All pictures for this report can be found in our photo gallery.
Oh how beautiful is Costa Rica . we think as we cross the border of Nicaragua in relative comfort and see the many green tree-covered mountain slopes. The journey runs along the chain of volcanoes to San Jose and proceeds swiftly. The Cordillera Central is shrouded in clouds.
We stay at the Hemminway Inn in San Jose. A cozy, winding, small hotel – our room even has a four-poster bed and a small conservatory that gives us a view out of the valley. The lights of the mountainsides waft in the twilight. Breakfast is served in the seismologically safe zone of the house, an extremely "calming" experience Feeling. The next day we stroll through the streets and pedestrian zones of the capital city . it rains here frequently and it is noticeably colder (cold for Susan) at 1200m above sea level. An umbrella purchase is announced. Our mail from Germany arrives in time at Wild Riders, a motorcycle and car rental company we already used in 2009 and highly recommend (no stress in case of problems and great service – German company!). Thanks again to Torsten also for the tip to choose Finca Maresia in Corcovado NP).
There is still time for a visit to the largest jade museum of the American continent with a pre-Columbian background, before we leave the next morning by bus in the direction of Corcovado. Many old finds.
The long drive is in the west of Costa Rica, a fruit paradise. We cross countless river courses and then travel along the Pacific coastline in sections. Today we will only get as far as Palmar Norte . A town of passage without much charm.
Dreamlike Drake Bay – Corcovado NP
With the local 8.00 o'clock bus leaves the following morning for Sierpe. The banana belt was once, now of course palm oil plantations are the order of the day. Here we are waiting for the boat trip to Drake Bay at the edge of the national park. Breakfast and reading are the order of the day. Iguanas and giant bugs make you want to see this wildlife. At the pier we already meet Juan, the owner of the Finca Maresia – likeable guy, Spaniard, former lawyer. The trip goes first along the Rio Sierpe to the Pacific Ocean. mangrove area, then following the coastline into Bahia Drake. White ibises and herons. 45 minutes. Everything cool.
In Drake we spend the first night at El Mirador . brilliant view of the bays, clean new wooden cabanas with tent feeling. We are separated on two sides of the hut only with wire mesh from the plant tangle and the underworld. The balcony serves us as a birdwatching platform. We are the only guests. Within a short time we can identify many birds (Rufous Tailed Humingbird (Hummingbird), Yellow headed caracara (Falcon), various Flycatcher and Tanager. Even an agouti comes by on the property. The big red macaws are circling in pairs in the pre-dawn hours. An incredible place. The way back from dinner in the village becomes a bit exhausting in the darkness, overcoming some meters in altitude. Frog songs everywhere. That is why nobody lives here except us. The view is worth it though.
The next day we move to the finca a little bit outside of the city . great location, great accommodation, food – everything really fine. Juan picks us up with his bus. We are the only guests here this evening and Juan is a great host. Three-course meal. There are great soups that he cooks himself. Good conversations about Europe, refugee situation etc.
Here we can expand our list of seen birds, Stripe-throated Hermit (Hummingbird), Blue-crowned Motmot, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Lineated Woodpecker, golden naped Woodpecker, Mealy Parrot, various Tanager . .The macaws pass by here in the morning and in the evening as well. We recognize them now already in larger distance by their loud squawking. The white-breasted capuchin monkeys come directly to the compound and only the dogs prevent them from entering the cabanas and the kitchen in search of food. In the background we hear the howler monkeys and also sight the nocturnal birds, the Nightjar's. Frogs and toad concerts everywhere. Therefore, there should also be many, even very poisonous snakes z.B give the bushmaster. Unfortunately these do not show themselves to us. Juan keeps the grass very short exactly for this reason. In the dark we walk only with flashlights. Every step is taken consciously.
We have carried out the following activities in Drake:
– Private morning birding trip to a river near Finca Maresia with the usual suspects.
– Two dives on Isla Coiba with whitetip reef sharks, different species of rays, octopus, jackfish, moray eels . On the way there we are also surrounded by dolphins. There are more than ten animals, which eagerly start their jumps and we can watch their hustle and bustle for a while. This not unstrenuous day trip has been worthwhile.
– 7 hour hike from Playa Rincon to Drake Bay – beautiful bays and beaches. A quad driver brings us over several river courses to the starting point. Shortly after arriving at the beach, Susan is hit by a big wave that spills into a small river – splishsplash – binoculars gone – everything wet to the skin. 6.30 o'clock – a start of the day according to measure. We wash our pants and shoes in the next clear river to remove at least the salt. But no matter. On this day, we're always kind of wet. A bit air dried, own sweat sticks everywhere and a bit later there is also a proper downpour from above. It is exciting that one is first inwardly completely indignant, but then simply surrenders completely to the circumstances. We also meet Ricardo, a local who rescues turtle nests on his own. He offers us coffee and we learn interesting things about the care of nesting enclosures. A quirky but exciting type.
We also decide for a night tour with Tracy the bug lady. There is a lot of info about frogs, insects and arachnids- recommended tour! We see the tarantula that lives in a cave in the ground. The highly poisonous banana spider is crawling around a bit unusual at a signpost. In burrows of moss areas also spider species live and have hinged doors made of this moss. Tracy can sight and open these. Scorpions have fluorescent properties. Raccoons and a sleeping sloth are the sawed animal prey. It is raining moderately. Perfect for this tour. That pheromones of cockroaches were used in the Vietnam war, that special fungus spores penetrate ants, grow in them and then control them in their behavior, sounded already very outrageous. Research areas are also blood pressure lowering and potency means from poisons of the frog skins. Well then quack.
Conclusion Corcovado area:
The tour to the ranger station Sirena we skip. Tapirs are seen relatively often, capuchin and howler monkeys (also at Finca Maresia), spider monkeys, sloths probably also with high certainty. But we have seen a lot of the wildlife here on our own and the number of visitors there is relatively high. Besides, one needs also time around seen to process.
Crazy wildlife. Even during the body care the binoculars had to be taken again and again to the hand. Showering with a view of a hammering pair of woodpeckers z.B.
The Finca Maresia is located a bit outside, but is absolutely recommendable because of the hilly location, the equipment and the service.
After the great days in Drake we leave for Panama. There are now 18 guests here, including Germans, Swiss and Dutch, almost a bit much for us . However, we enjoy our great hostel for another half day and take it tranquillo. Walking boots still need to dry. A few hours of sun are simply brilliant. The later lancha (boat) to Sierpe starts only at 2:30 pm and the ragpicker bus to Palmar is ready to connect. Since it gets dark early here, we decide to spend the night in Neilly. Border crossings in the dark can be quite stressful. Directly next to the bus station is the Hotel Andrea in whose restaurant also the stomach can be filled immediately. Best.
Good decision to make a stop here – we may also get a little lazier compared to our previous trips?