Reserva Tigrillo, Playa de Oro

Playa de Oro Travel Blog

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The days start early around here.  The noise of the jungle gets you up at 6.30. 

Playa de Oro is a village of about 200 people (all black) that overthrew their owner and have since been allowed to keep the land as their own.  To bring money into the area, they have gained money from both the EU and US to release rescued cats into the surrounding jungle and introduce eco-tourism into the area through the small lodge.  The lodge is a further 30 minutes motorised canoe ride up river from Playa de Oro.  At the lodge Dave, I and a British born yank (David) with 4 staff (Julio - boss and boatman, Mauricio - guide and general dogsbody, a cook and a cleaner), we had the whole 25000 acre reserve to ourselves.

At the reserva, we were quickly kitted out with wellies for our treks which start from a path right out of the clearing where the lodge is situated.
  With Mauricio as a guide, we marched for a circular tour of the surrounding jungle with Mauricio hacking away at the overgrown trees on the path with his machete.  The wellies were needed as the trek provided a minor obstacle course through the mud, over fallen trees and diversions up streams.  However the jungle is special, providing great views as the sun tries to reach the ground through the density of the trees.  Unfortunately this meant that there was a distinct lack of animal spottings, never mind cats (although they could well have been there but not seen).  The lack of animals did not detract from the trek and with the humidity, the 2 hours was a good initial jaunt into the jungle.

Post lunch is siesta time and left Dave and I enjoying the hammocks (their very easy to get into, I don´t know what all the fuss is about) and listening to the sounds of the birds.
  With enough time to settle in one place, I even got some washing done in the river.  With dusk came a flurry of bats and an impressive display of fire flies and a deafening cacophony of various insects.

The 2nd day was a scorcher and had reached 80 by 8am.  Julio took us a further 20 minutes upstream in the canoe for another trek.  This time the walk was far more demanding and very hilly.  With the heat and humidity it was hard work but the shade from the trees provided some relief.  Mauricio´s pace was too much for David who decided to hang back and watch for birds, whilst dave and I continued on to a lagoon (more a plunge pool but with a gorgeous 20 foot waterfall flowing into it).  Dave and I had the place to ourselves and after the initial shock of the water temperature enjoyed the rest of the morning in paradise (albeit without the bikini babes !!).
  After returning to the lodge, it was far too hot to do anything other than chill in our hammocks (their hypnotically tiring) and snooze away the heat of the afternoon.  However in late afternoon the weather suddenly changed and we finally got some rain in the rainforest and it pelted it down for an hour.  Staying undercover it was time for some more Spanish study.
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Playa de Oro
photo by: andycox_is_now_in