Palo Verde National Park.
Awake at 1:00 am to use newly restored iPad hotspot to do church work.
Up with the sun and hiked up the 4 flights of stairs to wait for the bus to pick up up at 7:00 am. We saw lots more damage from rocks falling in the night.
We rode for a couple hours until we reached the small town of Filadelfia. We waited outside the park for quite a while for 2 women and a young baby. They would accompany us for the rest of the trip.
On the way to our main event, we passed several soccer games and a LOT of sugar fields. We passed El Viejo Mill (Azucarera El Viejo, S.A), a Costa Rican company dedicated to growing sugar cane and sugar production. The company annually produces 50 thousand tons of sugar in the forms of raw, white, and special; by the industrial processing of half a million tonnes of cane grown by over 500 farmers in the Tempisque Basin. The sugar here in Costa Rica goes mainly to the Coca-Cola Company and for producing energy. I was very surprised that there was no rum production like in Barbados and other sugar-growing countries.
After many dirt roads, we stopped at the Palo Verde Restaurant and had juices and coffee while we waited for others to arrive. Since we were going to Palo Verde, I assumed (you know what they say about assuming!) we were close to beginning our trip. Well, no. Back on the busses. More narrow dirt roads.
Finally, we got to the Temique River and into our small boat. One of the women getting in commented to Michael that she had sat behind him in the plane from New York. Small world.
Right off the bat (no pun intended!) we saw these weird little bats. They line up on a tree and pretend to be a snake, even moving slightly to simulate a snake writhing.
We saw lots of white-faced capuchin monkeys – several came right inside the boat. The Capuchin monkey is named after the order of Capuchin friars – the cowls of these friars closely resemble the monkey’s head coloration. I’ll bet those friars are happy to hear this!
Also, we saw Jesus Christ lizards, so nicknamed for their ability to run on water at an average speed of 8.4 km/h (or 5.2 mph), for about 10 to 20 meters.
We saw lots and lots of iguanas of various colors, in the trees, on the ground.
We also saw something that looked like a hawk but were told it was a black vulture. We also saw blue heron, egrets, and of course, crocodiles. The crocks saw we were there and slowly circled our boat.
In the photos below, the guide is showing us a huge grasshopper with red underwings.
After our boat tour, we went back to the Palo Verde Restaurant for what is called a “tipical meal”. We had Casados (black beans and rice) with chicken, beef, salad, fried plantains, white cheese and corn tortilla. Casado, the name referring to the eternal “marriage” of the beans and rice.
A l-o-n-g bus ride and we were home again, ready to rest up for the next day!