spikesgirl58 (spikesgirl58) wrote,

Panama Day 11 – Buenos Dias, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Weather – overcast with a chance of rain, 30 c, calm seas

I have to confess that I was really anticipating our stop here and Costa Rica did not disappoint. While Julio, our narrator, wasn’t as entertaining as Elvis from the day before, it was still a nice excursion.

We had a later boarding time (ten a.m.), so there was time for some reading or napping, in Sparky’s case. It had rained the night before, but the morning was sunny. We rolled into Puntarenas at about 9:30 and it was nice to have a docking, even if the pier was very long. Because of the extremely shallow harbor, we had to wait for the tides to get in (and out).

We had a large group, the largest, two full buses, so they swapped us out with one bus doing the train ride first and the river cruise second (us) and the other group doing the opposite. The ride was thankfully much shorter than before and we drove those lush landscape and green fields.

The train was a narrow gauge used to bring coffee from the central valley to the port on the Pacific side. It was pretty much too wet to do much of anything on the Caribbean side where, according to our guide, they can receive up to 300 inches of rain a year. Coffee used to be their chief export, but because of competition, many of the farmers have started to diversify and now pineapples is their top export. They are also very much into environmental conservation.

While we didn’t see any animals while on the train, well, bats and the girl behind me, Emily, freaked when she saw a spider – I am happy to say that I didn’t… see it, that is. We did see a lot of the countryside and many homes. They see a bit more conscientious about trash here and there wasn’t as much as there was in Nicaragua.

The rail cars were restored to their original splendor (1950’s) with a knotty pine interior and comfortable seating. There was a nice cooling wind blowing and the ride was pleasant. The train tracks used for nearly half a century, was damaged in an earthquake in the 90’s and only repaired for use in 2010. It is primarily just a tourist ride now.

Another short boat ride took us to Jungle Crocodile Safari, our second adventure. The boats were impeccably clean and comfortable. By now the day had grown cloudy, so it wasn’t hot at all and there was still a cooling breeze blowing. We puttered along, pausing to greet various crocodiles along the way. They are all named, although not often as flattering as could be. I’m sure Madonna would have something to say about having a 15 foot crocodile named after her.
We saw so many birds, a pair of scarlet macaws in flight, herons of all colors, swifts, cranes, and more. While we didn’t see all the birds listed in the brochure that we were given, we saw a goodly number.

After a half hour, we headed back to the dock and were given a feast of fresh fruits (as it was now two p.m. and we’d had breakfast at seven, they were especially tasty). Then it was time to shop and I found postcards! :D Guess what I will be doing tomorrow at sea? Found some great gifts for people and happily re-boarded the bus for the ship.

Sparky, who’d had a blast, allowed that she was tired of riding on buses. She likes going and doing stuff, just not the bus ride in between. I can understand that. It took about a half hour to get back to Puntarenas and the ship. She wondered if there would be time for shopping, so after we got off the bus, we climbed back on board the shuttle (it was a very long pier) and headed back to the beach for some shopping. I picked up a tee shirt and some coffee, she didn’t buy anything because she felt it was cheap tourist crap. Honestly, I saw some pretty nice stuff, but each to his or her own. TBG headed back to the cabin instead.

We got back to the spot to pick up the shuttle and it was still at the ship. I decided that as the sun was gone and I really needed to use the restroom, I was going to walk. Sparky joined me and we were nearly to the ship before the shuttle passed us going back to the beach. So glad I didn’t wait.

When I got back to the cabin, there was a note – in pool- which sounded like a great idea to me. I changed and headed to the pool. The water was the perfect temperature and there were even fries involved. :D We swam until a thunderstorm drove us inside. While the lightning was still fairly distant, we didn’t want to take the chance.

We showered, changed and by then it was time for dinner. Strange how the night before, we were all hot and wanted to be cool. This evening, with the storm approaching, were cool and we looked forward to some yummy soup to warm us.

Sparky started with a salmon and cream cheese pot pie as an app, then moved onto the roasted turkey and corn soup and her entrée was salmon. TBG started with shrimp and scallop cocktail, followed by the soup and then lamp chops. I had a virgin bloody Mary with crawfish cocktail, the soup and the lamb.

For dessert, Sparky had one scoop of the two ice creams and the sorbet (triple chocolate, almond, and melon). TBG had vanilla and triple chocolate. Me, despite the walking and the swimming, skipped dessert.

While we ate, we were treated to yet another lightning storm to beat the band. It continued for hours, much to our delight.

Thus with our tummies full, we came back to the cabin and watched the first half of Pirate of the Caribbean, which Sparky had never seen. Bedtime came early and we all happily tumbled into bed and looked forward to a little rest tomorrow on our sea day. Nighty night!

Tags: costa rica, cruising, food, friends, travel
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