Tortuguero, Cahuita

The next day we went by bus from San Jose to the National Park Tortuguero located at the Caribbean coast. On the way we visited a banana plantation where the worker use string based transportation systems to carry the banana stalks along the kilometer long ways in the plantation. The banana stalks are protected by blue bag against the birds. Around the banana plantations the well known worldwide companies like DelMonte, Chiquita etc have built exemplary villages with nice homes, schools hospitals and shops for the plantation workers.


For the last piece we took a motor boat and after a ca two hours trip on artificial and natural channels we arrived in Tortuguero. Tortuguero means ‘turtle village’. The beaches around the village are nesting places for the turtles. Instead of harvesting the turles, the people exploit them and the surrounding park in nondestructive yet economically satisfaytory ways. The community takes  pride in ‘its’ turtles and national park. Night visits are allowed in the time frame July to Mid-October. Pachira Lodge, the hotel we stayed, has several wooden houses and is spread in the tropical forest. The howler monkey, the former boss in that area, begun at 5:00 am howling and waked up all the guests!
 

 

After an overnight stay in Pachira Lodge, Tortugero we started next morning at 6 am a wonderful boat trip within the National Park which offers great wildlife and birding opportunities. The park is home to about half the bird and reptile species found in Costa Rica. We saw white-face capuchin and howler monkeys, alligators and a series of birds. Gorgues landscape with the sun reflecting in the water and virtually no noise at all. Unfortunately we were not the only tourists looking for wildlife!

On the way to Cahuita we saw an oil plam plantation. In the last years numerous oil palm plantations have been installed in Costa Rica.


After an amazing motor boat tour through the Tortuguero Park channels we left toward Cahuita.

Our next stop was the Cahuita National Park on the Atlantic shore. It is located on the Caribbean Coast and is quite small compared with othe National Parks in Costa Rica.

However it is one of the most frequently visited national parks in Costa Rica. The reasons are simple: easy access and nearby hotels combined with attractive beaches a coral reef and coastal rainforrest with many tropical species. Right at the entrance it was very interesting to see how a caiman which just had a wonderful meal was closely observed by vultures who hoped to get some rests of the meal. Upon entering the park the visitor sees a 2km long whit-sand beach stretching along a gently curving bay. The main trail goes through the coastal jungle behind the beaches. At times the trail follows the beach; at other times it is 100m or so away from the sand. We were happy that our guide showed us a lot of animals and plants. Without him we wouldn’t have seen virtually nothing.
Our hotel Atlantic Lodge Cahuita was a sort of primitive but the garden was wonderful with lot of exotic plants like Heliconia, and Ethiopian Banana (Germ: Zierbanane) and animals.

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