Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica – 8:30PM MDT Oct 13 During our travel planning, we reached out to a local non-profit, who provides educational assistance, food, and micro loans mainly to indigenous people in Costa Rica. We brought a 50 lbs box of school supplies for the school children. Through this experience we’ve communicated with the owner, Barry and Nancy and finally were going to be meeting them. They live one mile from our hotel. What amazing people they are. We visited for a good hour or longer and discussed:
- The fact that Costa Rica was just recently bumped from 3rd world status to a ‘developing nation.’
- We got to see how, according to the UN, 80% of the world lives.
- We learned about the indigenous cultures within the Bri-Bri culture – where incest, abuse and alcohol and drug addiction is common.
- All men in Puerto Viejo and surrounding towns carry machetes.
- We met the local tow truck guy – he travels by horse and his 2 oxen are the tow truck.
The most amazing part is that our family will return this Saturday to assist in the center with the veggie soup kitchen, help children with homework AND a local 13 year old Bri-Bri boy named Alexandro will take Flash and I on a guided tour high up in the jungle (where there are no roads or vehicle access) to show us where he lives.
After visiting Barry and Nancy we headed out to Punta Uva for some snorkeling. After a quick detour (we missed the turn off and ended up at the ‘end of the road’ near the Panama border’) we plopped our stuff down on the sand and ran out into the crystal clear water. Punta Uva has a nice reef protected by a point – this leads to perfectly calm waters to kick around and get a good look at the local tropical fish. After trolling around on the reef for an hour or two we came back into the beach and hit up the beach front cabana for some Imperial beer and tequila shots. After a quick bite of nachos from the cabana the rains started to roll in and we headed back up the road to Puerto Viejo.
This town is a “small town.” On our way back into town we saw Barry and Nancy hitchhiking on the side of the road. When we were at their house they had mentioned they had done away with their car because they could get anywhere they wanted using buses and hitchhiking. Well, we were about to prove them right as we swung over and picked them up out of the tropical rain and they navigated us over to one of their favorite “sodas.” These small restaurants are cheap local eats and we all enjoyed a lunch of chicken, rice-and-beans, salad and spaghetti (don’t ask.)
After dropping Barry and Nancy at their place we headed back to Banana Azul for a quick nap and some rest, relaxation and reading (and maybe a little beer.)
Monday we again arose early because of the “nature” surrounding us. Roosters and visiting couples’ dogs DO count as nature I keep telling myself. Breakfast is again fruit and cereal. Randy and Vicki are testing out the “hot breakfasts” provided by the hotel – so far they have had a delicious breakfast burrito and a plate of scrambled eggs, toast and rice-and-beans. We were on the road by 8:30, stopping at a super-mega justBB outside of town for some beer, cola, sweets, and tequila.
Today was our day to hike the Cuhuita National Forest so we packed our “survival gear” into our car and headed out back north on the main road. A quick pit stop at the mega-super (we needed beer and tequila in the cooler for after the hike) and we made our way through the sleepy village to the entrance to the park.
The hike was (3.5 km two miles each way) along the beach around a point and promised wildlife. Well, it delivered. We saw crabs, lizards, snakes, killer ants, and monkeys who threw fruit at us. Since we somehow missed the monkeys on our first visit to Costa Rica we were very glad to be able to see them this time. The best way to spot a monkey along the trail was to just walk forward and stop whenever you’re almost hit with small fruit. At that point just look up into the trees and it’s a good chance you’ll see a monkey. Needless to say they were damn cute and they were the highlight of the hike.
Once back at Banana Azul we drug our cooler of beer and tequila out to the beach and proceeded to have our own shot, shooter and body surfing party. There’s something to be said for swigging tequila straight out of the bottle while sitting on a deserted beach in the middle of nowhere. I’m not quite sure what that something is, but I’m sure it’s much more eloquent than “awesome.”
Dinner at a “soda” in town (chicken and rice-and-beans, what a surprise) a beer or two at the local bars and it’s back to the hotel for some R&R and blogging. Tomorrow – I’m not sure what’s in store, we’ll see where the day takes us!