One of the reasons we are in the south of Costa Rica is to go whale watching. We have subscribed to do the tour on Tuesday, but after waking up I realize that being in the mountains the previous day and not taking any precautions have got me minor sunstroke. Suddenly prospects of spending 4 hours on a swinging boat do not seem appealing. We postpone the tour to the next day and decide to adapt our plans.
As the entrance ticket to Marino Ballena National Park has already been paid, we decide to explore it. When we sit at the table to take some rest (or rather when I need to rest) Ben is approached by a TV journalist and asked if he could give an interview to what he agrees (and somehow he managed to persuade me to answer 1 question). We have never seen the interview afterwards (I can’t find the NR6 TV channel and their programme) but then again – do we really miss seeing make ourselves a laughing stock on the TV in a broken Spanish? Maybe not 🙂
After going to the pharmacy and repairing the tyre we are ready to check in into our Zen hotel Oxygen Jungle villas. I chose the place as soon as I saw their website. Their concept is clear and appealing. Built with materials brought from Indonesia (and clearly an architectural influence as well) there are 12 minimalistic and modern villas with their own patio, most of them having a view to the ocean. The common part has an infinity pool overlooking the jungle and ocean, and restaurant area. Service is immaculate and attentive (ok, that you can’t judge from their website, but 98% positive reviews on Tripadvisor made me think that would be the case).
We have reserved places for a 4 course dinner (29USD per person) and we couldn’t have been happier about that choice. Being outside on the top of the mountain (on the altitude that is above mosquitoes but below the clouds to be able to enjoy the views) , having a clear night sky with stars and great quality food, all we can say to ourselves is: “life is good, life is good!”
We have booked our tour with “Delphine tours” which is as good as any other whale tour providers, I suppose. Prices amongst them vary from 65USD to 100USD per person. There are 2 boats leaving at the same time from the company and they are booked by a big group of Costa Ricans. In advance I can say that they tend to get very loud and they like to speak (or shout?) a lot 🙂
The tour in total took us 4 hours and we were lucky enough to see turtles up close, a lot of birds, including pelicans and brown boobies, as well as part of a whale. Not like really close though or the whale doing any tricks. But better than seeing nothing, which happened the day before 🙂
We were lucky enough to have a great guide that spoke good English and was marine biologist by education (if you are there, ask for the tour where Mauricio is the guide) so he could explain the behaviour of animals. This is how we found out that whales from warm waters and cold waters meet here, in Costa Rica, they mate and then they part their ways to return in 9 month to give birth to the little one.. Cute 🙂
Also from the tour you can expect snorkelling, swimming and cave visiting possibilities. After trying it out, tour is recommended 🙂
Home sweet home
After having yet another delicious food in Oxygen, we start heading towards our final overnight stay before taking off the next morning.
On the way we stop at the Tarcoles River to look at the crocodiles. They are just sleeping there – big and fat – because people are actually feeding them. You look at them from above and honestly… you start shivering. Just the thought of them gives me creeps. They say that Tarcoles is the most contaminated river in Costa Rica, carrying much of the sewage from the central towns and cities. Crocodiles have adapted to that obviously.
After that all we had to encounter was crazy traffic around San Jose area, getting lost in the shabby streets of Alajuela, taking ages to get the car back to the car rental place and a night that was too short before taking off to get back home.
So, that was it: our Costa Rica experience. It is a country where I want to return another time. I never imagined that a country that is this small has SO many things to offer. If you truly want to experience Costa Rica, but not stay here forever, I say, take 1 month. Even though after that much time spent there maybe the idea of staying there even longer would have become as a second skin to you 🙂
Photo moments (for more pictures click on the photo)