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Lietuviskas aprasymas zemiau

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Day 66: CIA

April 14, 2006

April is the beginning of the marine turtle breeding season in Parque Nacional Tortuguero (Tortuguero National Park), therefore Tortuguero is by all means on our itinerary. Six out of eight existing species of marine turtle arrive every season to make nests and lay eggs on the Caribbean side of the Tortuguero village and national park - the occurrence we have been wishing to see since long ago and never had a chance, so, needless to say, we are extremely exited about finally going there.
In addition to the nesting turtles, Tortuguero National Park is home to 400 species of bird, 30 species of freshwater fish, and 60 different kinds of frog, along with monkeys, crocodiles, caimans and some rarely seen butterflies, which all can be seen during daily guided wildlife watching tours. If this is all true, we stand rather high chances to add some variety to our 2-howler monkey-and-1 resplendent quetzal collection!

For those traveling by car, the national park is not very conveniently accessible. There are two options: you can either drive to the Caribbean port of Puerto Limon (south of Tortuguero) and take a passenger boat to Tortuguero from there (which means you leave your car in Puerto Limon); or you can reach the village of Cariari (west of Tortuguero) by car, spend a night there, and next morning continue to Pavona via a rather bad dirt road. From Pavona (which is not on the map but any local will show you the way to it) you can take a waterbus down the Rio Tortuguero (the River Tortuguero) to Tortuguero National Park. Pavona is nothing more than a parking lot with a mini snack bar and a waterbus stop, so do not plan to spend the night before the trip to the national park there, as there are no sleeping establishments in Pavona. Besides, there are snakes (saw a huge one right on the path to the river), so camping is also a very questionable idea!
In either case, you cannot reach the national park by car. For us the route via Cariari was closer, faster and less expensive.

On the way to Cariari we pass San Jose. It is the famous Semana Santa, and the center of the capital city looks like a modern ghost town: the streets are car-less, hardly any pedestrians either, all the restaurants, cafés, shops, grocery stores and gas stations are also closed. On a positive note, these are the perfect conditions for the unfamiliar metropolis navigation. Rarely you get a chance to go crazy in a capital city in Central America and drive in circles at intersections, make illegal u-turns wherever you wish, ignore red lights, and go opposite the traffic on one-way streets!! We could have even made a picnic in the middle of the major avenue - there was nobody in the city to prohibit anything!

It is a short and very scenic ride from San Jose to Cariari, in the middle of which we get pulled over by a special police unit and checked for drugs (every single car had to go through the checkpoint!). Since all the drugs we have are 2 bottles of red, we get wished "feliz viaje" and are free to continue. No car search or anything, they trusted our word.

At 5 o'clock in the afternoon the tiny village of Cariari appears suspiciously lively and happy - looks like Easter has arrived here one day too early! :) Besides, everyone we ask about the tours to Tortuguero intends to sell us some combined USD20-value bus/ waterbus tickets. Seriously, every person in Cariari seems to be an agent of a Tortuguero tour agency! Your "how to get there" question instantly gets interpreted as "how much does it cost to get there", the conventional answer being 20 bucks, and the standard ticket booklet comes out of the agent's pocket before you even have a chance to open your mouth to say "no, gracias - I was just looking for information!" What a crazy place…
At the end of the day we somehow manage to collect the info we need, without having bought any tickets! Waterbuses to Tortuguero leave from Pavona, which is about 2-hour drive away from Cariari. You can either take a bus from Cariari, or drive your own vehicle and leave it in Pavona for USD10 per day. The waterbus stop is next to the parking lot. This is as much as we need to know, so we just find a decent hotel on the edge of town and go to bed early, because for us getting up at 4:30AM doesn't always come easy!

Tip #1: The owner of the Hotel Mister Bailey asked us to recommend his place to the fellow travelers, and it's a pure pleasure to do so! For USD10 per day at Mister Bailey's you get guarded parking, tidy room with cable TV & hot water, and - surprise! - a fridge loaded with ice-cold beers at the supermarket price! - exceptional value after a dusty ride through the dormant towns and villages with all stores closed for the Semana Santa. Hotel Mister Bailey is located on the main street of the village, on the left hand side. Recommended! :)

Bizarre. Just as soon as we get into our hotel room, here comes a knock on the door. It is Mr. Bailey, the owner of the hotel, coming to let us know we've got a phone call! Who on earth could call us at the Hotel Mister Bailey in Cariari, where we have checked in 5 minutes ago, when even our own mothers have no clue where we might be at the given moment of time??!! Even our web site diary is at least a month behind the present time… CIA, MOSAD, FBI, KGB...??
Well, it turned out to be one of the Tortuguero trip agencies, taking yet another chance to sell us a couple of combo tix! Did they follow us to see which hotel we'd be staying in??? We checked under the bed before we went to sleep - just in case we encounter a Tortuguero tour agent there, we might even change our mind and buy the tickets!

