We’re already starting to feel like long-time residents here in Golfito. Must be the easygoing atmosphere at Land and Sea, the friendliness of our hosts Katie and Tim, or maybe all the canine affection we found in abundance here…
There are five resident dogs and one cat (and you’re just about to meet them), plus the occasional cruising pet passing by… We’re more than happy to get our fill of slobbering love from all these animals.
It has been relatively quiet in the mooring field. A couple of boats we know stopped by for a few days -Rick and Roxanna from Tension Reliever and Katherine and Daragh from Chantey 5. Always good to see friends and catch up!
We spent some time together and even took a group Zip Lining excursion in the neighboring hills – My first and hopefully not my last. Exhilarating!
I say that now, but I have to admit at first I wasn’t too thrilled at the thought of being suspended in the middle of the jungle…
This is the best place for soaring through the rainforest, as the surrounding area boasts the highest tree canopy in all of Central America. It is truly spectacular.
We enjoy the most stunning views of the “Golfo Dulce” Bay and the evergreen rainforest, rendered shimmering from the previous night’s heavy rain.
What a truly glorious experience! Tom of course is as cool as a cucumber… I’m guessing as a former Paratrooper he’s seen enough high jumps in his days, but he’s still giddy with excitement.
It’s a shame my camera batteries died towards the end of our fun experience, or you could have seen a wide, satisfied grin on my face…
As I keep reading and learning all I can about Costa Rica, I find out about another must-see location: the Wilson Botanical Gardens.
It’s about 70 Km away – a two hours car ride thru the mountains to get there. We wisely opt to hire a driver for the day instead of renting a car.
The drive is very entertaining, in no small part thanks to our spirited driver, Fernando; we pass thru the village of Rio Claro and the more developed city of Ciudady Neilly, separated by Oil Palm plantations stretching out as far as the eye can see, while Fernando joyfully fills us with information about our surroundings.
We’re barely 30 Km from the Panama border as we start a very steep, ear-popping climb up the mountains.
The road has been wrangled from the jungle; it’s like driving in and out of a green tunnel! In the clearings we pass a few farms, some coffee plantations, and a thoroughbred horse ranch.
Reaching our destination by 9 in the morning, we realize that we skipped breakfast. That’s not a good way to start the day… So we drive on, about 5 Km down the road to the small town of San Vito .
In the 1950’s many Italian immigrants settled here, attracted by the nature and the climate. As a result, some of the best Italian restaurants in Costa Rica are located in this remote little village at an altitude of 1,002 Meters.
We order pizza for breakfast and nobody even finds that strange… I love this place!
I make it a point to eavesdrop, especially around older people chatting away, because I think I heard some Italian spoken. Tom, much more direct than me, just ask the waitress “Hey, what language do you people speak in this town?”.
As it turns out, they speak a mixture of Italian and Spanish!
After wandering around a little while, we return to the Botanical Garden.
It’s Monday – we seem to have the whole place to ourselves. Great!
I cannot adequately describe the beauty of this paradise, so a gallery of pictures at the end of my ramblings will have to do…
For almost three hours we tour just part of the grounds, following a color-coded trail to avoid getting lost. There are not only native plants here, but also imported species from all over the world – some endangered. All are clearly thriving!
The colors, the smells, the noises, the animals… It’s a wonderful experience. This is a tour I strongly recommend taking. We enjoyed it immensely.
We decide to return to base, having seen enough beauty for one day. Not a minute too soon, it seems, as the skies open up and let go! It’s time for the Daily Deluge, apparently..
I’m glad I don’t have to drive… Luckily the downpour doesn’t last long, the return trip is smooth and we’re safely returned to our boat by mid-afternoon, tired and dazed but ecstatic.
THIS is the Costa Rica I imagined. I’m glad I finally got to see it.
We’ve been here almost three weeks, and to be honest we still don’t feel the need to get going.
So I guess there will be more of Costa Rica tales coming up…