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Life´s a beach.

COSTA RICA | Sunday, 10 July 2011 | Views [471]

The first weekend of July, having finished my two weeks of Spanish study, I set off from San Isidro and headed south to the Osa Peninsula, home to the Corcovada National Park. After a hot and sweaty, and full and cramped, bus trip, I´d arrived in Palma Norte where I took a taxi eight kms or so to the small town of Sierpe nestled in the forest and within the water threads of the Sierpe River.

Sierpe doesn´t have much to offer itself, but acts as a port for access to the Osa Peninsula, alot of which isn´t accessable by road. Sierpe was home for the night as I relaxed and waited in readiness for a few days in the national park, the home to pumas, jaguars, cheaters, leopards and butterfly´s. I took a leisurely stroll around Sierpe and came across some small white-face monkeys ´hanging out´at the entrance to a hotel , there to greet any guests should they arrive.  

Evening fell and the place came alive. Im not talking about party´s or fiestas but the landscape, as animals of all descriptions could be seen or heard in the surrounding tropical forest. Anything that moved in my periferal vision , I turned to expect to see an insect or lizard or some other creepy crawly. I had dinner on a tranquil balcony over looking the river which was a nice setting, other than being murdered by mosquitoes. There presence wasn´t particularly bad, it´s just that I seem to suffer badly from mosquitoes. They love me for some reason. They love my blood without alcohol, as well, it would seem.

I had a very comfortable hotel room by the river and woke to find the hotel was undrneath a noisy flightpath - in more ways than one. The nearby airstrip had planes coming and going every 15 minutes or so, but the roof of my room was the hang out spot for dozens of birds who were very vocal.

After breakfast I was on board a chartered boat to Drake Bay. The sun was out and it was very hot, and the captain set the mood by having a few beers and having the stereo turned up loud. The weather here can change very quickly and often does. The sun dissappeared and the clouds moved in and it started to pour rain. We got quite wet but it was a fun ride anyway especially when we left the river and started navigating the waves of the sea.

An hour later we arrived at Drake Bay. I waited to be picked up by staff from my hotel. I only had to wait about five minutes before they arrived, in a boat, and we were off again a few miles up the coast.

The week before hand, I´d searched the internet over many days for hotels and tours of Corcovado National Park but I couldn´t find anything that I liked. I told the staff at my spanish school and they did some searching for me. The manageress of the school used to work down on the Osa Peninsula and knew of a great place to stay run by a local family. It looked the goods and the price was right so all I had to do was give the go-ahead. Roger from my shcool organised everthing for me with the hotel and the hotel organsied everything else. Talk about landing on your feet, everything from the accommodation and transport in Sierpe to accommodation and wildlife tours in Corcovado were organised for me. I just had to enjoy the ride and admire the amazing scenery.

So, yeah, from Drake Bay I was picked up by two guy´s from my accommodation, Poorman´s Paradise, (check out their pics on their website), and we went in a small dingy a few beaches up the coast to Recon San Josecito beach. My first impressions of the National Park as we bounced off the waves in the rain, was that it looked exactley how I would imagine a deserted island to look. The kind that someone would get shipwrecked on. Being low season, there weren´t many tourists about and , in fact, I was only one of five guests at the hotel, which added to the feeling of really being on a deserted island. The jungle was dense, the fog was thick and the beach was quiet. Welcome to paradise.

After being shown to my tropical cabin and served a hearty lunch, the sun came out and I was able to take a walk along the empty beach and go for a swim in the sea. The beach looked so tropical, awesome.

The next morning I was picked up by boat and headed off with a group of like minded travellers 30 km along the coast to the Sirena Park Station. As we landed on shore once again it felt like we were light years from civiliasation and on a deserted island. The beach reminded me of the beach the English family were ship wrecked on at the beginning of the film Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. Whilst there weren´t any apes on our hike through the park we did see lots of monkeys - howler, spider and the tiny squirrel monkeys - jumping around in the trees. Although we didn´t come across any of the big cats we did come across the rarely seen tapir - a pig looking thing with a long nose. What else did we see? Plenty of birds such as a macau, an eagle and a freaking turkey high up in the tress. Turkeys can fly in this part of the world. Saw some owls, a toucan and a woodpecker; plenty of spiders and ants, a sloth and a peckkery - another pig type thing. Pretty cool.

We stopped for a break at the Sirena Park Station where I went to the bathroom to splash some water on my face as it was a very hot day. As we set off again I noticed I had lost my camera. I searched my bag and my pockets two or three times. The tour group was already marching off and somewhere in the last 30 minutes I´d lost my camera. I had no idea where. I mean it could have been anywhere, somewhere on the jungle floor. I was resigned to the fact that I had lost it but as I left the station to catch up to the group a little voice in my head told me to check the bathrooms at the station. I couldn´t remember taking my camera to the bathroom but decided to listen to the little voice anyway. Ever since I ignored the little voice in my head last Melbourne Cup Day when it told me to park near the shops and I ignored that advice and parked far away only to have my car broken in to , I try to remember to listen to that inner voice now.

I told the tour guide I needed to go back and then went to the bathroom and at first I couldn´t see anything but then in the corner of my eye I saw a black case and, BINGO, there was my camera. Happy Days.

It was another restful afternoon back at Poormans Paradise on the beach and lying in the hammock outside my bungalow before enjoying a tasty meal for dinner. I was up early for breakfast the next mroning as I was leaving and had a boat to catch to get back to Sierpe. I showed up to breakfast and the hostess put a huge plate of pineapple down in front of me. She said she noticed I hadn´t touched the bananas the day before so instead she gave me pineapples. Ah, how nice. However, if I had to make a list of food I don´t like, and it´s a long list, bananas and pineapple would be in the top five.

It was another novel boat trip back to Sierpe and then a tiring two hour bus trip back to San Isidro as I had to stand on the bus. Standing provides a great view to be able to see down the mountain drop by the side of the highway.

A night in San Isidro where I picked up my tank suitcase from my host family and then I was back along the mountain of Death to visit my friend Minor in Heredia again. THe plan next is to go north and check out some volcanoes and beaches. Great, or as they say here, Pura Vida.

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