December 2016 – This was one of our favorite, but sadly our final stop, on our cruise. We first took a bus to a tiny marina where we boarded a small boat to view the wildlife in the channels outside Tortuguero National Park. Our boat ride was pretty amazing, but it seemed to end way too soon. The guides were very good about pointing out animals and turning the boat around so that everyone could see them. They also were very patient with people and allowed anyone who wanted a chance to come to the front of the boat to get better pictures of whatever wildlife they were targeting.
After the boat ride we reboarded the bus and rode to a chocolate plantation, where we sampled chocolate and took a walk through the woods. We were given fresh fruit on a couple of different occasions throughout the tour.
After we returned to port, we had a few hours before we sailed out so we decided to explore on our own. We went through the market area in front of the port. We purchased a couple of stuffed sloths there as gifts for our pups (we always bring them souvenirs). The we crossed the road and had a late lunch of rice, beans, and chicken at the restaurant across from the port. The food was great and the service was fast, but the communication gap here was very noticeable (we know very limited Spanish currently).
We wanted to kill some time, so we ventured upstairs to the “shop” that was really just a couple of t-shirts for sale, even though the sign had advertised a full grocery store-like place. Afterwards, we went down the street and into a park. The park was colorfully painted, but the weather made it seem a bit dated and neglected. We crossed the street to watch the waves lap against the rocks awhile and walked around an abandoned building at the water’s edge.
The wildlife in this country was absolutely amazing. We saw sloths, howler monkeys, white faced capuchin monkeys, iguanas, many species of birds, leafcutter ants, and an eyelash viper. This place is a nature-lover’s paradise, and we already have started making plans to return for a longer trip.