It is weekend. No school, no studying. We have booked Jorge again, the good soul and driver of the Don Quijote school that shows the students around the area. Our program for today: The cable car in the rain forest and a boat ride on the Sarapiquí river.
Flying through the rain forest – a little “touristy”, but… impressive
We head east leaving the Central Valley with San José on the motorway to Guapiles and Puerto Limon that goes through rain forest. We stop at this private park.
It offers cable car rides through the rain forest. We fly along quietly, first on the middle level of the trees and then along the crowns of them. For about an hour.
It is a primary rain forest with the highest trees reaching up to 60m. On the trees an abundance of epiphytes. While riding, we do not see any animals – we just hear the noise of the cicadas and of some iygüirros (thrush, Drossel), the national bird of Costa Rica. The guide that came with us says, it is normal that during the day you just hear the rain forest. They have cameras that filmed even tapirs in the night. The weather is beautiful, and he regrets that there is no rain today – rain belongs to a rain forest… well, no rain is okay for us.
After the ride we go for a short walk. The park has prepared gardens with frogs, snakes, butterflies and orchids. Then we see a sloth high, high up in the crown of a tree. We can just distinguish his furry back. My binoculars serve me well, the ones that Ernst gave to me as a present after our journey to Costa Rica six years ago.
“Gliding” along the Sarapiquí river – our first howler (congo) monkeys
Soon we are leaving the dense rain forest and reach the intersection Guapiles/Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. We drive north along plantations of pineapples and palm oil to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. It is here where my family started their plantation business in Costa Rica – the brother of my grand-father had banana plantations . Until end 19th century it was the most important port in Costa Rica, but it lost its importance, when Puerto Limon emerged along with the train from San José to Puerto Limon.
After a great lunch in restaurant “Soda mi Linda” (Jorge’s favorite place), we hire a private boat just for our small group of five.
On this warm and sunny Saturday, many families are swimming in the river. Jorge says that they are mostly Nicaraguans working in the banana fields. We chuck along, changing sides, peeping into the trees and into the water.
There they are, high high up in the top of the tree, howling and jumping from branch to branch: Holwer monkeys (congos, Brüllaffen). Swallows (golondrinas, Schwalben) are following our boat. Egrets (garzas or garzetas, Reiher) sit on the dead wood along the shore and one of them has just caught a fish. Two alligators (caimanes) are dozing in the water – they are perfectly camuflaged, I would have never seen them withouth the boat driver showing them to us. A cormoran is drying his wings (anhinga). We enjoy our first wildlife experience in Costa Rica.
Drummers? – No, this is not Semana Santa, this is the Campaña Nacional de Costa Rica
In the mid nineties, William Walker privately tried to establish a colony in central America. Costa Rica fought against him in a series of battles from 1856 and 1857. The main battle was on April 11th and will be celebrated on Monday. But there were more battles, one of then on April 10th in Sarapiquí (Battle of Sardinal). And this is why we are now stopped by a parade of drummers and standard bearers, all dressed in blue and white. The war ended on May 1st and counts as the foundation of the nation of Costa Rica.
Back to the Central Valley, for sea level to 1100m
With this coquito tree we sa good bye to the low lands and return back to the Central Valley and Santo Domingo.
Thank you, Jorge, for another great experience in Costa Rica.