Monday, December 17, 2007

Costa Rica Part II

We left San Gerardo on the morning bus to San Isidro. The bus was crowded but comfortable and the scenery was beautiful. Then what seemed like the inevitable happened: our bus broke down. This came as no surprise because 1)the buses are typically old and sketchy and 2) a typical Costa Rican mountain road is hard on any vehicle.

Everybody unloaded the bus and lined up along the road and enjoyed the morning air. My travel companions and I speculated on how long we would be waiting for another bus- probably a few hours. But no. There was a replacement bus on the scene within no less than 10 minutes. It blew my mind. I would almost guarantee that if a similar situation were to happen in the US, passengers would have to wait at least half an hour for a replacement, even in a metropolitan area. Later on in our trip, a few Ticos would argue that the only reason the replacement process went so smoothly is because the drivers expect the buses to break down, and can therefore anticipate a delay. Notwithstading, I was thoroughly impressed with the efficiency of public transit throughout the entire country.
So after arriving only a few minutes late in San Isidro, we scrambled to catch a connecting bus to Dominical. This bus, however, was extremely crowded and somewhat uncomfortable for me being 6 foot 3, but we arrived safely and in due time. Dominical is a small surfing town on the Pacific side, a few kilometers south of Quepos. We ate lunch in town and caught a taxi/utility truck to a nearby ecolodge called Hacienda Baru, which served as our base of operations for two nights. We did a lot of hiking and saw a lot of wildlife. It was beautiful and very relaxing. That being said, I would rather let pictures do the talking:
Red flower, sorry I can't identify it.
There were leaf cutter ants everywhere. What an industrious species- they were capable of clearing a 5 inch wide path across the forest floor 25+ meters long. Fascinating.
Barbed wire wrapped around a Spiny Cedar- not an endemic species, but rather one that was introduced from Asia.
There was no shortage of iguanas, or large trees for them to live in either.
Likely the largest tree I have seen in my life - about 10-12 feet in diameter towards the base. Truly inspiring.
A 3-toed sloth climbing around during the day. Very interesting creatures indeed, and it was a treat to see one being active.
A more typical sloth sighting.
Dominical is somewhere in the distance. I believe the elevation was about 600 ft. asl where this picture was taken.
Typical of the pacific coast, the beach was deserted...
Except for a few inhabitants of the crustacean variety.

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