Day 37-38: Getting in touch with tropical wildlife

Cahuita National Park

Another 10 hours roadtime to the bill. Bussing in Costa Rica comes at higher levels of comfort compared to Guate or Nica – the buses are newer, bigger, less packed, and the roads tend to be paved. Lack of A/C meant we still have to deal with the stuffy heat but the journey was pretty easy nonetheless. I think we’re getting used to bussing around now and 10 hours is a “short ride”!

Deciding last minute not to stay at Puerto Viejo (de Talamanca) to avoid tourist overcrowding, we pulled into Cahuita instead. It’s a small village by the Caribbean coast with a dominant Afro-Carib population that made us feel we were out of Costa Rica. There’s really nothing much here besides visiting the neighbouring national park for a chance of spotting tropical wildlife (why we came), but the slow going atmosphere had a contagious quality that beckoned us to just let it hang. There’s definitely something about swinging reggae and spicy coconut seafood…!

We hiked into Cahuita National Park this morning and came terrifyingly close to a series of deep angry roars that echoed through the jungle. I recognized the sounds, they were howler monkeys, we had heard them before at Tikal but didn’t have the opportunity to come face to face with these animals. There must have been 4 or 5 of them hiding behind the thick vegetation right in front of us but we dared not venture in… afterall, there were only 2 of us.

In the afternoon, under the trained vision of a local guide, we spotted these creatures swinging from tree to tree. They were much smaller than we had thought – one would never imagine they could make such beastly howls. We also got to see Toucans – those funky birds with tutti frutti beaks that lived in my childhood memories. Wow, a real Toucan, in real life, not just on a box of Froot Loops!

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6 Comments

  1. ace says:

    love the froot loops comparison!

  2. Leslie says:

    Froot Loops… they always taste good mon.. the flavours of orange and lemon!

  3. Under the radar says:

    hi guys…LOVE your blog, we are thinking of spending new year in Cahuita instead of Talamanca, any accom. suggestions?

  4. 山 him says:

    hey under the radar! There are a bunch of options along the main strip. We stayed at Hotel Safari, owner is really nice. There really isn't much to do in Cahuita so I;m not sure how we ended up staying 2 nights there. Probably more action in Talamanca, but again may be too crowded with the backpacker scene.

  5. Sevananda says:

    Hello from New York,
    My buddy Vasko and I are planning an independent bussing tour from Guatemala to San Jose, CR. We are both on a very tight budget and I we would be ever grateful if you could share with us a few tips that might save us time and money and unnecessary mishaps and hardship.

    Here is our basic plan:
    31 Aug 2012 Depart NY to Guatemala
    31 Aug 2012 Arrive Guatemala and stay until 14th September (we have plenty friends there, that’s why the long haul).
    14-16 Sep San Salvador, El Salvador – 2 nights
    16-20 Sep Honduras (Still working on the agenda there) -4 nights
    20-21 Sep Managua, Nicaragua – 1 night
    21-23 Sep Granada, Nicaragua – 2 nights
    23-24 Sep Rivas, Nicaragua – 1 night
    24-26 Sep Omepete, Nicaragua – 2 nights
    26-27 Sep Rivas – 1 night
    27-28 Sep Liberia, Costa Rica – 1 night
    28-30 Sep Monteverde, CR – 2 nights
    30 Sep-01 Oct San Jose, CR – 1 night
    01 Oct Fly back to NY

    Your comments and recommendations are warmly welcomed. I’m interested to know how you got from Liberia to Monteverde.

    Very gratefully yours,
    Sevananda Jose Padilla (and Vasko)

    • 山 him says:

      Hey guys, I don’t think there’s much in Managua and Rivas, so but you may want to throw in a couple days in Leon where you can try out volcano boarding. Liberia is also nothing much, but we stayed there overnight to catch an onward morning bus to Monteverde. If you could get to Monteverde in a day from Nicaragua, it’s probably not worth staying at Liberia… Have fun!!

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