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Early retirement travels - week 3 Costa Rica

We planned to base ourselves in Tortuguero for our second week in Costa Rica. Six or seven days on the northern Caribbean coast sounded like a good idea right up until the guy at the tour office almost fell over laughing at us. Two days and one night would be enough he said. So much for our pre travel internet research!

Taking his advice, we extended our stay in Puerto Viejo for some extra walking, animal spotting and beach time. We enjoyed our walks in Cahuita National Park, along the coastal path in Puerta Viejo and on the beaches of Puerta Uva and Playa Grande, although I'm sure Sally's highlight was our meal in Koki restaurant. She wanted a nice night out, and Koki appeared to be the smartest restaurant in town, but still with a cool beach vibe. And the clincher, we might see a sloth climbing down the tree growing through the middle of the restaurant. And luckily, we did. The food and ambiance were great but I'm sure, for Sally, they came a distant second compared to the close up view of the sloths.

Towards the end of the week, we bid farewell to Puerta Viejo to head to Tortuguero. As well as finding that we didn’t need to spend much time in Tortuguero, we also discovered that we couldn’t drive there. Access is by boat, so we booked a tour that included the minibus and boat transfers, accommodation, afternoon village tour, night turtle watching and a morning kayak nature tour. It wasn’t cheap, our two days, one night cost £348 / € 390 / $456.

I like to see the different animals, but the wildlife is really Sally’s thing. However, I must admit that both the turtle watching (no photos, they’re not allowed so as to not scare the turtles) and the morning kayak nature tour were special – the highlight of my time in Costa Rica so far. It was nesting season for the Green Turtle and we were fortunate to see different turtles emerging from the sea, laying eggs, covering the nest and returning to the sea – pretty much the entire cycle. I felt privileged to witness this, particularly realising that not too many people get to do so. The morning kayak tour was also very good, with our guide pointing out things that I would never have spotted otherwise.

In terms of animals seen this week, I can list Green Turtle, terrapin, two fingered sloth, three fingered sloth, Howler monkey, White Faced monkey, Spider monkey, anteater, porcupine, caiman, racoon, iguana, Jesus Christ lizard (so named because they can walk on water), poison dart frog, as well as a variety of insects, butterflies and birds that I struggle to name beyond the likes of eagles and vultures. I suspect I’ve missed some out too, so I’m reckoning it’s not a bad weekly haul of wildlife spotting.

Sunday = Hammock day

We ended the week moving away from the Caribbean coast and into the interior of Costa Rica, near to the town of La Fortuna. After some early mornings and late nights either for travel or wildlife spotting, we treated ourselves to a lazy Sunday - a morning run (so that’s not so lazy), a bit of life admin and blog work (also not so lazy), but followed by a lot of lazing in a hammock reading a book, just the way Sundays should be.

For my healthy eating and fitness targets, I managed three runs which gives me a 6 out of 10, and I’d say the same score for healthy eating. The travel days lean towards snacking rather than healthy eating, and we had three travel days this week. I'm still on the could do better scores, so let's see how I do next week.

Daily diary and costs

I'm including a list of what we did during our week and the approximate costs - I'm using this part of my blog as a mini diary for myself, but feel free to read if you're interested.

Week 3 - what we've done:

Monday – Travelled back from Bocas del Toro to Puerto Viejo

Tuesday - Puerto Viejo. Morning run. Visited Cahuita National Park

Wednesday - Puerto Viejo. Coastal path walk followed by some beach time. Financial admin in the afternoon. Meal at Koki restaurant in the evening.

Thursday - Puerto Viejo. Morning run. Walked on the beach at Puerta Uva and Playa Grande. Worked on blog in the afternoon.

Friday – Travel from Puerta Vieja to Tortuguera. Afternoon village tour, turtle watching at night.

Saturday – Tortuguero. Early morning kayak nature tour. Travel from Tortuguera to La Fortuna.

Sunday – La Fortuna. Morning run. A mixture of life admin, blog and relaxing in a hammock.

Week 3 - we spent a total of £946 / €1,059 / $1,239 for 2 people on:

Accommodation £133 / €150 / $175

Meals/Coffee/Snacks £267 / €299 / $350

Transport £157 / €175 / $206 Car hire & fuel

Tours/attractions £363 / €406 / $475 Mostly our trip to Tortuguero

Laundry £8 / €9 / $10

Toiletries/sun cream £18 / €20 / $23


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