Coconut palms, white sandy beaches, turquoise sea, reggae atmosphere, Welcome to the Caribbean.

No category - 27/04/2021

We were eager to explore the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.
The bus went down from the mountainous plateaus, direction: Limon.
The landscapes are grandiose.
The air is getting more and more humid and the heat is increasing.
Oh, how I love the smell of the tropics!

First stop, the Cahuita Park.
It was created to protect this superb coral reef that surrounds the Punta, considered the most important in the country.
This giant multicoloured aquarium is home to a multitude of fish species including the magnificent blue parrots, octopus, barracudas, angelfish, sharks, eels but also the famous lobsters, white shrimps, not forgetting the green sea turtle which comes to lay its eggs on these beaches.

After an hour's walk, we decide to pitch our tent on the sand facing the sea. We thought we were alone in the world but small crabs come to visit us. And a little later, coatis also come in search for food.

The moonrise, almost round on the calm and peaceful sea, it is our show of the moment. In the distance a small fisherman's boat comes in. It's just beautiful!
Feet in the water…that's our idea of happiness…
In the morning, we are woken up by howler monkeys.
For a first time, it's quite impressive!

A path crosses the reserve and we take it to discover the luxuriant tropical forest around us.

We see sloths, toucans, a few iguanas and hummingbirds. I am amazed.
Back at the camp, I enjoy a little nap in the hammock, between 2 palm trees, it's hot!

We spend the rest of the afternoon in the water, admiring the coral reef and its inhabitants, just a few meters from the beach.
Then we continue the road to Puerto Viejo.
This small fishing village is known for its mix of Afro-Caribbean, Latin, and indigenous cultures, its "Laid back" and bohemian side, but also its surfing beaches.
Many expatriates come to settle here, seduced by the relaxed lifestyle in a postcard setting.

I discover a local cuisine based on coconut and seafood in the small farmers' market.
The many artists bring colour to the small craft shops where even the houses are coloured.

There are many cafés and restaurants here, all vying to offer new flavours to the palate. Not forgetting the fresh fruit juice bars where vegetarian cuisine is in the spotlight.
The nightlife is very lively, with tapas bars such as the "koki beach" in front of the beach offering small live concerts by local groups to the rhythms of calypso and reggae.
After a few days of relaxing and meeting people, I feel the need to go back to nature.

The Gandoca-Manzanillo National Park offers sandy beaches dotted with rocky formations rising from the water.
The park protects the manati (elephant seal that you just want to cuddle), sea turtles, dolphins, crocodiles in the mangrove area which is the most developed in the Caribbean.
Its primary tropical forest is home to a wide variety of endemic endangered species such as numerous reptiles, and brightly coloured but poisonous frogs.
The Manzanillo trail runs through the park to Punta Mona beach, where dolphins can often be seen swimming.
The path is muddy and full of holes but the sight of the lush jungle encourages us to continue. We see toucans flying away, but also monkeys (capuchin and spider) swinging from branch to branch above our heads.

The magic of Costa Rica is to see all these animals happy, free in their habitat!
We arrive in front of the entrance to a farm lined with heliconias or parrot beaks. The Ména family is busy outside. We exchange a few words, smiles, and soon we find ourselves having coffee together.
Perhaps because there are few visitors here, this family of peasants is so welcoming and tells us about their history, their life punctuated by this wild nature. We let the time go by!
In the end, we stay and sleep on the terrace of their wooden house, mounted on stilts, protected by our mosquito net. It's the ideal place to enjoy the jungle around us.
The next day, we go snorkeling towards the coral reef. I observe tropical fishes of all colours, anemones, sea sponges…but no sharks that day.

For lunch we will grill freshly caught scampi from our new friend. A few days later we will share a typical meal with the family, with the famous crabs so delicious.
We will stay more than a week with the Ména family, sharing their daily life. We take the time to immerse ourselves in this wild nature.
We fell in love with the area and with these people so passionate and simple.
I will leave with a heavy heart and the desire to come back soon, very soon…
Pura vida …. Pura felicidad !