Saturday, November 16, 2013

Southern Costa Rica

 When we arrived in Costa Rica and tied up to the dock at the Banana Bay Marina in Golito, our first impression was what a tiny boat Moonshadow was, tied up next to the mammoth 121 foot trawler yacht Dardanella.  Though only twice Moonshadow's length, this super-yacht has ten times the space.  We were suddenly glad for our relatively simple systems and maintenance requirements!

While ashore attending to the procedures checking into Costa Rica, we saw some evidence of Golfito's historic significance. Once a banana exporting port, Golfito has rail and dock infrastructure that was once magnificent.  Now in decay, the town is experiencing a rebound as a sport-fishing and tourist destination.

A look at Costa Rica's currency reminded us that here is a country that is aware of it's true intrinsic value:  the natural beauty and attraction of the jungles and wildlife within the rain-forests.  With 28 national parks utilizing 12 percent of the country's land, you appreciate they're working to preserve what they have.

We had decided that after lavishing so much attention upon Moonshadow, attending to her every need, it was about time to give ourselves a little treat.  After doing some research, when we booked a cabina at the Bosque del Cabo Eco Lodge located within a preserve on the Oso Peninsula, we already had an idea we were in for something special.

But we were blown away by the beautiful grounds at the lodge.

Staying in one of just 12 cabinas on Bosque del Cabo's 750 acres of prime rainforest near Punta Matapalo was out of this world.

You know you're someplace special when they don't issue a key to your room.

And the bathroom is outside.

 But for us, the best thing was a king size bed!

Just outside our window was a 400 foot cliff to the Pacific, with lots of wildlife, including this black hawk.

You can spend hours watching the day go by from here.

But we had to pick from a long list of activities like hiking the lush rain-forest.

It was really majestic walking through the stillness of the jungle.

High above in the canopy, you could barely hear the wind in the tree tops, but all was still on the floor of the jungle.

Speaking of trees, we climbed one.  Actually, not a tree, this is called a strangled fig.  About 150 years old, this growth started with a host tree that reached 180 feet to the forest canopy.   Seeds left by birds germinated in the foliage up top and sent vines to the forest floor where new sprouts sprang up the host tree's trunk.  

Over the years the vine literally strangled the life out of the tree, which later decayed, leaving just the outer criss-crossed structure of the interlaced vines.   We learned that Matapalo, the name of the nearby point and beach, translates to tree killer.  That is what we were about to climb.

Our guide fitted us with rock climbing gear and up the hollowed core of the tree we went.  

We finally arrived at a spot about 70 feet up, just a tad higher than Moonshadow's stubby mast. 

There we then were taught to rappel down the outside of the "tree".

Further down the trail, we found this beautiful waterfall...

... and enjoyed the refreshing cool fresh water shower at the bottom.
Back at the lodge, there was so much to take in.  Crossing this suspension bridge, a troupe of spider monkeys rushed by swinging from branches with their hands and tails.

This tropical garden has a pre Columbian stone sphere located in the center of a circle of palms.

(click on photos to enlarge)

Closer to our cabina, we saw more palms...

...and more palms...

...and in the palms, beautifully exotic Tucans! every turn, still more beauty.

We also ran into these white faced Capuchin Monkeys hanging out in some bamboo

Still later we saw a family of Howler Monkeys lounging way up in the tree tops.

On another hike, our naturalist guide showed us a younger version of the strangled fig we'd climbed before.  

These guys grow fast.  It took just 11 years for the vines to span the distance from the hole (where a fallen log, later decayed away, was trapped) to the spot where Deb's resting her hand.

From there we hiked to a zip-line ending on a platform high up in the jungle canopy where 90% of the living things hang out.

But for those of us preferring terra firma, another rappel, 100 feet this time, to the jungle floor was the only way down.

After a couple of fabulous days we were on our way back across the Golfo Dulce to Golfito and Moonshadow, still stunned by the wonder of the beautiful Oso Penninsula.


Greg said...

Wow - what a great trip. Your photos are wonderful. I am living in the mountains of the central valley and have not yet ventured to Osa. Thanks for the motivation.

Farryl said...

I love reviewing your adventures. Thanks for making you journal so informative and entertaining. Chuck and I get a kick out of watching you both live your dream. We wich you all the best in 2014. Happy New Year!

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