Tortuguero Travel Blog

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Awake at 06.00 and it rains in san José, temperature is OK, but it is moist. We take everything to the reception, check out and leave one bag at the hotel. We wait a few moments until 06:10 and then we receive a call. It is from Mawamba Lodge to confirm the pick-up time; 15 minutes later then planned, so at 06:30. No problemo, we’ll wait. And indeed at 06:30 sharp a bus stops and we then pass by a few more hotels. Then at the side of the road we pick up 15 more people. They arrived there in a smaller bus of Mawamba.  Through the rainforest and through the rain we drive up and down over the Costa Rican mountains. At a certain moment we drive through a tunnel and he divides the Caribbean and the Pacific slope.

We drive over rivers that really were swirling due to the high volume of water passing by. There is a lot of current on the dark brown water, everywhere along the road waterfalls come down and after a ride of about two hours we arrive at Rio Dante: a small restaurant of the Mawamba Group. Here we have breakfast: fruit with rice and black beans. We stay here only for about 30 minutes. We already see one hummingbird and one big spider: golden orb web spider and the typical trees with bromeliads, real rainforest. Next to the restaurant the Rio Dante floats, is small, but also has a lot of current now. We drive to Guapiles and there we pick up another ten people and from here it is still 30 minutes, what do you think a shaky ride just like three years ago.
We see the plantation of Chiquita, Dole and Delmonte. Everywhere we see blue sacks. Those are the bananas, encased with the sacks, and they do this to have the bananas grow up and to protect the workers against spiders, snakes and scorpions. Everything here at the estate is done manually. A few banana bunches are attached to a bar and one person pulls about 20 bunches over the bar from the plantation to the washing station. Sometimes that bar needs to cross a road and then a lever is put in place and the bananas walk by. Everybody needs to stop for this.  After half a day on the bus we arrive in Caño Blanco and it is still raining, sometimes hard, sometimes a bit softer, but always there is rain. We take the boat with the complete bus (about 50 people), the plastic screens of the boat are closed, and we can’t see anything and it rains. We sit here for two hours, bad seats and after yesterday on the airplane and this morning on the bus and now on the boat; that is just a bit too much. After eventually a natural massage on the bus the last 30 kilometers and a boat ride we arrive at Mawamba Lodge in Tortuguero. We can have an aperitif immediately; not really good, red and very sweet. We have room (bungalow) 32, right at the end, close to the trail ‘Manakin’. We place our stuff in our room, have a quick lunch and then already explore the surroundings. We already spot some birds: blue-black Grassquit, white-collared manakin, blue-gray tanager, palm tanager, flycatchers, snowy egret, cattle egret, great egret, black vulture circling over the treetops, one broad-winged hawk, tanagers and some that I already forgot. A guy from the hotel show us an iguana, we see a small lizard and some orchids. We cannot go to Tortuguero village, because the weather sucks, always rain; it hasn’t stopped for a minute yet. We watch a film about Tortuguero and then get some explanation about bananas and the plantations. That’s nice for Eef, because she works a company working for Chiquita and for Spiers. Then we walk to the beach and want to spot small turtles. The weather is not good for that, plenty of rain and a hard wind. According to our guide Alonso no turtles will hatch, because of the cold, too wet and the sea is too choppy. He gives us some general info and we walk over the black sand. Thanks to another Flemish couple we see one small turtle, but it seems dead or at least almost dead. We put it in the water and hope it will survive. Then we return, because it’s getting dark. Our stories still need to be written, so we do that with three Imperials and together with the other Flemish couple. We rest in our room and can go for dinner at 19:30. The food is almost every time the same, but we don’t mind: vegetables, pasta, rice, beans and we drink a lot of water and a fruity juice with it. We are pretty tired of a day of traveling, sitting on a bus or in a boat. At 20:15 we go to our room, write a bit more and go to bed early. It isn’t even 21 hours. Thanks to the wind, the waves of the sea on the background and the ticking of the rain we sleep quickly. In the darkness we seem to hear a high fiet, the rest is rainforest and pure nature. Pura vida.

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photo by: Paulovic