Monday, February 4, 2008

Costa Rica 21

Sunday morning in Cahuita found us shutting off the alarm at 6 AM. Another early morning since this was a travel day again. We had to catch the 8 AM bus for San Jose, even though that was not our destination today. Leave it to L to work out how we were going to get someplace when it appeared that there was no way to get there! Or at least no direct way.

We were now going to be leaving the Caribbean coast and head a bit more inland again. Our destination this time was Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. Our goal here was our first guided rain forest trek. There was also an island garden that we wanted to see.

We grabbed a quick breakfast and headed on over to the covered seat that served as the bus station. Promptly at 8 AM the bus for San Jose pulled up. We once again stuffed our bags into the stomach of the bus and found some seats. L briefly spoke to the driver and then joined us. He had requested that the driver let us off at the junction of the road to Guapiles. Our plan was to then catch a local bus to Sarapiqui. The ride to this junction was totally uneventful. Basically we were just backtracking along the same road we had traveled a few days earlier while journeying from San Jose to Talamanca. The most interesting thing that I saw was a police officer brushing his teeth! This happened at one of the very frequent stops we made along the way, either to pick up people standing by the edge of the road or to drop people off.

We eventually made it to our intersection and the bus driver, true to his word, pulled over and let us out. Knowing that we were going to be getting off early, we had held off putting our luggage in until the last second so that it would be in front and easy to off load. There were a few other people waiting to catch buses on this corner also and they informed us that it was 1.5 hours yet before the bus to Sarapiqui would be coming along. It was already in the 90’s and the little bit of shade provided by the roadside bus stop afforded little relief. There was a restaurant here and across the road, a little snack shop. None of us was hungry and we didn’t really dare leave the area anyway. Just because the people sitting there told us that the bus wouldn’t be along for awhile didn’t mean that it was true. There was no way for us to verify this information one way or the other.

So we sat there. Nothing to do, not much to look at. There was a small building just off to our left that had a sign on it that said it was a frog garden. B and L decided to take a quick peek inside while I waited at the stop, guarding the bags and keeping an eye out for the bus. They returned within ten minutes, stating that it was so lame in there that they took two pictures.

Finally, we spied the bus we were waiting for coming down the road. It pulled over into the little stop area, the driver got out, opened the cargo area, loaded our bags and we were home free! L had once again pulled off what seemed like a miracle, getting us from one spot to another. It was only about a 30 minute, hard seated bus ride to Sarapiqui. The bus station was downtown, where we got off, collected our luggage and grabbed a taxi for our hotel.

Actually, we were not staying at a hotel in this town. We were going to be staying at an “ecolodge” just outside of town. We were going to be staying at the Posada Andrea Cristina, named after the owner’s daughter. This place is owned by a Costa Rican, Alex Martinez, a well known bird conservationist in the area and famous for his work with the local parrot population.
We arrived to find a birthday celebration taking place for his daughter, with a multitude of screaming kids running about and music blaring. We just hoped that this was not the atmosphere promoted at this place. Thankfully it was just this special occasion and this place turned out to be one of the nicest places we stayed. Not necessarily for the amenities, but more the ambience.

It was like being in a piece of the jungle. It was not a hotel but a series of cabins placed around and amid the gardens he had created out of the surrounding jungle. Alex broke away from the crowd, greeted us warmly and showed us to our cabin. Actually it was a big square building, divided in half, forming two cabin units. Ours was the more secluded one in the back half. It had a cozy little covered porch with a table for six. Inside was a double bed, a single bed and off to the side, through a connecting door, was a small room with a set of bunk beds. There was also a large bathroom, which was a treat for a change.

We settled in, unpacked a bit and decided to head out to grab some lunch.

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