Saturday, October 15, 2011

{Costa Rica 2011} - Day 10 - Limón Province

Oh my, did 3:15am come way too early that morning!  We got home from being out with Tony's friends after 1am and I insisted on showering in preparation for the next day (and to wash off the smoke) and I had to pack for Limon.  So, I didn't get to sleep until probably 2am and that damn alarm went off at 3:15.  Shockingly, Tony's dad was there at 4am on the dot rather than being late as usual. :)  We loaded into the car and I promptly curled up in the back seat and fell asleep on Tony. We both slept for three hours and woke up in the city of Limón.  It was right around 7am and the city was just waking up.  We stopped at a little quick serve diner on the corner and got some coffee and breakfast cake to wake us up.  It was here that I got my first taste of the culture differences between Limón and other parts of Costa Rica.

The province of Limón is heavily populated by people of Jamaican descent.  Jamaicans were brought over to work on the railroad that was built to serve the busy port in Limón, and many stayed.  There are now a couple of generations that have been born in Costa Rica, but many blend their ancestors' language with English and Spanish to create kind of a hybrid.  It's sort of Creole, English, Spanish, French, etc.  I can't describe it, but it's definitely different!  I'm sure I'm explaining it completely incorrectly, but you get the idea.

While we were in Limón, Tony's dad took us to take a canal tour.  A man on a bike made us a deal and led us to his boat for the tour.  I was a little skeptical because the boat wasn't as nice as the others docked there (he had a hard time getting it started) and c'mon, he approached us on a BIKE!  Anyway, we loaded our cooler and some snacks onto the boat and headed into the canals. The canals cut through living jungle that stretches over the narrow canals, formed by the rivers born in the high mountains, making their way to the sea.

Our tour boat.

Tony and Me on the tour.
Tony's dad and his girlfriend on the tour.

My concerns about our guide were quickly dispelled as we cruised through the canals. The man has an incredible eye for spotting wildlife!  He'd be like, "Look!  A sloth!" and we'd have to hunt around before we finally spotted one at the top of the trees.  After a while though we all became quite skilled. Here's a sampling of some of the things we saw during the early parts of our cruise.  Snakes, sloths, crabs, lizards, birds, and crocs, oh my! :)

That's a sloth waaaay up there in the tree.
Holy shit, that's a big snake!
The female Jesus lizard.
Well hello little crab!
Stop eyeballing me, croc!
The male Jesus lizard.
Pretty bird!

Up until nearly the end of the tour we didn't get any close up views of the animal I was most excited to see, the sloth!  He pointed out TONS of them up in the tops of trees, which was cool, but I wanted to see their cute little faces!  Then, my dreams came true! We came across a mom and baby sloth that were in a tree just a few feet above the water.  Our guide pulled the boat right up next to it so we could get a good view and take as many pictures as we wanted. We were the only people on the boat so we could stay as long as we wanted.  The baby was probably just a few weeks old and was kind of hidden by leaves eating dinner, but mama was in full view!

Yay! Sloth!
Just hanging out, waiting for my kid.
We didn't get a great view of the baby, but you can see it's little fuzzy body a bit through the leaves.

I begged this baby sloth to come out of hiding, but no.

We all had a great time on the tour and I was thrilled to have seen a sloth that close up out in the wild!  We left all smiles and onto our next big adventure.

Our guide, Tony, and his dad.  And our booze cooler.

After our canal tour we headed off toward Puerto Viejo.  There was one stop before we headed to our hotel and I was SO EXCITED about it!  The Sloth Sanctuary! I'm going to start a totally new post for that since this one is getting long and it deserves it! :)

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