Day Two: Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo Travel Blog

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Early morning horses... no idea where they came from or where they went, but pretty cool.

Day two started out bright and early.  Made my morning trek into a deserted Puerto Viejo (everyone else is still asleep from the partying the night before) planning on breakfast prior to my morning snorkel trip with Reef Runners.  Our group was meeting at 8:30am - - being up and out by 7 meant I had plenty of time for breakfast and a couple of cups of (yummy!) coffee. 

Surprises started with a couple of horses grazing in a ocean-front field next to the dive center and the bus station.  Not sure where they came from, or where they go during the day, but it was not a bad way to start your morning.  Luckily, in the same building as the dive center is Soda Louisa - - and they open at 6am!  No one here spoke any English, so ordering was a challenge.

The English sign - - not a sign that English was spoken here. Note to self: learn a little Spanish next time!
  As a last resort, I led the woman outside of the shop and pointed at HER sign that said "Breakfast" in English - - but it meant nothing.  Once she took out the menu I was able to point to what I wanted and all went well.  Fruit juice is big here - all types of fresh fruit juice - - mixed in a blend with either water or milk.  I chose water because I knew how to say "agua" - - and it was great.  Good food, good coffee, great view.

The rest of the dive group started to show up around 8:30am as I was downing my 2nd cup of coffee and considering a third.  Staff started to load the boat and attach the boat motor to "The Reefer" and load up our lunch.  We stored our stuff in the diver cente and were asked to leave most everything behind.  I took my waterproof pouch (a lifesaver during my dive trip) - - loaded with sunscreen and my camera, my tiny costa rican bikini and a straw hat and that was it.

My breakfast and view from Soda Luisa. The reef starts right off the shore, right in front.
  I met the other members of my snorkel group and the guide.  All wonderful people and it turns out the guide used to live in Orlando, so we chatted about home a bit.  Soon enough they finished putting the boat together and we were off. 

The snorkel trip included all my gear, plus the boat trip to the snorkel sight, plus a guide, plus lunch for $35.  A bargain if I ever got one.  The boat trip was a short one, but beautiful and within 15 minutes we were pulling into our own near-private beach in Punta Uva.  We were dropped off and then the boat and the divers took off for the diver sight.  We snorkeled for an hour or two and then met the boat back on shore for lunch.

The Reefer coming ashore
  Lunch was simple:  bananas and sandwhiches; but it tased great and hit the spot.  I MADE A COLLASAL ERROR HERE BY NOT THOROUGHLY REAPPLYING MY SUNSCREEN DURING LUNCH.  Call it a "snorkel-high"; but I was happy as a clam and unaware of the sunburn creeping up on me.  I put a little on my face and shoulders, but that was about it - - big mistake.

As for snorkeling, it was a perfect day.  The ocean was like glass and Angel (our guide) said it was the best day for snorkeling he had seen in months.  Punta Uva has a non-stop pristine reef system that starts a few feet off the shore and goes for as far as the eye can see.  We see lots of fish, coral and even a couple of squid.  Absolutely gorgeous.  We basically had the beach to ourselves as far as we could see with the exception of a couple of local guys playing soccer on the beach.

The snorkel crew, hangin out during lunch.

The downside?  The sun, as I said, take precautions.  The jellyfish, one of the ladies on the trip was stung 3 times before lunch.  The chum - - what do I mean by this?  The boats that come into the area churn up the water and cut the jellyfish and "sea wasps" into microscopic bits that sting when you swim through them.  It doesn't result in any welts, but it is annoying and hurts a little bit.  The guys didn't seem bothered by it, but the other girl and I did.  As long as we stayed out of the chummed up areas we were fine, but be aware.  Were I to go again, I would probably rent a wet suit - - both for protection from the sun and the chum.  Of course, a wet suit won't protect ALL of you from these things; but I think it would go a long way to minimize the annoyance.

The langostine. I regret not giving him the butter bath he so deserved!

After a couple of hours of snorkeling after lunch the boat picked us up and we headed back to town.  At this point I was aware of my sunburn and pretty focused on getting back to my room, showering and assessing the extent of the damage.  I stopped by the Jungle internet cafe to check emails and post on facebook.  This place was great, air-conditioned and the computers were all modern and fast.  You pay for your internet service by the minute and I was able to buy a 30 minute block that was perfect for the time I was there.

After a quick shower I met one of the guys from the dive group at CariBeans.  I had gone on-and-on about the chocolate shake and he wanted to try one.

My sloth dinner companion. How cute is she???
  Afterwards, he was kind enough to escort me to the ATM machine so I could withdraw money for my taxi ride back to San Jose.  A stroll through town looking for a good resturant to try resulted in a lesson from a local chef about Langostines - - the clawless cousin of the lobster that are found in these waters.  Pretty cool.  I fully intended to come back to eat that fiesty little guy later that night, but appetizers and mojitos at Kiko Beach filled me up.  Lucky langostine!

Had my first taste of ceviche that night and it was very good.  Right in the middle of dinner a baby sloth climbed up out of the deck, right behind my chair, on her way back up the tree.  Certainly a highlight of the whole trip.  She was surprisingly fast getting back up the tree - - but i guess she was camera shy. 

As I closed out my final day in Puerto Viejo, I could look back on two days of life-enhancing experiences, kind people and fantastic food.  I would love to go back and visit again... for more of all the things I experienced while I was there....but mostly for the chocolate shakes!!!

Stigen says:
You\ re so lucky to see a baby sloth like that ! I spent 5 weeks in Costa rica looking for sloth almost without luck ...after 3 hours of searching every tree of the Puerto viejo rainforrest I found one 50 meters up one of the trees..
Posted on: Oct 31, 2009
Stigen says:
very nicely written !
Posted on: Oct 31, 2009
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Early morning horses... no idea wh…
Early morning horses... no idea w…
The English sign - - not a sign th…
The English sign - - not a sign t…
My breakfast and view from Soda Lu…
My breakfast and view from Soda L…
The Reefer coming ashore
The Reefer coming ashore
The snorkel crew, hangin out durin…
The snorkel crew, hangin out duri…
The langostine.  I regret not givi…
The langostine. I regret not giv…
My sloth dinner companion.  How cu…
My sloth dinner companion. How c…