Saturday, June 18, 2016
Costa Rica Part 10: The Pacific Coast
The beach communities
Parque Nacional Marino La Baulas, While the central and southern coasts are warm and humid, Guanacaste's coast is hot and dry. Sunblock and plenty of water are essentials for those considering a visit. The park consists of Langosta, Ventanas, and Grande beaches and a protected undersea area extending 12 miles out to sea. The estuaries and mangrove swamps behind the beaches are also included. In total, the protected area covers 175 sq km (109 sq mi). Leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriasea) are the biggest turtles in the world and can weigh as much as 907 kg (2000 lbs). These beaches provide their most important nesting areas along the whole Pacific Coast. While local environmentalists are doing their best to protect the creatures, it is a very difficult fight and the Leatherbacks' future is in doubt. Unfortunately, we saw no live Leatherbacks during our short visit. However, we did visit the small museum and viewed a informative video. Caravan Tours has been very supportive of local efforts to aid the turtles.
The snake, about 1.22 m (4 ft) long, was slowly slithering across the highway as our bus approached. Being environmentally conscious, our driver quickly stopped to avoid crushing him. In the shot above, the snake has safely crossed the road and is making his way into the forest. You can see the tail rattles in the lower left of the photo. This poisonous species can grow as large as 2 m (6 ft) and its lightning-fast strike can be very serious, even fatal. The poison not only renders its prey immobile but contains neurotoxins to break down tissues. You probably don't want to trip over this guy while thrashing through the jungle.
J.W. Marriott property was beautiful, we found its remoteness to be confining and its atmosphere a bit too manicured. The only way to visit Pinilla to sample the local culture was by taxi, costing $14 (USD) per head. In addition, drink prices at J.W. Marriott were exorbitant. A beer cost $5.00 and a half a glass of house wine was an eye-popping $10.00. On the up-side, our rooms were comfortable, the hotel food was good, and staff was friendly and attentive.
Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica Pacific operates this tram. The ticket price was included in the cost of our Caravan Tour but, for those going "a la carte", the cost is $60 (USD) per adult and $30 for a child. The turnoff from the Coast Highway (#34) is at Jaco, a few miles south of Bahia Herradura.
monitors are an invasive species. They probably arrived in Costa Rica as pets. When released, they rapidly adapted to their new environment, probably at the expense of some native species.
This completes Part 10 of my Costa Rica series. I hope you have enjoyed it and, if so, you will leave your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below or email them to me directly. If you leave a question in the Comments section, PLEASE also leave your email address so that I can respond.
Hasta luego, Jim