The culture on the Caribbean coast is very different from the rest of Costa Rica. It is so different it could be its own country. I especially enjoyed the abundance of augua de pipa (young green coconut water) my FAVORITE! I was traveling with a small group of people from the hostel in Bocas since we all happened to be leaving on the same day. I felt very lucky to be traveling with such a fantastic and laid back group! We spent a couple days in Puerto Viejo we saw an AMAZING band, danced the night away with the locals and just really enjoyed the scene. It is an eclectic mix in Puerto Viejo with rastas, latinos, hippies and tourists which makes for great people watching. It had been pouring rain — sheeets of rain– for a most of our time in Puerto Viejo which made it difficult to do much of anything. On our last day in Puerto Viejo, Natalie (my new Dutch friend) and I took a bike ride in the rain stopping at all of the little shops along the way which was lots of fun and very muddy! Good thing I love mud! We even had a watermelon picnic on the beach– BLISS!
Finally, we decided to stop waiting for the sun….it was time to move along to Cahuita a town about forty minutes to the north of Puerto Viejo. We arrived late to Cahuita because of some misinformation about the bus. Our cab driver suggested we stay our first night at Calypso which was a great place and had a television which neither of us had seen in a long time. The owner Mustafa was a brilliant ex new Yorker with so much to share about his life philosophies. At Calypso, I made Natalie her first raw meal and she LOVED it!!! We had chili in pepper bowls and Noritos (raw borritos in nori wraps). Princess Natalie enjoyed the catering service a little too much if you ask me. She told all her friends she had a personal chef and yoga teacher traveling with her . It was really exciting introducing her to yoga, meditation and raw food!!!!
In Cahuita, it continued to rain. We decided to move to Villas Del Mar which had an amazing HUGE room for us which was more expensive but absolutely necessary because of all the time we were spending inside.
The next day, we took a bus to a sloth sanctuary about twenty minutes north of Cahuita which was AMAZING. The couple who started it all began when someone brought them one sloth, Buttercup, who had been hit by a car.
That happens a lot due to the development of previously forested areas. The sloths can’t get to the food they need across roads so they come down off the trees to cross the road.
The combination of how slowly these animals move and crazy Costa Rican driving makes their making it across the road highly unlikely. There were lots of sloths there for different reasons. It was amazing to see them up close and feel their hairy fur. I expected them to smell but they didn’t they were very clean and their sweet serene faces made me just want to scoop them up for a cuddle. There was also a wildlife river tour in a canoe and it poured the whole time we were in the boat.
We were soaked through by the end but it was really pretty funny to be out in a downpour looking for wild animals that obviously had the good sense to be undercover during the storm. Needless to say, we didn’t see much besides a jesus christ lizard (walks on water). I was happy just to have gotten to see those sweet-faced sloths.
Natalie and I decided to part ways and she went to see the rainforest in Tortuguero and I went south to Manzanillo. We made a plan to meet up again in a few days on the pacific coast on my favorite beach Domincal. I stayed one more night in Cahuita and only one night in Manzanillo which was another gorgeous town. I stayed in Cabinas something different which was a very simple place with a kitchen. Manzanillo is very peaceful, there was not much development with only a couple of restaurants and a handful of hotels. Manzanillo was by far the most laid back town on the Caribbean coast not too populated and everyone pretty much minded their own business which was perfect!!! After Manzanillo it was off to San Jose for a quick stop and then back to my beloved pacific coast!!!!