So we got a bit over excited with the the animal sanctuary so we need to go back and fill in the rest of our time in Costa Rica.
The capital of Costa Rica is San Jose. We had to go there to use the airport and the bus terminals. There are about 30 bus terminals and they don’t update the websites to say which buses go from which terminal so it ends up being some sort of duck-duck-goose game of terminal hopping. What if you have to spend a day there? Well, there is a craft beer bar that opens at 6pm. That left us with a day of wandering the streets aimlessly and trying to prolong every experience as long as possible. We actually found a few places to go on our side of town. We loitered at a quite good café for two hours (“can I get some more water please?”), visited some random art gallery/library places and took some park bench photos. We were also writing a smash hit Latin American breakthrough song called “No lo quiero” or “I don’t want it” about how we don’t want the hundreds of offers yelled at us from across the street. Well in Costa Rica’s defense it was not nearly as bad as the heckling in Cuba. At about 5pm we camped outside the bar. Just to add to our misery they opened an hour late. The beers were OK.
Osa Mountain Village
The next day we took a six-hour bus ride to Osa Mountain. It probably would have been more like three hours if the bus driver didn’t stop at every single opportunity. It seemed like the bus drivers thought pattern was roughly: “Oh look thats the eleventh stop sign, a prime number! Let’s have a rest stop! Oh look the there’s a red car, time for a stop! HAMBURGUESAS?! That’s a stop.” However, after leaving San Jose there was not a lot to complain about. The volunteer village that we stayed at while volunteering at the animal sanctuary was awesome. It was permaculture farm/volunteer accommodation village which in the middle of the rainforest. The tents had a bed, WiFi, power and a light so it was more luxurious than most of the hostels we have been staying in recently.
The different crops were scattered all over the place and were arranged in groups that were designed to benefit each other. For example, certain plants that discourage bugs are planted next to bug prone plants. It’s an interesting concept and works well. A lot of the food we ate was grown on site and we were allowed to walk around and pick what we wanted to cook for breakfast and lunch. It was a very chilled out atmosphere and when we weren’t over at the wildlife sanctuary we were mostly working on our neglected hobbies (do video games count as a hobby?). It also had a track which lead to a waterfall with some awesome views.
As it was all a big integrated tourism village there were other places we could visit such as the retirement village/restaurant/bar. There was also a zipline which turned out to be quite fun. It included two upside down abseiling platforms, nine ziplines and a wooden bridge crossing which turned out to be Sean’s worst nightmare. After complaining frantically that he wasn’t warned in advance of the bridge (“this wasn’t part of the deal!”), Sean finally made his way across…with the help of both the guides. Disclaimer: Sean would like to point out that he was not scared for any of the other aspects of the zipline. Even the abseiling off the edge of platforms.
Right at the end they let you swing off a balcony on a giant tarzan rope.
We then headed to the Caribbean coast to visit Cahuita. We had to use the San Jose bus terminal system again, but we made it intact. We stayed at a hostel that had several mango trees that would drop onto the metal roofs of all the buildings and make everyone in the hostel jump out of their skin. Also the shower wiring was all melted and burnt out. All of this could be ignored if not for the lack of hammock clearance for the weight impaired. It simply wasn’t good enough. 2 stars.
We went for a walk and found a cool beach restaurant. We got there an hour before opening time and Athena had the idea of cracking a coconut to save on lunch costs. After banging coconuts at rocks like monkeys for a while the restaurant finally opened.
Sign on the bus: “For your security please keep the aisle clear of objects (luggage, shopping, surf boards, bags, bananas etc)”.
Visiting the sloth sanctuary was half of our reason for coming to Costa Rica in the first place and we were pretty excited to finally meet some real life sloths after a pretty serious Youtube sloth obsession.
Baby sloths don’t like being put on hard surfaces and prefer clinging to stuffed toys.
These two slooowly made their way over to their breakfast table but didn’t quite have to energy to roll over before eating it. Just to clear a few misconceptions, sloths can actually reach the jogging/fast walking pace of humans if they really want to. They usually move slowly as a defence mechanism so that they don’t attract the attention of predators.
This sloth was brought to the sanctuary after he and his mother were electrocuted after getting too close to a powerline. He had to have an arm amputated but seems to be living it up at the sanctuary.
This is Buttercup the sanctuary’s flagship sloth and the first sloth that they rescued over 20 years ago. She seems content to sit in her wicker chair day after day slowly rotating side to side. She rose to fame with the “deal with it” meme which we all know and love (well not all of us).
We then headed down the coast to Puerto Viejo where we stayed at a brewery/hostel with an excellent sloth mural on the wall.
This town also had a wildlife sanctuary called the Jaguar Rescue Centre but it didn’t have any jaguars. They did have sloths, toucans, deer, owls, anteaters, crocodiles, monkeys, an ocelot and many others. They had to teach their sloths that had grown up in captivity how to act in the wild by lifting them back up into the trees when they tried to sleep on the ground.
We went for a bike ride down the coast and found some beaches and toucans.
Costa Rican money looks a bit like toy money as its brightly coloured and has a different animal on each note.
After having to pass through San Jose yet again we were on our way to our next stop of Nicaragua.