2 days of a week on the Nicoya Peninsula
11.01.2009 - 13.01.2009 35 °C
CURU near Paquera on the Nicoya Peninsula
Curú National Wildlife Refuge and Hacienda
After leaving San Ramon we took the busy ever downward highway to the Pacific Ocean.
It became apparent very quickly that we had left the cool nights and bright warm days behind in the central highlands and we were getting into the humid coastal heat.
The Curu Wildlife Refuge was a real treat with howler and spider monkeys, snorkeling, and very rough and rustic cabins. We joked and called it our all inclusive!
Looking at the sunrise from our cabin at Curu.
We had, unfortumately, booked for only 2 nights so we rushed to get as much done as we could. A local snorkel and dive comapany, located at the Refuge, took us and several others out to the Isla Tortuga for a couple of hours of snorkeling and a fruit lunch on a beautiful sandy shore for only $20.
The water was not crystal clear but there were enough encounters with brightly painted tropical fish to give us a flavor of the sport. The caribbean coast at Cahuita and Manzanillo offer spectacular displays of coral and fish in the months of September and October and would be better suited for the seasoned snorkeler.
Snorkling in a crowd at the Tortuga Islands.
There were a number of other tour operators who had unleashed their excited charges to the depths and it became a bit conjested and required some serious negotiation around the sets of flippers to get a sustained view of the fish.
There are several good underwater viewing spots at the beach where we had our lunch and a few of our crowd took advantage of the time to add to there tropical life list. There are as many varieties of fish in the ocean as there are plants and trees on land.
It was at Curu that we experienced our first real wilderness adventure.
The cabins are very basic with a comfortable bed, toilet and cold water washing facilities, shower outdoors.
There is cold running water and all the basics to prepare and cook your own meals. The weekends see a great number of Ticos with small families taking advantage of this natural adventureland.
The costs to stay are around $8 per person per day and includes access to all the trails and facilities. Check out the details at http://www.curuwildliferefuge.com
There is large dining hall which serves basic, fresh and wholesome dinners and breakfasts leaning to fresh fruits and the Tico basic of rice and beans. We were never disappointed with the cooks menu choices. We had dinners which included chicken and shrimp as well as an array of local vegetables, fruits and fresh fruit drinks.
Remember to bring some snacks and soda from town as there is little refreshment to buy at the reserve.
We took our first trip on the trails before breakfast on day 1 and followed the path of a typical dry forest which had many huge hardwood trees, both in girth and height. It was nearing the end of hour long walk that we encountered our first of many troops of spider monkeys. They chirped and chortled to one another as they swung from vines and palm fronds in search of their first feed of the day.
I anxioulsly set my video camera in motion realizing later that I was able to capture only a few seconds of activity as they clamoured through the jungle growth. I managed to get enough footage to put together a short video of spider, white faced capuchins and howler monkeys.
The trail finished up at the estuary which was home to an amazing network of mangrove roots and, at high tide, alligators. It is very clear you do not swim in any Costa Rican rivers. This charming estuary was photographed at low tide.
There is a balance of agriculture and wilderness at CURU.
The first morning after arriving was spectacular. After a full moon the night before we were presented with this vast armadillo sky as we awoke.
The percocious little Hermit Crab is a delight to watch as they scramble sideways across the sand after emerging from their hole in the sand keeping you at a safe distance. Once they have found a comfortable shell in which to spend their land-bound time they allow you to come a little closer.
This little guy was very patient with me as I took the time to lie down on the sand and set the camera up just centimeters away. The attractive new shell sure had me fooled.
An inquisitive coati takes his time checking me out.
A pensive Carolyn takes some time on the beach at high tide.