Tips & Tricks to help you plan your next adventure
To avoid a multiple bus hop including a ridiculous detour back to San Jose we opted to take a direct shuttle from Manuel Antonio to Puerto Jimenez on the Osa peninsula. Apart from our hostel forgetting to book the transfer until an hour after it was due to leave and then my needing to pay a surprise, ridiculous fee for my surfboard to sit by my feet in a two-thirds empty van (which is apparently standard in Costa Rica) the transfer went well and we saved a heap of time.
In Puerto Jimenez we stayed in "Cabinas del Perezoso" or "Cabins of the Sloth" which was run by a super friendly Italian man called Omar. Almost as soon as we arrived on Monday, Omar hooked us up with someone he knew in town who ran reputable and well priced tours and we booked in to go the next day.
That afternoon we headed out for an explore of the tiny town and after a cheap and tasty almuerzo (typical lunch) at a local "Soda" we went looking for animals. In particular; crocodiles. Of course.
After cruising down to the beach on the edge of town, and cutting back in to the road through someone's backyard we finally found the river where the crocodiles could be found. And by having the self titled "World's Greatest Animal Spotter" (Bec) with us, we were lucky enough to see one. And then, lucky enough to see it up close as it left the water and came over to check us out. After a discussion as to handle the approaching croc, we stood our ground as to not encourage it to charge. I don't know why we thought this would work but maybe one of us had been watching too many documentaries of big cats and bears and got their animal families mixed up....
Anyway, the croc wasn't scared by our show of "strength" and kept coming, so we broke ranks and ran. In hindsight this was probably smart as reptilians are probably not smart enough to look at body language and just see"food" and "not food". Around this time the heavens opened in a massive Costa Rican, wet season downpour and we were forced to retreat to the sloth cabins to keep our cameras from getting soaked.
That night Omar was friendly enough to take us around his impressive backyard and find a couple of cute as anything red eyed tree frogs! This was awesome as we'd never seen them up close, and after tending to his garden for a year he's created them great little habitat!
The next morning we were up at 4:30 am to meet our guide and driver at the bakery in town. OK we went to the wrong bakery at first, but after 20 minutes of confusion we were on the way to "Parque Nacional Corcovado" or the Corcovado National Park. On the way there we made several stops and saw several different animal species including a family of Central American Squirrel Monkeys and several Scarlet Macaws.
The day involved about 18 km of walking along beaches and a dirt track - 9 km out and 9 km back along the same path. We saw plenty of wildlife, including all 4 species of Costa Rican monkey, 2 species of bats, poison dart and other native frogs, coatis, a northern tamandua anteater and plenty of amazing bird life. We also saw several sets of fresh jaguar and tapir prints left in the sand from the night before, but alas the animals themselves remained elusive despite having "the world's best animal spotter" in our midst.
The most memorable part of the day was when said anteater was climbing on a branch crossing the path some 3-4 meters up. He wasn't bothered at all about the girls below taking photos of him and proceeded to climb directly over them in search of a tasty ant breakfast. That was until he misjudged and the branch he was on cracked and broke, sending him plummeting out of the tree directly at the girls. They quickly jumped out of the way and the poor fella hit the ground hard. We were all quite worried about his well being after what looked like a pretty serious fall, but after being stunned for a second or two he shook it off and scurried straight back up the nearest tree in search of more ants. Bruised, but luckily not broken.
We headed back to town, and after the early morning with lots of walking everyone was keen for an afternoon nap. We had an early night before another early wake up the next morning for a multiple bus trip up the pacific coast towards the Nicoya Peninsula.
Next stop, Jaco, Montezumas and Santa Teresa.