Tuesday, October 16, 2012

April 19--Tortugero

There was no better place to end our adventures than in the "Land of Turtles"--Tortuguero. Set on the Caribbean side of  Costa Rica, Tortuguero is only accessible by boat or plane. Because of extreme travel time, we ended up being in Tortuguero for less than 24 hours which was heartbreaking as it was a true island paradise. 

Known as the Amazon of Central America, Tortuguero National Park is the most important nesting site for endangered sea turtles (Hawksbill, Loggerheads, Green and Leatherbacks) in the western hemisphere. While most people come to Tortuguero at the height of nesting season (July to October), we were hopeful we'd be able to catch a glimpse of the largest sea turtle, the Leatherback, during it's March to May nesting season. It would have been beyond amazing to have seen one, or any turtle for that matter. It wasn't in the cards, so now I have another reason to come back.

Image from http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site6/200
They take the protection of the turtles very seriously. Huge fines await those those who don't follow the rules.

We got picked up from our hotel at 4:45 AM. Yuck! Then loaded onto a bus for a long, long, long bus ride.

Did you know bananas don't grow on trees, but actually grow from the largest flowering plant? Or that the bananas grow out of a banana heart and each bunch can have up to 20 tiers with up to 20 bananas per tier? Plantains on the other hand can only get get about 20 bananas per bunch which is why they tend to be more expensive. Did you know that a single banana bunches can weigh over 100 lbs?  Or that they have a very small window to harvest the bananas (before they get too ripe to export) so they basically work around the clock? And that they've got to be handled with extreme care during transportation so they don't produce ethylene and mature? Or that the life of banana plantation is around 20 years? Or that Costa Rica is the 12th overall producer of bananas with 1.8 million metric tons a year. Well, neither did I until our ride through the plantations. 

We stopped for breakfast at this open air restaurant surrounded by walking trails that were full of poison dart frogs.

Finally, we were loaded onto the boat for the breathtaking 2 hour boat ride. Everywhere we looked there were birds of all colors and sizes.

About 2 in the afternoon we pulled into the Mawamba Lodge. Of all the hotels we stayed at, this one was by far the my favorite--a cannel out of the front door and a private beach and the Caribbean ocean out the back.

Arrival drinks on the deck.

When we booked our trip to Costa Rica, we thought we'd be spending a lot of time relaxing in the sun. So when a beautiful sunny afternoon presented itself we took full advantage of it. 

The town of Tortuguero felt like a world away from the rest of Costa Rica with it's bright colors, reggae music, and party-like atmosphere courtesy of it's major caribbean influence.  

The closets I got to to a turtle. :(

This was the best part of the day. Don't you just want to stay here forever?

I wanted to swim in the Caribbean ocean. But with strong rip tides and frequent shark attacks--no thank you. I was happy to stay with just sticking my toes in the water.

Had to leave my mark on Costa Rica because it left it's mark on me.

My adventures badges (Volcano Lodge, Baldi Hot Springs,  and Horseback riding)

Watching the sunset was bittersweet as I knew that my sunsets in Costa Rica were numbered. 

1 comment:

Rachel Eddington said...

Wow! Those are beautiful pictures. It looks like you had a great time.