Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Sun, Sand, Sloths, and Sandwiches in Puerto Viejo

Posted in Costa Rica on January 22nd, 2010 by Vagablonding – Be the first to comment

The hot water in our place at Coco Loco Lodge didn’t work and the wifi didn’t reach our room so we decided to move. After looking at a few places we decided on Hostel Pagalú which we moved to on Wednesday, January 20th. We LOVE this new place! for $28 a night we have a clean and nice room with a double bed, ceiling fan, bathroom with an amazing hot water shower, lovely common area, free wifi, and a common kitchen. This is the nicest hostel I’ve seen; I highly recommend Hostel Pagalú.

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Kids - Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

On Tuesday, January 19th we spent the day taking a long walk south down the white sand Playa Cocles  and through a forest path along the ocean. We sat and watched surfers for a while; one surfer was doing handstands on his board. We also saw three sloths: one in palm tree, one in a more sloth-friendly tree, and one dead sloth on the ground, with it’s back leg still clutching a branch 🙁

Sloth - Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Island - Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

When we returned we went to dinner at Soda Flip Flop where Ryan got a hamburger for 1,200 colones and I got nachos for 1,500 colones. Then we went to the Mega Super grocery store to buy bread, jam, a mango, and beer before turning in for the night.

Forest - Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

On the morning of Wednesdsay, January 20th we moved to Hostel Pagalu. After that we went to lunch at a place called Bread and Chocolate which we heard was fantastic. It is. I had a delicious veggie sandwich with a huge salad for 2,500 colones, and Ryan had a blt with fruit for 2,500 colones. We split a mint chocolate brownie for 1,000 colones and it was probably the best brownie I have ever eaten. The chocolate is so good because it’s made locally.

Bread and Chocolate Veggie Sandwich - Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

We spent the afternoon hanging out on Playa Negra the black sand beach  just chillin and swimming. I found a stick and played coconut baseball for a while,  and a super cute stray bud dog hung out with us for a bit.

Stray dog - Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

We went to dinner at Soda Flip Flop again where I got a spicy fish taco for 1,450 colones and Ryan ordered spaghetti boloñesa for 2,600 colones.

Then we headed to bed. Tomorrow we are going to rent bikes and ride further south to Punta Uva, supposedly one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Sunset - Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Posted in Costa Rica on January 18th, 2010 by Vagablonding – Be the first to comment

Ryan and I made a last minute decision to take off to Costa Rica for 18 days. So far I think we made the right choice 🙂

Beach - Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

We arrived at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica on Sunday January 17th at 7:30pm. After some searching, we found the driver of the shuttle that we had arranged to take us to our hotel, the Costa Rica Guesthouse, for $22. We only spent one night. The single room with a king bed and private bathroom cost us $45. The rooms were clean and nice, but we were very itchy in the bed. The shared bathrooms looked nice and clean and if I were to stay here again I’d save money and go with a single room with a shared bathroom.

We were supposed to get up early on the morning of Monday, January 18th to catch our 6am bus to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. I set our alarm to wake us up at 4am, but then we slept in until 5:10am. Oops. I rushed around throwing our things back in our packs while Ryan went to the front desk and managed to convey to the clerk in his very limited Spanish (far better than my non-existent Spanish) that we needed a taxi. The taxi arrived at 5:30am. The driver had a fast and crazy driving style and we flew to the bus station in about 10 minutes. I had a huge shit-eating grin on my face the whole time because I love an adventure! After paying the $3 cab fare, we bought two tickets to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca for 4,290 colones each.

Out the window of the bus we could see some stunning lush scenery, including vast cloud forests with waterfalls and rivers. This is truely a gorgeous country. The bus ride took 4 hours and we managed to sleep for a bit of it. The buses don’t have bathrooms but we did take a 15 minute break in Limon about halfway through the ride. The public buses look pretty similar to Greyhound buses inside and out, but without a bathroom in the back.

At 10:10am we arrived in Puerto Viejo on the southern Caribbean coast. The weather here is sunny and fairly hot, but definitely bearble. Our accommodations here are at the Coco Loco Lodge where we have a clean one bedroom bungalow with a full kitchen, double bed, bathroom, and porch with a hammock (yay!). The room is $55 a night which is more than we’d like to pay but since this is high season most places are booked up so we have to take what we can get.

While waiting for our room to be cleaned we took a stroll around the village. The highlight of this walk was the momma sloth and baby sloth we saw chilling in a tree right outside the place we got lunch! I was so excited; sloths are my favorite animals. Our lunch was excellent too: falafel sandwiches for 2,000 colones each.

Sloth - Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

After our walk we went back to our room and got ready to go to the black sand beach. The ocean is too rough to snorkel but we had a blast alternating laying in the hot sun and playing in the waves to cool off. Unfortunatly, laying in the sun was so comfy we both fell asleep and got a little sunburnt. Oops.

Beach sign - Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

When the sun started to set we headed back to our room to clean up and then went to dinner. Ryan got a slice of pizza from Pizza Boruca for 875 colones, then we went to Soda Flip Flop where I got a grande red bean taco for 1,500 colones and we split a plate of chips with some delicious guacamole for 1,500 colones.

