Costa Rica 2000


Wednesday, August 9, 2000  -  La Fortuna to Tortuguero

We got up at 5 am to pack, load the bus and eat an early breakfast.  Then we started another 4 hour bus ride.  We were to catch a boat for a 3 hour canal ride to our hotel.  It is very good to spend at least 2 day each place you go, that way it doesn't feel like you have long trips so often.  Anyway, after we were about 2 hours along, there was a traffic jam (in the country).  Elston got on his cell phone and learned there was a strike of banana plantation workers, and it was not known how long we might have to sit and wait.  The banana plantation workers were protesting the use of pesticides that cause sterilization.  So while he was deciding what to do, we made a "happy stop" and also bought some snacks.  They had decided to get 2 small planes, and meet us at an airport nearby.  Most of our group would fly out on the first 2 planes, then one plane would return for Skyler, Asher, Elston and me.  Costa Rica has airports in towns we would consider too small.  Most of their towns outside of Costa Rica are small, and since roads and weather are often bad, flying is a way of life for tourists.

After we watched the first 2 planes take off, we had time to spare.  The boys and I walked outside of the guarded gate to this airport to shop and exchange money, about 1-2 blocks away.  There was someone practicing helicopter take-offs and landings while we where there.  Anyway, the first place we stopped was the bank.  There are armed guards in the banks. We stepped into a glass cube with doors on both sides.  The security man operated the doors, and I'm sure it was some kind of xray or security system.  Once inside, we went to a "caja" cashier.  I wanted to cash a $100 travelers check.  Unfortunately, I started to sign my name on the line to whom you are making the check out to.  I crossed thru my name and signed in the proper place.  They would not take my check.  That was the only one I brought with me, so we went back to where Elston was waiting for the plane.  He said it was true that Costa Rican banks were touchy about traveler's checks, and would not take one with a mistake.  I went back to cash two $100 checks, wanting $100 in dollars, $100 in colones.  I thought the teller understood, but she brought me all colones.  I felt bad because I'd already caused a lot of trouble, but I asked her to correct it.  That took about 10 minutes of redoing the paperwork, but she got it right.  Except she brought me $100 bill, I would have preferred 20's.  I didn't complain.

Then we went across the street to the grocery store to use "el bano" and buy ice cream (Dos Piños brand, vanilla & caramel, strawberry, vanilla, lime, chocolate sundae) and some snacks.  It was good on a hot day.  Since most towns are small, pretty much every store you need is on the same block.  We walked back to the airport to wait for the plane.

Once it arrived, it didn't take long at all (20-30 minutes) to reach Tortuguero.  We arrived on a narrow strip of land, and were ferried across the canal to Tortuguero Lodge at 1:30 pm.  We were greeted at the dock with fresh fruit drinks.  Lunch was ready.

3-toed Sloth in a Cecropia treeYoung woman washing her laundry in a river

3-toed Sloth in a Cecropia tree.  Young woman washing her laundry in a river between La Fortuna and Tortuguero.

Tortuguero Lodge - accessed by boat

Tortuguero Lodge - accessed by boat.  We flew in; the airport is on a strip of land behind us.  There are no locks on the doors to the rooms.  Mainly only tourists and staff who all arrive by boat are here.

Our room at Tortuguero LodgeTortuguero Lodge

Our room at Tortuguero Lodge was large sized and had 3 beds.  Of course, Asher slept with Skyler, like usual.  The curtains hang about  one foot below the top of the window.  That is so you can get a good breeze along with the ceiling fan.  It was pretty warm here, and the sun was very hot and bright out on the boat trips.  Muggy in the jungle.  There were about 8 rooms in each building, and about 5 buildings.  Our group was in this building.  We were on the top floor, and Asher hooked up one of the hammocks.  He really liked hammocks.  This place had an abundance of life that we hadn't seen in other places.  At night there were a variety of frogs and geckos, many on the 2nd floor of our building.  Our first night, we saw huge roaches in our room, and what appeared to be mouse poop in our bed.  Elston didn't believe there were mice there, but he thought it could have been gecko poop.  We did see some non-poisonous snakes here, but it was here that I felt the most caution about finding the fer d'lance snake here.  Luckily, we didn't see one.

Tortuguero LodgePuffer fish

The dock and canal were right in front of the hotel, and Skyler spent his spare time fishing.  This is a blow fish that looks like a regular fish, until you pick it up.  Then it makes this funny puffing noise as it puffs itself up to look huge and fierce.  They deflate in the water before they can swim.  I understand they are poisonous to eat.  Skyler also caught a couple of Blue and Gold Snapper (pargo azul y oro).  The cooks fixed the snapper for him.

For the afternoon, we relaxed by the pool and fished.  Before supper there were hor'doeuvres of taquitas, cooked mushrooms, fried bread, fruit and tarter sauce dip.  After supper we went to bed.  Days that start early, end early.


Patty's Potpourri Page

This page was last updated 8-18-2005

 Contact Patty Delmott

  Emporia State University

(1) (2) (3) (4) (4b) (5) (6) (7) (8) (8b) 8c) (8d) (9) (9b) (10) (10b) 11 (12) (13) (13b) (14)