Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I'm sorry that its been a few days since I posted. Our hostel in Cahuita didnt have wifi it only had a shared computer. The computer had a spanish keyboard (which I hate) and was in a corner full of mosquitos, so I took a little vacation from the internet. I'm back now so here are a few posts to get you caught up on our stay in Cahuita. since we are now in Puerto Viejo.

Yesterday we arrived in Cahuita in the rain. The bus ride from San Jose was fairly uneventful besides the fact that we went an hour out of the way due to some sort of landslide on the usual road. The ride took about 5 hours and we were very happy when we pulled into the bus station in Cahuita even though it was raining. We put on our packs and headed around town to see what kind of rooms were available. I decided to be choosy since the town was so small and we checked out about 4 different places before settling on the Shangrila hostel. Its run by an Italian guy who just built the place. Its only been open about a month so the rooms are much newer than most of the places here. It rained on and off for most of the evening so we kind of laid low just wandering the small beach town. We did have an amazing dinner of red snapper with 2 different sauces. The fish was huge and the sauces were so tasty.
We woke this morning happy to see that the rain was stopped. Rob ran around town trying to figure out the best way to call his dad for father's day while I whipped up a terribly short email since the only internet access here is on a shared computer which has a spanish keyboard which I find very difficult to use. Sorry Dad! Happy Father's Day.
The world cup was on at the hotel and Italy played a pretty pathetic game but it was fun because the hotel guy is Italian.
We spent the whole rest of our day at the National Park. The really great thing about Cahuita that makes it stand out from every other beach town, is that the town is right next to a National Park. The best swimming beach is in the park and a trail follows beach through forest that has all kinds of great wildlife. You can see the water for most of the trail. The best part is that the entrance to the park is free so we can come and go as we please. We walked less than half the trail but enjoyed the walk a lot. Then we spent all afternoon just hanging out at the beach.
Anyone who has been reading a while should remember how we raved about Tapado in Livingston, Guatemala. I'd heard that here on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is a similar soupy food called Rondon. I'd looked for it in all the restuaurants yesterday but didnt see it. Today, we walked by a small place that had a sign out front advertising their Rondon. The price was right at about $4 for a serving which is pretty cheap for Costa Rica. We just got back from eating it and it was delicious! Jose, the chef, let us know that a lot of times you will see it as a soup, but his is more correct and was more of a stew. He used breadfruit, yucca and plantain which he cooks for a long time in coconut milk and his secret blend of spices until all of the veggies are nice and soft and the broth was more of a gravy. He served it with a nice chunk of Jackfish or you could even serve it with beef or chicken. He mentioned a spice mix called bomba which we will have to look up when we get home. If you find yourself in Cahuita on Thurs-Sunday, find this little place right next to the payphones and the little park.
Tonight is our last night here in Cahuita. Last night we were talking to some folks here at the hostel and they urged us to walk the entire park today so we did. Boy am I glad that we took their advice. It was the perfect walk...perfect length, perfect wildlife sightings and perfect beaches. The walk is about 5 miles in total and we dragged it out over about 4 hours. We saw 2 eyelash pitvipers (with the help of the park rangers), a sloth, many howler and capuchin monkeys, lizards and birds. We even saw a manta ray jump out of the water and belly flop back in. For the second half of the walk we saw almost no people. At about mile 4, we stopped and made sandwiches with some items that we had picked up at the store on the way there (fresh bread, canned tuna with jalapenos, cream cheese, avocado and a little lime..yum). The sky was very blue and so was the water. At the end of the trail is a very long, deserted beach. It was by far the most beautiful beach that we have seen so far in this country with super fine sand that felt great on our tired toes. The beach was so deserted that I changed into my bathing suit right on that beach. About 1 mile past that beach, we caught a bus back to Cahuita tired and happy.
We've really enjoyed our stay here. This town really stands out from the other beach towns in Costa Rica. Tourism is probably the main source of income for the town but it has yet to be really taken over by gringos. The free national park is my new favorite park because for 99% of the walk, you are so close to the water that you can hear and see the waves through the trees.
After writing the last few paragraphs yesterday evening, we decided to go for a little walk in the town. On our way back to the hotel, as we were crossing the street, I happened to look up and notice something hanging on the power line. At first I thought it was some sort of canvas bag or some kid's backpack. As I looked closer, I realized that it was a sloth. I thought that maybe someone had hung up a stuffed animal as a joke or something but as we got closer, I realized that it was a real live sloth! We watched hang for a few moments and confirmed that its head was moving a little. I had been thinking all day about how Costa Rica is a country where you need to have your camera with you at all times but of course, I had left mine at the hotel. The nice thing about a sloth is that they dont move too much so we were confident it would still be there if we ran and got the camera. We walked quickly back to the hotel hoping that there would be other people awake and hanging out so that we could invite them to come with us. There was only 1 couple still up, a French couple. Rob told them about the sloth and even though they had a difficult time understanding what was there, they grabbed their camera and the 4 of us headed back. Sure enough, the sloth hadnt moved an inch. As we stood there taking pictures, he started making his way across the power line. We were suprised at how quickly he made his way hand over hand but after going about 35 feet, he stopped to rest and didnt move again while we were there. A local guy came out when he saw us taking pictures and offered all kinds of useful information about the sloth, like that some people eat them but he doesnt because of all of the bacteria that they carry.
My advice to anyone coming to Costa Rica is, first, always keep your camera handy, second, dont go to bed early just because everyone else does and third, always keep your eyes open.