World Travel

Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo

4. May: I wake up at 5:20, before the alarm clock beeps. There are loud howler monkeys to be heard, which is the first time I can experience them properly. They do make quite a chilling sound, mostly at dawn. They're very lazy monkeys, sleeping at the tops of trees for most of the day. We take an early-morning walk to the beach and actually see turtle tracks in the sand! The morning mosquitoes are out in full force and seem to want to eat me. Back in the room, I write a couple of cards, sleep a bit and then go for breakfast. We've ended our tour of Tortuguero and today we get to return. We plan to continue to Puerto Viejo down south on the East Coast, so we'll go along till Siquierres and then part with our guide. We pay our bill for all drinks and then set off by boat to the docks where would meet the minibus, it's a bigger one this time since more tourists arrive from San Jose.

Frog eggs at the Lodge Turtle tracks on Tortuguero beach
Frog eggs at the Lodge
Turtle tracks on Tortuguero beach

At Siquierres we take leave from our guide, don our backpacks and go to the nearest bank to change some Traveler's Cheques, but they don’t change them, so we try the next one, where we are successful. We then walk down to the post office (accompanied by a man who guides us and then expects a small tip, we deny). The bus terminal is nearby, so we get tickets to Limon for 350ñ each, just manage to get seats to sit down.

Plants by the river Last relaxed view over the canal from the Lodge
Plants by the river
Last relaxed view over the canal from the Lodge

Once at Limon, we find that the bus to Puerto Viejo will leave at 16:00, so we look for a place for some food and drink and find a small Chinese restaurant. A Chinese boy comes to table wanting to translate and it's only later that I realize that he is not the waiter but just some kid who's a bit crazy. The real waiter seems to tolerate him, but he leaves after he's made fun of, saying "huh, I have friends in Ireland too.." The waiter informs us that the kid is 'loco'.

The bus to Puerto Viejo is operated by two hefty, scruffy men, the bus is packed, and they check each seat to see if it is actually filled, not reserved with some piece of baggage. We start and I'm clinging to the railing, being pushed from all directions. Particularly bad is a small local boy selling sweets. He leans against Annewien and me, and I've to shove him and tell him a number of times to quit.

"Luisa's" Puerto Viejo Soda Shop Puerto Viejo beach
"Luisa's" Puerto Viejo Soda Shop
Puerto Viejo beach

Later, I find a place to sit right in front of the bus. The drive is along the Caribbean coast, and the palms, beach and sea are a wonderful sight. During the journey, a tourist hitchhiker boards the bus and wants to pay the fare with a huge 10'000ñ bill, which is impossible. Interestingly enough, a black girl sitting next to me pays the fare for the guy. Maybe this is his trick to ride for free?

We arrive in Puerto Viejo and it is still daylight, thank god. We see a number of hotels, two of them are dark and seem hot, the third one is Casa Verde, Annewien likes it and it's 30$ per night if we take it for two nights. It has a big, clean room with a bathroom. By now it is dark and it is still hot and humid. We go our for dinner and find 'Tamara's Restaurant', which had very good food. Well, at least mine is, Annewien's Hamburger has bad meat. She complains and then orders fries.

Freaks and Reggae Rasta people abound in the village. There are lots of foreign kids around. We walk around and are seduced by the smell of mint biscuits (with coconuts and peanuts in them) coming from a food stall. Can't resist, delicious.

Continue to 5.5 Puerto Viejo