sunnuntai 15. tammikuuta 2012


Pyörät on paketoitu laukkuihin (jotka odottivat meitä hotellin siivouskomerossa, niin kuin olimme sopineet), ja valmiina lastattavaksi aamulla lentokoneeseen. Jos kaikki sujuu suunnitelmien mukaan, saavumme Suomeen tiistai-iltana. Siellä kuuluu olevan hiukan lumisempaa kuin täällä?

Bus station art at Cahuita

Päivä 26: Cahuita-San Jose-Alajuela

Kaikki hauska loppuu aikanaan, oma koti kullan kallis, muu maa mustikka... Mutta haikealta tuntui silti pakata pyörät bussiin ja palata San Josen kautta Alajuelaan. Tuntuu siltä, kuin olisimme lähteneet matkalle ainakin puoli vuotta sitten, niin paljon on ehtinyt tapahtua tiellä - silti paluu maksamattomien laskujen, pyykkien ja pölypallojen keskelle ei oikein houkuttele!

Theme of the day: funny houses

We went on a short evening bike ride and saw some pretty cool houses and other consctructions by the road. Kaisa would've loved to visit the Cocoa Museum we bumped into about 10 kilometers South of Cahuita, but unfortunately the organic chocolate tasting had closed about half an hour earlier. She was, however, consoled by the gigantic lizard gate.

Päivä 25: Cahuita

Snorklaus jäi meiltä tällä kertaa väliin, koska vesi oli eilistäkin korkeammalla eikä sukellusretkiä vetävän kipparin mukaan meressä olisi oikein näkynyt mitään. Sen sijaan aallot sopivat oikein mainiosti leipomosta (!) vuokratulla bodyboardilla surffailuun.

Seuraamme liittyi jo keskustassa koira, joka jolkotteli mukanamme rannalle ja vielä veteenkin, kunnes aallot kävivät liian suuriksi. Hurtta vaikutti hyvinvoivalta joskin vähän kurittomalta, ja jätimme se lähtiessämme leikkimään rannalle kahden lajitoverinsa kanssa. Uinnin jälkeen ne kieriskelivät nautinnollisesti hiekassa ja pudistelivat ihanan kuraista vettä kaikkien lähistöllä olevien auringonpalvojien päälle.

perjantai 13. tammikuuta 2012

The giant beast

I promise this will be (today's) last sloth post. But I just have to point out that this isn't a giant sloth statue, but instead a life-size statue of megatherium (e.g. the giant beast), a seven-ton supersloth that roamed these forests up until the last ice age, about 8 000-11 000 years ago when it became extinct. Or did it? Some people claim that a few survived and live in the most remote areas of Central America...

The wildlife explosion

The canoe tour in the rain forest was almost too good to be true: the canoe slowly passing through the water, the guide pointing out all kinds of animals around us, the trees almost reaching down to our heads... But I guess that in an environment as lush as this you don't need to build cages to be able to present a whole lot of animals to visitors.

On a short trip we saw all the following animals: sloths (of course), a turtle, a basilisk lizard, bats (sleeping upside down under a tree trunk), lots of different colorful birds, even more different crabs, ants (carrying big pieces of leaves) and a small nonvenomous snake.

Now Kaisa's been able to cross almost all of the animals off her must-see list, but she also bought a new guidebook at the sanctuary, called The Wildlife of Costa Rica, so the list might well grow a lot longer overnight... This puts quite a lot of pressure on our last few days here!

Sloth mania!


Today Leka and Kaisa did a half-day trip to the nearby Sloth Sanctuary, a refuge for orphaned and/or injured sloths where visitors can also go on a canoe tour in shallow channels criscrossing the rainforest. Lina decided to stay at the hostel, as she's grown quite attached to the seaside hammocks.

Actually it should be mentioned that we were originally supposed to go snorkeling today, but the sea was so high that we were adviced to switch it to tomorrow morning. Kaisa had been pining for the sloths ever since we saw their information center on the way here, and now it seemed that the forces of nature had decided that she should be allowed to go see them.

