San Jose and Puerto Viejo
05.11.2013 - 10.11.2012 28 °C
Is there anything cuter than a sloth? C’mon look at this guy…
We met smiley in Puerto Viejo, a very chilled out town on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast. We arrived there after a few nights in the capital, San Jose. Unlike the rest of the country San Jose is low on the wow factor, but it does have some really nice buildings and parks.
— The National Theatre is an icon in San Jose.
— The city's Chinatown is almost complete. Costa Rica has 45,000 people of direct Chinese heritage and Chinese investment here is significant.
— This is a monument to peace in the Plaza de la Cultura. Costa Rica sees itself as a role model for peace, having abolished its army permanently in 1949. How good is that?
Anyway, back on the topic of adorable creatures…Puerto Viejo is home to many. You can get up close and personal to all sorts at the Jaguar Rescue Centre, a sanctuary for injured, mistreated or confiscated animals. After the animals are rehabilitated they are taken back to their natural habitat. The liveliest enclosure was the baby monkeys’, where I got to piggyback a 6-month-old spider monkey.
— As most of the monkeys are orphans, the centre encourages visitors to be hands on to make up for their absent mothers.
Equally as enjoyable was a visit to the baby sloth enclosure. It’s a sad fact many mummy sloths are electrocuted by power lines, leaving their babies with little chance of survival.
— The world's slowest mammal. I found out the reason sloths move so slow is because their main food source (leaves) provides little energy. It's also a way to avoid being eaten by eagles.
— Not a leopard but an ocelot...but you knew that, right?
— Eye lash viper.
— Red-eyed tree frog.
— I didn't know anything about a kinkajou before I met Stanley. He had the most incredibly long tongue which he uses to raid bee hives.
— This Spectacled Owl lost her lover and now suffers from depression...really!
FACT: Costa Rica makes up only .03% of the planet’s surface but has nearly half a million species. That's 4% of the world's biodiversity. Cool huh?
Not far from Puerto Viejo is the spectacular Cauhita National Park. The 10 kilometre walk from one end to the other is easily the most breathtaking nature walk I’ve done. To the left you have pristine beach, to the right you have untouched rainforest and above are monkeys and sloths tangled in the trees. It felt like we had landed in the pages of National Geographic!
— The walk through Cauhita is completely flat.
— A mum and baby Spider monkey. Who is spying on who?
— White-headed Capuchin.
The trail took us about 4 hours, at a leisurely pace. Although Brayden sped the pace up considerably when he interpreted the roar of a howler monkey as a wild pig. “Run Lysh…..RUUUNNNN!” I had the giggles until the next morning.
— Puerto Viejo boasts glorious beaches and rainforest (below).
Overall, Puerto Viejo is everything that sums up this country: rainforests, animals and pristine beaches. What a perfect place to finish our Costa Rican adventure.
Next on the agenda: Panama!