Thursday, June 26, 2008

6/22 - 6/24 Manuel Antonio

Palmar Norte isn´t a town that you need to spend more than about 10 minutes in.... So to see the friendly face of our dear friend Scott Braman calling from around the dusty corner where the bus had dropped us off was a wonderful surprise (we thought he wasn´t picking us up for another few hours, but never underestimate Scott´s early morning motivation).

After our journey into Osa and Corcovado, the next few days were a perfect stop. Scott and his mom Sukie drove us back to Manuel Antonio where we chilled with the whole Braman clan (most importantly, cute little Athena - Scott´s 18 month old niece).

We stayed at the newest Scott-Chip (Dad)-Barbara and Jim (Aunt and Uncle) endeavor... The Blue Banyan Inn ( Part of an emerging eco-finca up in the hills, the place is amazing. For any of you looking for a little rest and relaxation, you need to check this place out. Barbara has some amazing monkeys that you can visit with during your stay. Chip and Scott still have some land and in-progress villas for sale if you´re interested in something more long-term...Email us if you don´t know Scott and we´ll make a connection. Seriously, if we weren´t spending most of our savings on this little year of adventure, we´d be considering it ourselves :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

6/19-6/21 Corcovado National Park

We decided to kick start our travels with a journey into the depths of Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula . Corcovado is the last original tract of tropical rain forest in Central America. To say that this place is remote is a bit of an understatement. Getting to the trail head took about 3.5 hours from the closest town of Puerto Jimenez (which itself took 9 hours of buses to reach). An hour bus ride, followed by 30 minutes in the taxi, followed by 2 hours on horseback.

We then begin the hike into the park... the seriously muddy hike into the park. 3 kms in we almost turned around because it was so muddy in fact. But after passing through Los Patos ranger station (there are four ranger stations at various ends of this park), the trail improved somewhat. And so we continued deep, deeper and deeper into the park. Having never spent much time in the jungle, Allison was VERY impressed that she didn't freak out as we traveled deeper into the depths-- she even calmed down after awhile about the potential peccary (endangered wild boar) attacks:)

19 km later, we arrived at a little slice of heaven in the midst of the jungle. Sierena station is located right in the middle of the park in the best location for viewing wildlife. After our 7 hours on the trail, it was a pretty idilic place to stumble upon -

Upon arrival we met the self proclaimed "Indiana Boys"... Two 22 year olds from Indiana who are aspiring to become the next Crocodile Hunters. They're spending 2 full months in the park filming themselves while they attempt to catch crocodiles, snakes and other animals. They took Nader out on a night hike where he got to see their antics first hand. Although a little insane, these kids were great to have around for our time in Sierena as they really did know just about everything about every creature we saw.

The next full day was spent chilling and exploring -- We saw spider monkeys, caputin (sp?) monkeys, howler monkeys, two baird tapirs, some little jungle deer, jungle racoons, scarlet macaws, and crazy looking rainbow crabs. Nader had a brief ocelot sighting on his night hike with the crazies from Indiana.
Day three was another 19 km hike.... Although the terrain was much mellower than day one. We were walking mostly in the jungle close to the beach with a few stretches along the beach. From there is was a long bumpy "collectivo" (translation, back of a pick up truck) back to Puerta Jimenez. All in all, such an amazing journey... a good start for our year.