We hit up the Super Mart gorcery store on the way home to buy juice, a mango, beer, and water. Everything except fruit products are more expensive here than they are at home. You’re not supposed to drink the water in Puerto Viejo (which I found out after already drinking some earlier in the day, oops AGAIN, hopefully I don’t get sick), though the water in San Jose is safe to drink. But, of course, beer is always a good choice. Travelers should note that there is some forced recycling in place here: you can’t buy bottled beer without bringing in an empty bottle to exchange for it, so if you don’t have a bottle either pay the steeper price, or go find one!

Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary and Kecak Dance

Posted in Indonesia on June 7th, 2009 by Vagablonding – Be the first to comment

Friday, June 5th, 2009

The most hilarious thing happened this morning. We were woken up at 1:30am by two stray cats outside our room making really loud drawn out angry meowing sounds at each other, inches from each other’s faces. I peeked out the window at them while Ryan filled a water bottle to throw at them like a grenade? A man in another room threw his trash basket at them while a woman watched out their window. The cats ran 5 steps down the stairs and kept up the growling. The man threw something else and cats finally stop. Maybe you had to be there but the noises those cats were making had us laughing for the rest of the day.

For breakfast at Artini 3 I had toast with strawberry jam, fried egg, fruit, and more of that godly coffee. I swear I am going to buy this stuff and ship it home by the ton.

After breakfast we went to the Monkey Forest Sanctuary, which is this lush jungle with 3 temples that is inhabited by a band of grey macaques. It costs 15,000 to get in for adults but then you can keep using your ticket pretty much indefinitely, so I’ve heard. Going through the forest is one of the only ways to get to another side of town, so this can come in handy. There at the same time as us was a horde of over a hundred well-off well-dressed school kids aged around 10-14. They were cute and friendly kids, all saying hello to us and asking ‘what is your name.’ Lots of shy girls who clearly wanted to ask me something and kept egging each other on to go up to me, but never did. It was SO fun seeing the monkeys with them. We got all into it too taking pictures and running around and screaming when the monkeys chased us. A monkey jumped on me and hung from my purse when it saw my water bottle. On our way out we saw a tourist with bananas for the monkeys and it didnt take long for a sneaky one to snatch the whole bunch of bananas from him.





For lunch we went to the Puri Garden restaurant because they had free wifi. We played on the internet and ate some pretty good Mie Goreng (fried noodles, veggies, chicken) for 25,500 but it was very greasy and after a while it made my stomach upset. I’m not used to eating meat or greasy food anymore. Ryan walked me back to the hotel and then went an bought me a diet sprite from the Circle K down the road. That and some tums fixed my stomach right up.

mie gorang

We ate dinner at a place called Pundi-Pundi where they also had free wifi. I had a delicious plate of Jukut Urab (mixed vegetables with shredded coconut and sambal) for 15,000 and bali coffee for 7,000.

Jukut Urab

We stayed for a while struggling to stay awake, made it to about 9pm. Also at the restaurant we saw a middle aged white dude with a very young dolled up balinese girl as his date. And by very young I mean like 12, maaaaybe 13. The first of many similar ‘couples’ we will see here, I’m sure.

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

For breakfast at Artini 3 I had french toast with honey, fruit and coffee. Ryan has been having the ‘American Breakfast’ every day which is 2 eggs, 2 pieces of toast, bacon and coffee. We had 4 cups of coffee each this morning so we were pretty jazzed up and decided to hit the market, but first we changed rooms at Artini 3 to one with one big bed instead of 2 twin beds. We like this room better except the hot water doesn’t work.

We got a ride to the market from one of the hotel staff (free ride but we tipped 4,000 anyway). We tried on clothes forever at one lady’s shop, then haggled for too long trying to get a good price on everything we wanted. We ended up just getting Ryan a shirt because we couldn’t come to an agreement on the price for everything else.

balinese woman

At around noon we got comfort food for lunch because we were hot and frustrated. We ate burgers (veggie for me) on giant buns with mayo, fries and strawberry milkshakes, all for about 140,000. It was by far the most expensive meal we’ve had but it made us feel better so whatev, gotta splurge sometimes, right?

After lunch we went back to the market. I bought sunglasses for 20,000 and we each got a sarong for 30,000. Now we can go in temples!

In the evening we went to a Kecak and Fire Dance  performance that lasted for about an hour and a half and cost 75,000. It was VERY cool. There were over a hundred performers, most of them were the men who made all the sounds for the show with their voices and some clapping, no instruments were used. The outfits on the girls were insanely intricate with beautiful cloth and detailed gold headdresses and jewelry. The first part of the show was a story about a girl getting kidnapped by a huge ugly dude that looked like Wario, but was then saved by her friends and the monkey army? The lead girl was strikingly beautiful. The second part of the show, the Sanghyang Dedari dance, was two very young girls, maybe 7, who danced in unison for 20 minutes, their eyes closed the whole time. They are said to be in a trance and are woken up at the end of the dance by the priest who gives them holy water. The last part of the show, the Sanghyang Jaran dance, involved a guy riding on horse made of sticks with a gold head. He kicked burning coconuts around and stomped on them with his bare feet! He was also in a trance and was woken up by the priest at the end. We enjoyed the show a lot and will probably go see another traditional dance soon.

kechak dance

kechak dance

kechak dance