Click on the pictures to enlarge

Banana plantations on the way to Cariari

Banana plantation close to Pavona

Bananu plantacijos pakeliui i Cariari




The cammelback cows of Costa Rica :)

Costa Rikan bull

Sios Kosta Rikos karves ir buliai mums pasirode keistoki.. Ar tik tarp proseneliu nebus isimaises vienas kitas kupranugaris :)

Nuvesk pelyte virs paveiksliuko, spustelk jos kaire ausele, ir paveiksliukas padides

66-oji diena: CZV

2006 m. balandzio 14

Is ryto prasideda ziauri karstos saules ir silto vandens abstinencija, todel, iki soties prisiziopsoje i lavos nuskrudintus Arenalio sonus, kraunames daiktus ir lekiam atgal i pakrante. Tik si syki i rytini kranta - Karibu juros, kur yra Tortuguero nacionalinis parkas, aprasytas kaip "mini Amazones dziungles". Tortuguero parke gyvena virs 400 rusiu pauksciu, 60 rusiu varliu, 30 rusiu zuvu, 3 rusys bezdzioniu, nykstantieji lamantinai, krokodilai, kaimanai, geluju vandenu vezliai, retai sutinkamu rusiu drugeliai.... Be to, kaip tik prasidejo sezonas, kada didziuliai vandens vezliai naktimis isplaukia is Karibu juros i kranta deti kiausiniu. Nekantraujame greiciau ten papulti - gal pasiseks pamatyti bent jau antraji ketsali!

Keliai, tradiciskai, prasti, o vaizdai - nuostabus. Pakeliui pravaziuojam San Jose. Semana Santa metu sostine primine vaiduokliu miesta - tarytum visi gyventojai butu evakuoti. Centrinese gatvese - vos viena kita masina, beveik visos istaigos, iskaitant restoranus, parduotuves ir degalines - uzdarytos. Is tikruju (is anksto buvome apie tai ispeti) visi didmiesciu gyventojai per Semana Santa "evakuojasi" prie ezeru, lagunu, upiu, vandenyno arba Karibu juros - kad tik toliau nuo miesto - todel masiskai uzplusta visus pakranciu viesbucius. Del to i Tortuguero vaziuojam truputi bijodami, kad nerasim kur apsigyventi. Bet gal rasim - dazniausiai mums arba pasiseka, arba pasiseka spontaniskai rasti iseiti :)
Bendrai San Jose padare labai nebloga ispudi - svarus, tvarkingas ir labai modernus (lyginant su kitomis Centrines Amerikos saliu sostinemis) miestas. Labiausiai patiko tai, kad galejom kiek sirdis geide sukinetis bet kurioj sankryzoj, vaziuoti pries eisma vienos krypties gatvemis ir nekreipti demesio i sviesoforus, nes musu Nissanas buvo praktiskai vienintele po miesto centra vazinejanti masina :) Ko gero, butumem galeje vidury centrinio bulvaro pasistatyti palapine, ir tai nebutumem niekam sutrukde. Taciau ka gali dominti modernus didmiestis, kada aplinkui - tokia gamta! Vaziuojam toliau!

I Tortuguero nacionalini parka keliu nera. Vienintelis budas papulti i Rio Tortuguero upes pakranteje isikurusi to paties pavadinimo kaimeli - valtele, zemyn upe. Paskutine vieta, kur galima pernakvoti pries kelione vandens autobusu - Cariari kaimas (kaimo pakrasty yra labai mielas, pigus ir tvarkingas viesbutis, o supratingesnio savininko reiktu ilgai ieskoti - kiekviename kambaryje turi pastates po saldytuva, pilna salto alaus - uz parduotuves kaina! :)) Po ilgos keliones dulketais vieskeliais per apsnudusius miestus ir kaimus, kuriuose visos parduotuves svente Semana Santa, si viesbucio ypatybe mums prilygo isklausytai maldai :)

Cariari susitinkam nemazai labai linksmu tiku - panasu, kad sis miestelis Velykas pradejo svesti is vakaro :) Susirenkam informacija apie valteles i Tortuguero ir einam miegot - rytoj ryte reikia atsikelti 4:30, kas mums nera tokia jau paprasta uzduotis.

Keistenybes. Tai, kad kiekvienas uzkalbintas Cariari kaimo gyventojas pasirode besas ekskursiju i Tortuguero agentas, pasiruoses zut but mums "padeti" - parduoti smarkiai per brangius bilietus - labai nenustebino, nes visose turistinese vietose vyksta panasus dalykai. Nuo "pagalbininku" slepiames viesbucio kambary. Taciau vos tik spejam izengti i kambari, mus atsiveja viesbucio savininkas - malonekit grizti i registracija, jums telefonas. ???!!!???. Tris kartus pasitiksliname, ar tikrai mums - kas gali mums skambinti i viesbuti, kuriame apsistojome pries 3 minutes, jeigu net musu mamos nezino, kur tiksliai siuo metu esam, o internetinis dienorastis maziausiai menesiu atsilieka nuo realaus laiko??!! CZV, KGB, FTB...??
O skambino mums viena is ekskursiju I Tortuguero agenturu - pasiteirauti, ar neapsigalvojom, ir vis dar nenorim pirkti bilietu! Tokiu darbsciu agentu, kurie slapta sektu potencialius klientus iki pat viesbucio ir veliau jiems skambintu, dar neteko sutikti nei vienoj saly. Pries eidami miegoti, del viso pikto apziurime palovius - jeigu ten rastumem koki bilietu pardaveja, gal netgi ir nusipirktumem pora bilietu - ko nepadarai soko busenoj!

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