At the sanctuary we learned that it's totally old-fashioned to talk about three-toed or two-toed sloths, as all of them actually have three toes on their hind legs. It's the front legs that are different, so three-fingered and two-fingered are the correct terms. The two species are slightly different in size, build and temperament.

The sanctuary receives sloths from people who have found them in the nature, and attempts to nurse them back to health and release them into the forest. However, sloths that have been orphaned at an early age can't make it in the wild, as they lack the instruction their mother would've given them during the year they would've clung to the mother's belly. This includes which plants are safe to eat and which not. So some of the sloths become permanent residents and the sanctuary, and we got to meet a few of them.

The most famous sloth of them all is Buttercup, a 20-year old three-fingered sloth who kind of started the whole thing when she was brought to the owners as a baby. Buttercup was hanging out in the cafeteria, and unlike many of the others adult sloths seemed to enjoy our attention and happily pose for the camera.

We also got to visit the nursery where baby sloths are bottle-fed with goat milk and later on munch on boiled, peeled and chopped vegetables. But Kaisa's favorite still was Toyota, a male who had been found critically injured when climbing on a powerline, with serious burns on all his limbs. He had been lying wounded on the ground for weeks so his left arm was gangrenous and had to be amputated, but miraculously he recovered and is now living happily at the sanctuary.

These curious animals somehow seem very helpless but simultaniously very enduring, being able to heal themselves even when seriously injured and survive for millenia in forests filled with predators despite their slowliness. Their biggest enemy today are – surprise, surprise – humans, with roads built in their paths, deforestation destroying their habitat and pesticides poisoning their food. But at least some people are trying to do some of the damage.


Yes, we know that you're never supposed to feed wild animals. But in Lina's defence we can say that she only gave them a banana, which we might assume to belong to their natural diet.

Also, we can now proudly state that Lina's this far been bitten (or maybe nibbled would be a more approproate term) by a dog, a cat, a cow, a parrot and a raccoon. Plus various insects, of course. We're very much hoping that none of them carry any serious diseases. And that she won't meet a crocodile...

Pyöräilijän vapaapäivä

Mitä pyöräilijä tekee, kun hänen ei tarvitse pyöräillä? Tietysti pyöräilee huvikseen!


Lekaa on yhä vaikeampi saada pois vedestä, tänäänkin hän kävi pulikoimassa meressä kaksi kertaa. Ja onkohan ihan normaalia, että varpaiden ja sormien välissä kasvaa outo ihopoimu, ihan kuin räpylä...?

Päivä 24: Cahuita-Sloth Sanctuary-Cahuita

Pyörämatkan pituus: 20 kilometriä hupipyöräilyä ilman kärryjä
Sää: Aurinkoa, hentoa tuulta
Tie: Rauhallista, vähän kuoppia asvaltissa
Maasto: Pelkkää tasaista

torstai 12. tammikuuta 2012

Oops, I forgot the camera!

There are two beaches in Cahuita: Playa Negra, where our hostel's located, and Playa Blanca on the other side of the town center in the Parque Nacional Cahuita. Today we decided to take a walk in the national park and check out the white-sand beaches there.

Halfway to the park we noticed that we had left both cameras at the hostel. Well, not everything needs to be photographed... except that of course we saw a monkey, two raccoon-like creatures, a crab and some lizards that would've all been very cool to catch on the memory card. The park's quite popular, as the beach is long and beautiful and the trail easy to walk.

Apparently there also are baby caimans living in the park, but they don't like to show themselves to visitors in the middle of the day. It kind of felt like a relief that we didn't see one, as missing that photo op would've just been too much. From now on we're not even going to the hostel kitchen without a camera! 

Päivä 23. Cahuita

Tänään on otettu aika rennosti.

keskiviikko 11. tammikuuta 2012

The Caribbean feeling

There's an amazing natural pool outside the hostel, with beautiful (volcanic?) rocks and plants surrounding it, and waves coming in directly from the ocean. We splashed around in the warm(ish) water for a while, and then got up to get some books from the town and settled in the hammocks reading them until it got dark.