Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Rich Coast

When we got to Costa Rica I expected to see lush rainforests, brightly colored birds, tiny red tree frogs, pristine beaches and soaring mountains.  That wasn't exactly our experience.  Keep reading to find out what we did see.

We docked in Puntarenas where buses were waiting to whisk us off to our "Tropical Forest Aerial Tram" adventure.

Photo of cruise ship dock taken by Ed
As we left, the first thing we saw was the beach area adjacent to the cruise ship dock.  It wasn't the prettiest stretch of beach, and nothing like I'd seen in pictures online.
The area was crowded because there was some sort of street fair going on.  People in tents on the beaches, food vendors, emergency personnel.
Once we got rolling in the bus we drove along the coast just outside the port where we saw more people gathering on the beach.  I didn't love the dark color of the sand, it made the place look dirty.  Then again, this was still right along where the ships come into port, so probably not the cleanest area to begin with.
We passed the entrance to La Roca, a masterplanned golf community that has yet to be completed.  Or even started, I think.  They have big plans though.  Could be a real hit if it ever gets off the ground.  

We crossed the famous Tárcoles River on our way to the rainforest area, which was full of American crocodiles - some say they have the greatest population of crocodiles in the entire world here, with 25 crocodiles per square kilometer - but that's not the only reason you don't want to swim there.

According to Wikipedia, "The river is the most contaminated river in Costa Rica, carrying much of the sewage from the central towns and cities. The river's watershed drains approximately 67% of Costa Rica's untreated organic and industrial waste and is considered the most contaminated river basin in the country."
As we got a little further up the coastal hill, we did have a nice view of the water over the treetops.
Once we got to the location of where we were to take our Aerial Tram Tour of the Rain Forest, we did see a little more greenery.  Lush greenery.  But still no macawss, frogs, or crazy little monkeys.  
We took a guided tour of the compound, all the while listening to the deafening sounds of cicadas, and did see some colorful flowers, funky fruits, and medicinal plants.  
Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior)
We also saw brightly colored poisonous frogs (I didn't get any great pictures), bugs, and snakes.  They were all kept in glass enclosures, but we were able to get a good look at them.  If you see one of these, steer clear.  Their poison is enough to make your heart stop beating.  
Heliconia rostrata
After the nature walk, we boarded the trams for the trip up through the tropical forest.  Each tram car held eight people - strategically placed according to what can only be fatness quotient, to keep the car balanced - and one bilingual guide.  
The ride lasted about an hour and took us high into the rain forest before coming back down to deposit us into the gift shop.  You can't go anywhere that doesn't have a gift shop these days.
Here's one last peek of Costa Rica, taken from the aerial tram on the way back down the mountain.
I'm glad we decided to do this excursion and I think this is a country I would want to go back to.  I'd like to see more of the beaches and I'd really love to see some of the colorful creatures they're known for.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Getting Hosed

2013: River Of Grass
2012: Stupid Rock
2011: Crab Rangoon Makes Me Swoon
2010: Bonnie And Clyde Meet Toni And Frank
2009: Finally…A Bib That Is Both Functional And Accurate
2008: Trickling Down
2007: Anonymously Yours,
2006: Over 7,000 Feet Of Pristine Beauty
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

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