Our time in Quepos was up and after doing some research on Corcovado National Park, we got very excited about it and we simply couldn’t wait to discover it. We were quite overwhelmed though by the amount of contradictory info available. According to some operators, we would have had to go to Drake Bay, which was (again according to them) the only way to really experience the park and its beauties. This would have cost us the time and money we didn’t have so we kept looking around and found out that the park could be accessed on the other side, close to Puerto Jimenez. None of the operators mentioned Puerto Jimenez as an alternative but Google did. Thanks Google. We were not sure this was a good idea: what if we see no wildlife? What if the part of the park is not worth spending the money on? Many unanswered questions but hey this is what travels are about: go where our hunches take us!
Since there is no adventure without adventure, we packed our rental car with our mix feelings (and smelly clothes), said goodbye to our new Canadian friend (oh no, I was finally getting used to his Québécois French! Tabernacle!) and hit the road. When we arrived in Puerto Jimenez, it was late(ish) and rainy. We were tired and did not know where to start to find the needed info about Corcovado. Life being a fairy to us, we came across a wonderful Tico, Christian, who on top of being a hostel owner, was leading tours. Ah see? There was no need to worry! I really need to start being a warrior instead of a worrier. It is slowly sinking in but what can I say? I am a slow learner!
Anyway back to what I am about to describe as heaven on earth! S and I, having a car, followed our guide and his group and let me tell you this: I got my money worth, already by driving the road to Carate! What an adventure! Many (billions actually, yes we counted them) potholes were making sure this dirt road was not boring, a few rivers, that were nowhere near as challenging as the ones on the Nicoya Peninsula, tried to stop us (amateurs!), a boa was chilling in a field next to the road (locals seems unaware that a scared boa would bite you deeply and went really close) and some macaws welcomed us in Carate. It was not close to Puerto Jimenez (a lot farther than I had imagined), it took us 2 hours to reach Carate but they were worth it. We parked on the side of the road, hoping our car would not be targeted by banditos and our enthusiastic little group made its way towards the entrance of the park. From the ‘parking’, we walked 3.5 km, crossing rivers, tasting different leaves direct from trees, learning about them and drinking from fresh coconuts and pipas. The trail from the parking, continuing into the park itself was beautiful and peaceful. I couldn’t believe how deserted the trail was. Bliss!
We spent a whole day, learning about the jungle, spotting ant-eaters, snakes (no incident this time of me falling onto my butt. Now this is an improvement) and monkeys. We were far away from tourists, feeling closer to nature and this feeing was priceless. We might not have used the fancy gate to access Corcovado National Park but we certainly found our heaven. The beach was absolutely gorgeous and while strolling back to our car, we felt serene! It was hard not to be able to stay longer, we wished we would have a place to camp as our guide and the other happy hikers were staying overnight, looking for snakes and poisonous frogs. Well jealous!
But it was time for us to slowly make our way to San Jose. And after a lovely stop in Orosi, fantastic area with FREE hikes (I repeat FREE hikes), we had to say bye to S. How on earth our time together went by so quickly?! I know that they say time flies when you are having fun but this was ridiculous! We barely welcomed her in Liberia and now we needed to say bye?! Not fair! Letting our rental car go was hard (after driving 1684 km, we got very attached to it!) but it was even harder to say goodbye to S. We were sad to realize that nobody will check on our pee anymore to make sure that we are hydrated (yes, traveling with a doctor has its perks). We will miss her important lessons: did you know for instance that the instant Asian noodles can be eaten as a snack? Raw?! It blew my mind!
Anyway, this was tough but we were also very impatient to discover the Eastern part of Costa Rica. Next stop: Cahuita National Park!