Caribbean Coast

Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is much shorter than its Pacific Coast. There are no roads in the Northern part (which is why we’d had to take a boat to get to Tortuguero), leaving even less coastline to explore by car. We spent five nights further South on the coast, three at Cahuita and two at Puerto Viejo.

Visiting a sloth sanctuary was a highlight. We got a good talk all about sloths and got to see some of the adult and baby sloths that for various reasons (often physical injuries, either from electrocution by power lines or falling out of trees) will never be able to be released (by law, the sanctuary is not allowed to show visitors any animals that they hope to release back to the wild, in order to minimise their contact with humans).

The sloth sanctuary visit also included a bit of a boat tour:

From Cahuita, we did a snorkelling trip, Mark’s second attempt at snorkelling. Quite unusually for such trips, we were actually provided with very good gear (mask and fins). The water was nice and clear, and we saw some good brain coral, quite a few types of colourful fish and sea urchins. Quite a lot of the coral in one of the two spots we snorkelled at was dead, though, and apparently the locals do have an annual competition for who can kill the greatest number of lionfish…. all very sad….  (Clarification – I meant very sad about the damage to the reefs,  not killing the lionfish! Obvious to me but apparently not to those reading….. will try to do better!)

Another day, we went into Cahuita National Park. It was very different to what we’d been used to at other Costa Rican National Parks in that there was no fixed $15 entrance fee for foreigners. It was all very laid back – just give a donation. We saw some very naughty white-faced capuchin monkeys (who despite the signs had quite clearly been fed regularly as they hung around above the picnic benches and descended at great speed the moment I got a biscuit out… needless to say they got nowt), a baby sloth in a tree, and a young raccoon…

Further down the coast at Puerto Viejo we stayed in a really nice little cabin converted from a shipping container.. highly ingenious! We went to Manzanillo wildlife refuge, which had a short path you could wander. We didn’t see much wildlife, but I guess that’s the difference between a National Park and a National Wildlife Refuge…

From here we head back inland, so unfortunately our trip is now over in terms of beaches  😦