When I last spoke about my Costa Rican honeymoon, we were preparing to leave Alajuela (in the Central Valley) and travel 4-5 hours to Cahuita, a quiet little town on the Caribbean coast. Like last time, I’ve created photo galleries so that if you hover over a picture its caption should pop up, and if you click on a picture it will take you to a large-sized version of the photo. Onwards!
Our entire first day consisted of travel, more or less. It was fascinating to watch the landscape change from mountainous and crowded to more pastoral and full of pineapple, palm, and banana plantations. We stopped at the Del Monte processing facility on our way. The workday was over so there wasn’t too much to see, but it was interesting anyway. When we finally arrived at Coral Hill Bungalows, we were thrilled. The owners were incredibly friendly and helpful, the bungalow itself was gorgeous, and it had a lovely front porch. And the fresh fruit and pastry breakfasts were delightful, I had the best croissants of my life there. I highly recommend this location if you’re planning to travel to Cahuita! We were happy that the longest stretch of our trip (4 days) was spent there. Just be sure you go to the correct Playa Negra when you’re looking for it, our driver went to the one in Puerto Viejo accidentally at first! Our first full day in Cahuita happened to be the Fiasco’s birthday, so we headed to the bus station to visit a very special place.
You know this is the only part of this post that anyone will care about: SLOTHS! We visited the Sloth Sanctuary because the man wanted to see sloths on his birthday, and see sloths we did. Apparently Buttercup has her own TV show and is kind of a big deal. Part of the tour involved a canoe ride down the river (for which the torrential rain stopped and the sun came out just in time) where we saw an abundance of wildlife: bats, lizards, birds, and of course, some rehabilitated sloths. There are two species of sloths in Costa Rica: the two-fingered sloth and the three-fingered sloth. Surprisingly little is known about their reproductive habits, for one of them we have no idea how long gestation is and cannot tell when a sloth is pregnant until a wee little sloth pops out one day. As a biologist, I find it fascinating how little is still known about basic life history of some species. (Which makes me particularly worried about the rate of extinction, the idea of losing things we have yet to discover or understand is extra horrible.) And then there were baby sloths, which are just about the cutest things ever.
We made friends with a neighborhood dog, whom we dubbed Sweetheart. He accompanied us on our walks every single time we left our bungalow, I don’t know how he found us! On our second day, we decided to make the most of the one truly sunny day of our trip and visit the Cahuita National Park for a short hike and a swim. This park is an absolute must-visit. The beginning of the trail is easy to hike, mostly a wide, flat sandy stretch. There is wildlife everywhere (more on that later) and easy access to long stretches of unoccupied beaches. At a couple points along the trail you need to wade through a shallow river, and eventually we had to stop hiking because the trails were essentially 4″ deep in mud (yay, rainy season) and one of us had a little hissy fit about that (not naming names). But it all worked out for the best, since we spent an enjoyable afternoon rolling around in the bathwater-warm waves. As a native Long Islander, the concept of warm water at the beach is completely foreign to me! It was beautiful, though. Leafcutter ants, by the by, are some of the coolest insects ever. They actually practice agriculture! They cut leaves, carry them back to their nests, and use them as a culture to grow a very specific type of fungus that they eat for food. Seriously guys, biology is fascinating.
That’s all I have time for today, but I’ll finish summing up our time in Cahuita in the next post! What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or learned about in nature? Has anything else been inspiring you lately? Share with us!
Oh my goodness – that one sloth sticking out its little tongue! You’re right, after seeing sloth pictures, well, they kind of grab our attention and outshine everything else!
I know, they’re just too adorable!
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