19.05.2011 - 23.05.2011
Bearing such a cute little name, and given all the good things we'd heard about it, we had high expectations for the last real leg of our trip: a four night stay in Cahuita. Situated on an idyllic beach on the southern Caribbean coast, and merely steps away from the national park of the same name, this small town is home to reggae bars, coconut milk cuisine and an afro-carribean atmosphere, and we planned to chill here for a few days, go snorkelling and have a small hike around the park.
The town, although quite cute in theory, did little to make itself liked. Drug dealers and drunks sitting (or laying passed out) in the main dirty park, overpriced and only sometimes good eateries, not to mention the grocery store which was nothing but a giant dep, and the seemingly "rasta vibe" that didn't quite seem genuine were only a few of the elements that made us wonder if Cahuita always looked like this. Some people said yes, some said no, I guess we'll never know. Out hostel, seaside with a gorgeous view of the ocean, was decent but with the putrid smelling unequipped kitchen and overused foam mattresses, we were not as comfortable as we had hoped.
After spending out first morning updating this blog, we spent the afternoon in a delightful manner: reading on the hammocks, just steps away from the sea, drinking sangria. It's a hard life, I tell you! By the next morning, however, we had come to the realisation that albeit nice, we were getting a little antsy just "chilling" and needed to go on with the planned activities. First up: snorkelling, a first for the both of us, on a beautiful sunny day perfect for this activity. Cahuita is known for its beautiful coral reefs, home to more that 500 marine species. It was simply a fantastic experience! We must have seen over 20 sorts of fish, in all shapes and sizes, beautifully decorated by mother nature herself, with glowing shades of green, red, blue, gold, silver, and many more. We saw entire schools of over 100 fish swimming and exploring together, and Gosia even saw a shark (of course, the kind that is "not a threat to humans"…). The hardest part was definitely trying to get used to being in this foreign environment where we became just big fat clueless fish in the sea (I'm a terrible Aquarius…).
The next day, we got to go on a hike, yey! For a few hours, we explored the Cahuita National Park, where we saw plenty of White-faced Capuchin monkeys. As we walked down the trail and encountered the first one, we were delighted as he approached us, posed for photos and even got at arm's length! "How lucky are we?" we thought. Although as we approached a pit stop with many tourists, we quickly came to realize that these were the types of monkey that always approach humans, as they are fearless and sometimes ruthless, stealing people's food and possessions. In fact, one monkey with a baby on its back was just downing a bag of chips he had just stolen chips from some tourists. It was funny, but somehow disturbing as this cannot possibly be part of a capuchin's daily balanced diet! We also got to see a beautiful Emerald Basilisk, which we had not seen so far, a venomous and deadly Yellow Viper as well as some big fat spiders and plenty of crabs and lizzards, as per usual.
The next day, we set off on our last long-ish bus ride, four hours from Cahuita to San Jose, where we immediately got on a bus to Alajuela, where we are spending two nights until our trip back home on Wednesday.