The Central American country has an incredible biodiversity and offers visitors a paradise in which it is worth disconnecting from email and cell phone.
The Central American country has an incredible biodiversity and offers visitors a paradise The best time to be awake in Costa Rica is early in the morning. Under the soft blue light, in the middle of the calm and cool breeze, you forget the heat of the previous day and the humidity.
It is easy to get lost in Central American nature. Strolling around European capitals is always good and worthwhile, but you can never forget the emails, voicemails, and bills that await you at home. In Drake Bay, on the southwest coast of Costa Rica, it is possible to truly disconnect. Even better: it is possible to enjoy that pleasant tropical getaway from start to finish and full of trekking, diving and encounters with wildlife at a very reasonable price which is worth disconnecting from email and cell phone.
Costa Rica does not have an army and the country has opted to focus on other issues, such as conservation of the environment.
Their efforts (thanks to which about 25 percent of the country is protected) have borne fruit: Although Costa Rica occupies only 0.03 percent of the land surface, it concentrates almost six percent of the world’s biodiversity.
It is the ideal place for an ecological holiday
With my documents in order (you may not be allowed to board the plane to Costa Rica unless you have vaccinated against yellow fever and take the test with you), I chose the Osa Peninsula instead of the Nicoya Peninsula, located northwest And is more developed, precisely because it is more remote and difficult to reach. Therefore, according to my logic, I was more likely to have an experience dominated by nature and not by other tourists.
Your best bet to reach Drake Bay is by air; Estimated to pay about 80 to 120 dollars for each trip (US dollars are widely accepted, although my recommendation is to have colones, local currency). Some essential tips: one of the airlines that flies to Drake Bay, Sansa, does not leave the main air terminal of San Jose. It’s in a separate building near there, so be sure to check where you’re going. Your boarding pass is simply a resized and reusable card with the name of your destination airport; Does not have your name or any other personal information, so do not lose it.
And although most airports have a decent selection of small shops to buy food, groceries and miscellaneous items, in San Jose there is hardly any. While looking for sunscreen, I found a store where they sold a small pack of humectants with SPF 50 that cost 9500 colones, or a little less than 17 dollars. A container of equal size of FPS 70 cost 13,000 colones. When I asked why they had different prices, the man at the counter shrugged and pointed to number 70. “It’s bigger,” he said. I recommend bringing your own sunscreen and insect repellent (although that may be a nuisance due to the restrictions of liquids on hand luggage).
After a 45-minute flight on a small Cessna propeller plane, it was in Drake Bay. Edu, my host at Rio Drake Farm, a small hotel that he supervises along with his wife, Sabrina, immediately found me among the ten passengers; We got on your Land Cruiser and toured one of the shortest routes I’ve ever experienced from an airport. The drive to Drake Farm River took us about a minute.
With the heat and the humidity of the afternoon, Edu took me beyond a hand-painted sign saying:
“Welcome to Drake Farm River,” in the midst of a landscape with papaya and cashew trees, to my modest room. For $ 54 a night, I had my own room with private bath.
You can pay less: the nearby Cabinas Manolo, for example, costs $ 40 a night (but you must pay for transportation from the airport); Or you can pay much more: in luxury ecotourism places like Luna Lodge, also on the Osa Peninsula, you may be charged more than $ 200 a night for a private cabin.
However, my stay was satisfactory. The bed was basic but functional. The room had a weak fan which provided some relief on the sweltering nights (and helped keep mosquitoes away). Guests have access to a slow wifi for a couple of hours each night. Any lack of basic amenities was offset by other things: breathtaking sunsets from the outdoor dining area, the possibility of kayaking on the Drake River and the proximity to a nearly deserted beach as well as nature trails.
One day I crossed a rope bridge to reach a beautiful beach, where I was practically alone. Another morning I hiked along the monkey trail in the Drake Farm River terrain and saw a couple of cappuccinos that were moving through the branches above me. Other activities can be organized, such as a fishing trip (for $ 125) or one to see poison arrow frogs ($ 50).
I chose to dive (89 dollars) and a tour of Corcovado National Park (99 dollars). For these walks, Edu simply organizes the tour and serves as an intermediary.
If you want to save a few dollars, you can book directly with the tour operator (in this case it was Manolo Tours), but you may find it easier to book everything with Edu.
At 6:30, after a night of torrential rain, I went diving. We were a group of almost ten, mostly Europeans, and we met to meet our guide, Gustavo, and his son; Both had curly hair. We took a 45-minute boat trip to Caño Island, a small island west of Drake Bay. During the tour, we saw a herd of dolphins playing in the spectacularly blue water, as well as red-tailed gulls flying by boat.
We arrived, we got the fins and the snorkeling equipment that we got and we dived into the water. The colors were spectacular. Despite the rain last night, the fish and coral were clearly visible. Immediately, Gustavo said: “There is a shark.” I was paralyzed; Gustavo was calm. He took his GoPro camera and approached the white-tipped reef shark that was not far from the surface.
There was so much to see. We had barely moved away from the shark when a black sea turtle swam nearby, sinking deep into the dark blue ocean. After that, there was a symphony of crackling coral and a parade of bright yellows, metallic greens, and deep, luminous blacks. Parrotfish swam alongside us, followed by some clown fish. We found a school of jureles, hundreds of small, silver fish that spun and glittered like lures in the water.
The excursion to Corcovado National Park is exciting for those who want to stay on land.
Well, most of the time. It was like an amphibious military landing near Sirena beach (they wear sandals or waterproof shoes, as well as water and sun block).
Our guide, Julian, is not foolish. “Be careful,” he told us. “We have some of the most poisonous snakes in the world.” I adjusted my socks a little after he said that. “This is the land of the jaguar, the puma and the tapir,” he said. There are also 22,000 species of butterflies in the forest alone, he said. With a sharp look, he pointed to a cute little coati that carved the earth and then, a northern carancho.
“We must be quiet,” he said, and took us to a small clearing where a huge five-foot-long tapir was lying with his baby.
We passed by majestic ceibas, as well as thick, thorny ficus, as we watched the playful spider monkeys, a few howlers, and the strange black jaw toucan (Julian carried a small, useful telescope so we could see him more closely).
Some of the sightings were clearly planned by the guides. Julian seemed to know that there was a particular tree where a three-toed sloth would be hiding with his baby.
But at one point in the middle of our walk of about four hours, Julian’s face lit up. “There is something I have not seen before,” he explained, having talked excitedly with another guide.
After another ten minutes of walking, he lowered his telescope and looked up. “That’s it!” He said, and gestured to take a look. There were two silky anteaters, or pygmies, on top of the branches of a nearby tree, with their furry brown and pink tails intertwined. It was hard not to feel enthusiasm, like Julian, who was speechless. “I’ve never seen that,” he said, smiling. I smiled as much as Julian.