Costa Rica: Day 4 Saraipui
Sadly it was time to leave Tortugeuro. We brought our bags down with us to breakfast and settled up our bar tabs with reception. A final boat ride took us back to where the coach had been parked for the past two days and despite the continued rain we kept the windows open for as long as we could. Packing tip: camping towels are awesome after being caught in a rain storm.
From there we headed north, into the mountains to Saraipui. A place name that I still can’t pronounce. Before arriving at our accommodations for the evening we took a detour to learn about chocolate. From the visitor center there was hike through the jungle to where the cacao trees were and as we gathered together before heading out the guide ominously asked us if anyone was afraid of heights. Everyone said they weren’t. I was lying. I understood the question when we reached the suspension bridge that spanned the river. I’m usually fine with bridges–as long as I have something solid under my feet and a railing I’m comfortable. This bridge though had metal grating as it’s floor, the kind that you can see straight through. Definitely not happy with that. My choices were stay or make it over the bridge, so I squared my shoulders and picked a point directly across the bridge and walked. I didn’t look around, I just walked forward.
Fun fact, raw chocolate (called cacao) tastes disgusting. We tried a couple different states of it in the process between raw bean and chocolate bar. The part I liked the best was the warm hot chocolate made the traditional way from cacao. This, thankfully, had some sugar in it to cut the bitterness and a little bit of cayenne to add some spice. Also, a warm drink was just what we all needed because it was really quite cold.
The temperature was something that surprised a lot of us–we all equated jungle with tropical temperatures. However, up in the mountains it can get really cold. I was grateful for my sweater and rain jacket, between the two I was quite comfortable. Others were not so much.
Back across the bridge, and back on to the coach. Deep into the seeming middle of no-where we drove until we stopped at small house in a clearing. This tiny outpost was the front office of our accommodations for the night–we’d be staying in tents up the hill side! We were issued a tent number and a flash light then sent off up into the forest. I’ve camped fairly extensively, having spent about 16 years as a member of the Girl Guides of Canada, but I have never stayed in a tent like that. It was big enough for two double beds, had electricity, flush toilets and running (hot!) water. What it didn’t have was air con, and the small fan in the corner did little really push around the jungle humidity.
Dinner was just down the path at the dinning room/entertainment room/only other building that wasn’t accommodation. After dinner we just continued to occupy the dinning room. We had been warned that there wasn’t anything close in terms of night life and so we had stocked up on snacks and drinks accordingly when we stopped at a grocery store earlier in the day. Now we sat around sharing drinks and listening to music. Some people played cards, others just talked and laughed well into the night.