Day 3 - Punta Uva
How can you say you’ve been staying at Tree House Lodge without being wakened up by howler monkeys? About 5:30am they started howling. Ah!! Another sunny day! Geraldo brought us breakfast which was included for the first day of stay. Again, delicious fresh fruits, hot bread and buns, cheese and ham, and a small jar of fresh fruit juice. Hmmmm…. We were in paradise!
Took our bikes out and head towards the Jaguar Rescue Centre (turn right when exit through main entrance and bike about 10 - 15 mins). Finally saw the owner of Ride On Me (also called Antonio). Very pleasant and friendly guy. His bikes are just next to restaurant Pura Gula. We told him we would return our bikes later and come to rent his. He was ok with it and off we went to the rescue centre.
Jaguar Rescue Centre - Visitors must visit only at their scheduled time, which is at 9:30am and 11:30am. During other times visitors are not allowed to tour the area on their own. We heard a heartbreaking story about Jena the owl and we also saw toucans and baby sloths. While we were there, a woodpecker decided to hitch hike on my shoulder. There was also a little deer which was almost like a dog because she was following us around and wouldn’t stop licking our hands and arms. The guide explained that it is because deer love the salt and when we sweat, well… The admission fee is $15 per person. The centre is not funded by government. Volunteers who work there get very minimum pay. By visiting the centre, you’re also helping them to raise money to help the orphans and injured animals. Volunteers are extremely passionate. You not only get a chance to play with baby howler monkeys, you will also learn A LOT about other animals and how we can help. Highly recommended.
Before we headed back to THL, we returned our expensive bikes which one had a broken brake and the other one had a bike stand that wouldn’t stop falling to standing position while we were biking. Then we walked towards Ride On Me to see Antonio. He was again happy to see us even though he almost forgot to save us 2 bikes. We got 2 bikes (mine was painted like a bumble bee and hubby got the “blue lightening”) for $5 each and the first afternoon was free since half a day was already gone. We loved our bikes! We biked back “home” to refresh and then this time we turn left towards Manzanillo direction when we headed out. Pita Bonita was the first restaurant we saw. I remember the excellent reviews about their food so we stopped there for again a late lunch (2pm). Owner is from California and Isreal. I ordered a plate of half hummus and half babagonoush with pita bread and hubby got lamb kebobs. Excellent, excellent choice! The salad, the pickled cabbage, everything was soooooo good that we empty the plates. We loved it so much we went back for lunch 2 days later and ordered the same thing.
Dinner we went to Pura Gula. Everything on the chalkboard menu was 8000 colones. Hubby got a beef tenderloin and I ordered sea bass. Both were just ok. We found the salad was way too big (as if they were trying to fill the plate), but I must say the salad was pretty yummy. Instead of asking you to choose either mashed potatoes or salad, they could’ve given you both in a small portion. And the tiny piece of baguette they gave us was fully of tiny ants. Not impressed.
Day 4 - Punta Uva/Puerto Viejo
It was highly recommend you buy some food from the store and make your own breakfast (we made dinner on the grill too) to save money. THL offered us a free iguana tour in the morning. Our guide Boogie is very knowledgeable, very passionate and knows every plant there and the use of them. Do NOT miss the tour if you stay at this lodge. After this tour, I felt that Costa Ricans are just so lucky to have all these natural resources. We North Americans depend too much on medication and all these chemical stuff. Here you can find some leaves for headaches, dog fleas, shampoo, etc etc. I believe he’s also part of the Iguana Verde Foundation (http://www.iguanaverde.com) which helps educate people about this endangered species.
We liked Boogie a lot and decided to ask him to take us to the Volio Waterfalls. He asked us to meet him the next afternoon and he would take us to see the “Indians” community and the chocolate lady.
In the afternoon we biked towards the town again. I was just complaining about not being able to see a real sloth in the wild and it was already day 4. There we passed by a small group of surfers looking up the tree so we stopped to check out what they were looking at. THERE!!! A young sloth on the tree right in front of me! That must have been my luckiest day.
When we got to Puerto Viejo, we were looking for Soda Lidia’s Place, recommended by Boogie. Excellent choice for cheap and delicious Caribbean food. Hubby got pork chop with French fries and salad. I ordered Beef & onion with rice & beans in Caribbean style. Mmmmm…. Both were so yummy. Everything with drinks was under $20. We again empty our plates with no doubts. Lidia’s Place is 3 blocks south of the beach. You can just ask anyone there.
There’s a butcher shop by the beach close to the oldest store in Puerto Viejo. Bought 3 pieces of steaks for 1900 colones (~$4) and those would be our dinner tonight.
On our way back, we decided to stop at El Duente grocery store. The owner was not friendly at all. So we left and went back to Pirippli. They have more varieties and food was slightly cheaper anyway. We bought 3 potatoes and a large tomato for 520 colones (~$1). We couldn’t afford eating out every night. Honestly, it wasn’t cheap to stay at THL. But we were so happy to have a grill there and Antonio started the fire for us. Have you ever tried steaks cooked on firewood? You’ll never want to have a steak cooked on propane BBQ anymore. LOL And there, dinner for 2 for only $5 (Salt and Pepper were borrowed from Eduart the owner of THL). I had previously asked Antonio to chop a couple of coconuts for me and had stored them in the fridge. After a steak dinner, fresh coconut water was exactly what I wanted.
Working on Day 5 - 8 but need to stop now as it's already 2:24am in Toronto. More to come soon.