Reflections on Costa RicaFebruary 8, 2017 in Costa Rica
Today was our last day in Cahuita and our penultimate day in Costa Rica. We walked into the National Park again this morning. We saw white-faced capuchin monkeys - they come down lower in the trees than the howler monkeys, so they're easier to photograph; they also seem a bit more curious and cheekier! We saw a couple more sloths, including one very active (non-sloth- like!) one, and some racoons (including 2 baby ones up a tree). This time we spent more time on the beach - Solana loved dodging the waves and body surfing with Laura and we all enjoyed walking along in the surf. A heron came by at one point to join in - you'll see it in the photo! This evening our dinner plan didn't quite work out and we ended up having to put Solana to bed early (she was tired out) and having a "dinner" of microwave popcorn and beer! We're now doing some sorting of all of our stuff, ready for the onward journey - boring but necessary.
There is lots still the same about Costa Rica as it was when we first visited nearly 12 years ago but some things have changed. The internet is an obvious change - and that has changed the way people travel (more people seem to book ahead at accommodation, rather than just turn up and look around - which means if you do the latter, it is harder to find somewhere - as we found to our peril in Alajuela!). There seem to be a wider range of people travelling here - last time we came it was mostly young Americans whereas now there are more Europeans, French Canadian, more older people and more families with children. There are a few more surfaced roads I think but still plenty of bumpy unsurfaced ones, and more people hire cars or travel in air-conditioned minibuses than by public bus than there were before (including us as it turns out!). The country seems more ecologically aware and into trying to protect the environment, animals and recycling than it was 12 years ago too. More people speak some English than we found before. The food is much the same (still rice and beans heavy!) but and more menus are bilingual (Spanish and English). The national currency is Colones but US dollars are far more widely accepted than they used to be - almost everywhere. But the most noticeable thing is how much more expensive everything is - it is not far off European prices and our nightly budget of US$20 from 12 years ago would barely buy us a pillowcase now!
We have thoroughly enjoyed our visit here and would highly recommend visiting Costa Rica if you ever have the chance. The wildlife in particular is absolutely amazing - if you have even a passing interest in wildlife, add it to your "to visit" list. We have managed to spot and identify 10 species of mammals, 15 species of reptiles/amphibians and 71 species of birds, even though we were without a guide most of the time. Solana has now decided she'd like to be a wildlife guide when she grows up! It has some of the most accessible rainforest, cloud forest and volcanoes in the world. The beaches are good, the weather is warm and it still feels like a pretty safe country. It is more expensive than we'd expected (bargain on similar prices to mainland Spain I'd say) but that wouldn't matter as much for a 2-week holiday and the experiences we've had here have been amazing. Maybe we should have asked for commission from the Costa Rica tourist board to help make up our budget deficit?.....!Read more