Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pura Vida! To Tortuguero National Park!

Early the next morning we were picked up in a van and started our journey to Tortuguero National Park. We were dropped off at the Exploradores Outdoors headquarters where breakfast was provided.  It was absolutely delicious! I love fresh papaya in the morning :)


Most people were going rafting (which will be on the next trip).  Rebecca and I were the only ones going to Tortuguero, which was fine by me!  Ramon was our driver and he drove us to the boat docks.  On the way we passed by the Chiquita and Del Monte plantations.  We stopped at the Del Monte boxing plant.  The bananas are harvested by hand and this guy puts them up on a pulling rack, attaches the load to his waist and walks to the boxing plant. The bananas are green.  It takes another 30 days for them to ripen, so I couldn't steal one to eat. It was all very cool.
I love bananas!

After the really bumpy road we stopped at a Botanical garden.  It turned out to just be a guy's house.  He showed us around and gave us some really good information about the plants - lots of ginger.  We found a poisonous dart frog, which he let me hold. He had to confuse it first (this comes in handy later that night).  It stayed really still on my hand - long enough for a picture.  I also got to hold a turtle.  The guy had a great eye and found this orange, male iguana up in a tree that was a good 50meters away and probably 20meters into a tree. His garden had ylang ylang which is used to make Chanel No.5.  I wanted to rub it all over my body but I felt that might be a little, I didn't want all the bug bites.

The cocoa plant (it was delicious!)

Poisonous dart frog! 

We were dropped off at the boat dock where we met our guide, Ivan, and el capitan, Jose. We had an hour and a half boat ride before reaching our bungalow. We found a caiman, American crocodile, and lots of birds.  I already expressed my interest in finding a sloth - I love the slothy. My goal for Costa Rica was to find Mr. Sloth. Jose and Ivan let us ride on the very front of the boat.  It was amazing! Wind in my hair, sun beating down on my face - heaven.

Getting some sun! Wind in my hair!

Caiman in the wild! It's all WILD!

We arrived at the bungalow and we were greeted with a mixed fruit drink and lunch.  After settling in...right next to a taranchula hole...we headed to Tortuguero village.  The Village separates the canal from the Caribbean coast. We saw old sea turtle nests and walked along the beach.  There was about a 2 foot ledge of sand.  I was admiring the ocean, standing on the edge, and the sand gave way underneath me.  Rebecca totally laughed her ass off.  I had a good laugh too!

Caribbean coast :) No one was surfing but I definitely wanted to go into the water!

We headed to the village to walk around.  It's mainly souvenir shops and some locals.  We stopped to get a coconut from the crazy coconut man.  His nickname is Shakira.  He used to have long blonde hair and would walk around saying - Hola, I'm Shakira.  haha...he lost the blonde hair but is still crazy.

Drinking coconut water in front of a very colorful house.  I loved all the colors of the houses!

Went back to the Crazy Coconut man to have him split the coconut in half so I could eat the coconut meat :) PS. don't you love my Seaworlds hat? I felt it was super appropriate!  Everyone also got a kick out of the bunny love t-shirt. 

Lovely sunset

After sunset, which was gorgeous, we went back to eat and settle in before another early morning.  It was pretty humid and hot the whole time, so it was nice to take a shower with some warm water. While Rebecca was in the shower, I noticed a crazy huge grasshopper.  The grasshopper was as big as my hand.  If you know me, then you know I have massive hands.  It was probably 12 inches including antennas. We had to devise a plan to get the grasshopper out of the room because I really didn't want to eat it while sleeping...since it was near my bed.

The plan: Take the trashcan, trap the grasshopper, cover the opening with a towel and drop it off outside.  

I went in for the trap and covered the grasshopper with the trashcan.  It started moving like crazy.  The antenna and legs were reaching for any opening on the trash can.  I had to let it settle down so Rebecca could put the towel over the opening.  Unfortunately, the grasshopper wouldn't stop moving.  I used the confusion technique (same as the frog) to try to get it to calm down. By this time, I think we had woken everyone up since the roof only had a mosquito net.  We were screaming a little, laughing a little, etc.  Ivan came by and asked if we needed help.  He came in and was really laughing at us, not with us.  He made it look so simple.  He just lifted the trashcan and the grasshopper stayed inside.  Here is a youtube video: Giant Grasshopper

It was huge! This does not do it justice. Don't laugh (OK you can laugh a little) but I'm pretty sure most of you (both guys and ladies) would have screamed just a little or you would have peed in your pants, just a little. 

The adrenaline was rushing after the grasshopper incident of 2011, and we couldn't sleep for a while. We thought we could be the next youtube sensation! LOL.  Also we could hear the music from the village (which was across the water from us).  There must have been a real party over there!

It was a great night!

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