was passed around a bit I put him back into the water and he swam away.
We paddled down the river, went under the road bridge and kept on paddling. Frederico pointed out the various plant life to us, but most of it we saw when Ricky guided us for the Manzanillo trip.
One of the animals Robyn has been dying to see on our trip were the Toucans. I briefly saw one fly over us when we were in Manzanillo but Robyn’s luck was about to turn.
I know these are not the greatest photos of Toucans, but with a point and shoot camera that has a 3x optical zoom (38mm-114mm), you cannot really get to close to things, especially when they are back-lit by the sun and overcast skies. Robyn was ecstatic, in fact, I think we saw at least 5 of them flying around landing in the trees around us. Robyn was grinning ear to ear the rest of the trip!
We eventually got to a point where we got out of the kayaks and onto the ground. We walked in the rainforest for about an hour while Frederico pointed out more critters and various plants whilst reminding us to be careful of snakes.
He pulled off a Termite’s nest and explained it to us, but we also got to eat some termites too. The after taste of a termite is like chocolate. You can also smash them in your hand and apply the mush to your skin as a insect repellent, this could have been handy if we didn’t bring our Deep Woods Off. Typically they nests are attached to trees but I guess with this particular nest they have pulled it off to show other tours and just place it back on the tree.
Frederico was great fun and managed to capture this tiny frog. He didn’t say what sort of frog it was, but as you can see from the photo it is really small. I’m surprised he was able to catch the guy jumping around in the wet clay soil. Robyn’s little Pentax Optio W10 did a good job on its Macro setting, it even captured the colour on his back legs.
The fruit (above left photo) is Bread Fruit. Supposedly they grow to super massive sizes but taste like bread (hence the name). The photo next to it is of the muddy, clay-ish type soil we had to trek through in our sandals throughout this section of rain forest.
We stopped off at a bend in the river, turned around and headed back towards the kayaks. Frederico pointed out some interesting aspects of the rainforest we did not notice before such as Bullet Ants. I couldn’t get a decent photo of them but they were roughly the size of my pinky finger, the length of my entire pinky finger that is! They called them Bullet Ants because if they bite you the pain is like being shot supposedly. The other thing he pointed out to us was the Cannon Ball trees. They grow cannon ball like fruit (similar to coconuts) that are rock hard and can kill you if they land on your head. Two things we avoided regularly after that.
Along the river we also saw some more sloths, a gigantic lizard that scurried himself into a large hole along the river bank as well as a heron of sorts.
We made it back to the beach of Punta Uva where we went in to the ocean for a swim as Frederico and his assistant loaded up the kayaks and spread out some snacks for us. The snacks consisted of fresh pineapple, watermelon and some cookies. We both LOVE the fresh pineapple and watermelon!
Now it was for the hike portion of the trip. Not a grueling hike, but a walk through the rainforest towards the point that over looks both sections of Punta Uva and the ocean.
The walk up to the point was pretty sketchy as the early morning rain made things really slippery. The soil is of clay; sticky and slick. Some sections can be a bit hazardous to your health as if you were to slip you would probably fall off and down the side of the point. Not a good way to end an excellent excursion!
Along the way we came across some more of the Centipedes that Robyn and I saw on our Manzanillo trip. When we picked them up they just laid there like they were dead. When I put mine back he rolled off the log and into a large hole like a tire. I wonder what it would feel like to have these guys crawling around on you!
We made it to the point but the photos I took didn’t do the view justice so I won’t be sharing any of those photos. We turned around and headed back down to the Punta Uva beach on an easier route.
The sun was setting at this point. We got back to the Banana Azul and went for a late night swim. The skies were clear, the stars were out and the water was warm. A great way to end a great day with some excellent critter viewings.
We also decided that the Top 5 Animals to see in Costa Rica (at least the Caribbean side) are:
- Monkey (either Howler or White-Face Capuchin)
- Dart Frog
- Turtle (River or Leatherback)
We can check all of those off on our list. Well we didn’t see a leatherback turtle but we did see wild river turtles. We also saw eye-lashed vipers in the wild too, so you can add that to the list if you miss one of the above if you ever visit Costa Rica.
If you are in Costa Rica I would highly recommend checking out Exploradores Outdoors for Caribbean Tours. Their staff is friendly, funny, knowledgeable and their tours are highly enjoyable making them well worth the price (which isn’t bad either!).
Photos Taken So Far: 890
Next To Come: River Rafting the Rio Pacuare