Day 7: Tortuguero, Land of Turtles
Had to get up early again this morning, since we were supposed to be picked up at 6:45am and transferred to the town of Guápiles, where we would have breakfast, and then been transferred to Tortuguero.
The first part of the transfer (from Sarapiqui to Guápiles) was done by Sarapiqui Rainforest lodge, and their driver was 10 minutes late. He did apologize for being late after he arrived. What made us even more nervous later was he didn't know where to drop us off at Guápiles. He had to ask the locals twice, u-turned twice to find an unmarked gate with no sign on it whatsoever. He talked to the gate guard, and said this was the place. We weren't so sure until other tourists started to show up, and finally 2 tour buses from San Jose arrived 30 minutes later. One of the tour guides on the buses told us, all guests of the Pachira Lodge (which we would be staying for the next 2 nights) in Tortuguero should get on his bus. They would take care of our meals and transfers to and back from Tortuguero starting from this meeting place.
After we all had breakfast at the meeting place (There was a big dining hall inside the gated area), we got on the bus to go to a dock (1.5 hours drive), and then changed into boats to go to Tortuguero.
1. Colorful tour bus.
2. Boats from many different lodges in Tortuguero squeezed into this so called dock to pick up guests.
3. It was pouring rain, which is very typical for this area.
4. Our room was really basic. There was no windows, just screens, so you could hear everything: rain, bugs, birds, howler monkeys, and noisy neighbors ...
5. There were iguanas everywhere, if you looked carefully.
After lunch, afternoon tour started at 2:30pm. The first was to tour Tortuguero village (included in our tour package). After that it was baby turtle watching tour. This was not included in our package. We paid $15/person for the tour. It was the best $30 we spent in Costa Rica.
6. Approaching village dock.
7. Our tour guide gathered us around village school to tell us about Tortuguero history.
8. More school building.
9. A shop with cute mural on the side.
10. A turtle and a caiman having lunch?
11. A howler monkey and a sloth drinking coffee?
12. Before Tortuguero became a national park in 1970, the area was used for logging. You could still see some machinery in the village.
13. Along Tortuguero village main street.
14. Flower along Tortuguero village main street.
15. Along Tortuguero village main street.
16. Along Tortuguero village main street.
17. Tortuguero village main street.
To see baby turtles, we went to a section of the beach near the Tortuguero airport. We walked down the beach for a long time. The tour guide was ahead of the group looking for baby turtle nest. Suddenly he gestured us to hurry up. So I ran to his place, a turtle nest had just opened with baby turtles rushing to get out. They were so cute. Some of them got flipped upside down in the nest and they tried to right themselves. Some of them initially ran in the wrong direction and somehow figured it out within a few seconds and turned around. Nature is so amazing!
18. Tortuguero airport.
19. A fresh nest of baby turtles running to sea for the first time in their life.
20. The tour guide said a nest normally has 100 eggs. Very few of them make it to adulthood.
21. The last few coming out of the nest.
22. The path to sea was not all easy going. The poor thing had to fall off a 3-feet sand cliff.
23. Got flipped around.
24. Then right itself.
25. And finally ...
(To be continued)