In the mangroves of Parque Nacional de las Baulas

In Playa Grande, a quiet place with small hotels and villas in the forest

From Curubandé we drive two hours to Playa Grande. I knew this place from seven years ago. I had spent a few days with Ernst here. We liked the place, because there are only small hotels and villas that hide in the forest and cannot be seen from the beach.

The Cantarana, where I had been with Ernst seven years ago, had no vacancies. We settle in the El Maglar instead that is under the same management. I like it immediately, with the pool and all the cosy corners for young people… like a basket ball basket, a rope to balance on, hammocks and a pool.


Immediately we dive into the pool… it is so extremely hot and damp here.

Towards the evening, we go to the beach and watch the sun set behind clouds.

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Some surfers jump into the waves and sometimes manage to stand up in them. Seven years ago the sun drowned in the Pacific Ocean, as a red fireball. But these clouds will bring refreshing rain this evening, so much needed after seven months of no rain.

We have dinner in the Cantarana hotel on the terrace. I show Ursula the foto, when Ernst enjoyed a huge breakfast here with fruit.

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But today, we are a bit disappointed. The new cook prepared my fish Mahi-Mahi with a lot of bread around it and the eggplants of Ursula were too raw. The former cook had long hair and tattoos all over his body, and I keep great memories of his meals. I think he is now cooking in an upstyle restaurant.

We sleep well in our two storey room to get up early, as we have booked a boat near the Bula Bula hotel to see the mangroves.


The mangroves in the early morning

Daniel picks us up at seven. We glide through beautiful mangroves in brackwater. When I hold my hand into the water, it feels salty.

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The mangroves like the salty water, and for better breathing, they have cancerous swellings, as Daniel points out.

It is high tide and there are trees that look drowned in the water. During low tide they are free, Daniel says.

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We see howler monkeys right at the start of our tour. Enlarge the black dots… there are two monkeys on this foto.

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We also come across birds: Ibis blanco, Gavilán Cangrejero, Andarrios Maculado, Loros Verdes (noisy), Pico-Cuchara (the beak is spoonlike), Martin Pescador Verde (a green kingfisher) and this bird we do not know the name of.

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We see a cicada in the water. Do they walk on water? No, says Daniel, this cicada is dying; they only live for about a month. I remember that Mauritius in Monteverde had told us, these animals are singing synchronously to confuse the enemy.

We see two crocodiles, I have to look for them for a long time to see them – they look like a branch. Later I see a branch and say, “a crocodile!” “Yes”, says Ursula,”a wood-crocodile” and later we see a “buoy crocodile”. It is really difficult to see them. But beware… no swimming in this river!

Daniel shares an ananas with us. Deliciously sweet!


Afternoon and evening – quiet

We spend the afternoon around the pool and the hotel room and we plan our further tour. For dinner we have fish in the Bula Bula, fresh fish, just grilled and no bread around it. Ernesto serves a Wahoo and tells us proudly that it is his birthday today – 35 years. When going home, we share the road with many, many crabs that have emerged after the rain. Here is one of them.

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