Our border crossing from Panama was easy -- the official asked for our tourist cards, I said we didn't have any, he stamped our passports. The cards seem to be something you get or don't depending on your arrival, and that's a problem or isn't depending on your border official. From Paso Canoas we got ourselves on a bus to Golfito, a little town on the Pacific Coast and checked into El Tucan, our flophouse for the night. From Golfito we took a lancha to Puerto Jimenez, an hour and a half across the gulf.
Jamie, a battered Canadian septuagenarian met us at the dock. He would not have looked out of place sitting on the sidewalk at 6th and Market but his unpressured approach and plethora of apparently solid information won us over. We followed him to the squeaky clean Corner, past trees full of red macaws, and bunked down.
Puerto Jimenez is on the Peninsula Osa, home of Parque Nacional Corcovado and much jungle. It turned out that access to many parts of the park is limited right now, due to the rainy season and to current restoration work. Instead of the trek we had planned in Corcovado we decided to check out Bolita, an outpost in the rainforest on the border of the park. We had the isolated cabin, kitchen and hammocks to ourselves and spent a day hiking to several waterfalls with toucans and other beautiful birds overhead. We saw a couple of types of frogs, one of them tiny and red with green legs. And we slept under mosquito netting with four small black bats roosting on the beam above us.
From Puerto Jimenez we caught the bus for El Palmar and from there to Dominical, a tranquilo little beach town. We checked into Camping Antorchas where Jorge and Deily run a lovely place just off the beach. It is the end of sea turtle egg-laying season and many local organizations are involved in collecting eggs to hatch in protected areas. We met a woman with 3 slightly malformed baby turtles in a plastic bowl, eating shrimp and fattening up for their release.
We spent a day on the beach and then a day hiking in the rain at the eco-retreat Hacienda Baru. In the park the only big animals we saw were pizotes, white nosed coatis. It is wonderful to see these animals walking up tree trunks and nestling down in the crowns of palm trees. We met one on the road and named him Sandwiches.
We were hoping to see sloths in our rainforest time in Costa Rica and moved on to Quepos to check our Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio a bit further north. We stayed in the Mar y Luna hotel in Quepos and took the short bus ride to M.A. where we were treated to at least 5 sloth sightings. They are lovely and strange to watch climing in the trees, moving verrrrry slowly. We also saw a couple of venemous snakes, the eyelash viper and the fer-de-lance, and squirrel and capuchin monkeys. We have still only heard the howler monkeys.
Costa Rica is rather expensive for Central America and we decided to move quickly up to Nicaragua. We met a nice couple from New York on the bus to San Jose who got us excited about Honduras and Mexico, and from San Jose caught the bus for Los Chiles and a river boat to the Nicaraguan border.
1 day ago