It was time to leave the beach.
Costa Rica is considered to have the highest density of biodiversity in the world and so I couldn’t leave without heading inland and checking out what was on offer. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for road infrastructure and bus networks so I think I’ve taken more modes of transport this week then ever before … But I have to admit its been worth it.
I left Puerto Viejo and bussed to the Monte Verde, home to what National Geographic calls the “jewel in the crown of cloud forests”. Except for the day I visited, which was warm, sunny and clear. Nevertheless, I made do with some text book examples of dappled light.
I sprung for a guided tour, which I’d advise to properly bring the amazing trees, plants and birds to life as well as prove how woeful any recall of High School biology you might still possess actually is. Also professional bird watchers are a sight in themselves – darting eyes, skittish with the binoculars and ready to imitate all number of peculiar calls and sounds. Birding school must be amazing!
Next up I headed to Volcano Arenal via jeep-boat-jeep. Surprisingly this didn’t involve actual jeeps but a van driven over winding, hilly non-existent roads (complete with American girl sitting next to me who looked green the entire time) to Lake Arenal, boat ride and another van past the volcano to the town of La Fortunate. At this point I should interject that while buses might careen worryingly close to cliff edges and roads might be incredibly bumpy, Costa Rica can fortunately distract you with some pretty epic scenery.
The only problem was that the Volcano looked set to hide behind that cloud for quite a while.
But not to worry. There was some time for some hot springs before the next episode.
Next up a 3 hour bus ride and hour and a half bus trip to Tortuguero.
Tortuguero is quite difficult to explain. It’s one of the most remote parts of Costa Rica and a National Park of tropical, Amazonian style waterways bordering the Caribbean Ocean. The tiny town is about two squares wide between river and beach.
It’s most famous for green-back turtles, which lay their eggs and hatch on the beach … But I wasn’t here at the right time for this so I headed onto the waterway to check out the abundant wildlife. I wasn’t sure about a tour that started at 6am in the morning but such is nature, I suppose. I also wasn’t sure about being on a kayak in rain pouring so hard my fingers were pruning up. But I’m glad I stuck it out. I think the results speak for themselves.