Thursday, February 27
After spending five nights at Jaguar’s Jungle it was time to head to our next destination – Pacheco Cabins in Drake Bay. Drake Bay is a small seaside village that is located at the northern point of the Osa peninsula. It is home to some budget and mid-range hotels as well as some more luxurious and expensive ecolodges. It is a great place to see a large number of birds as well as a variety of species.
It was about a 30 minute boat ride to Drake Bay from Jaguar’s Jungle. It was a bit stressful because our boat was late. We had arranged with Erik Pacheco to store our luggage so we could head out on one of his morning tours. Fortunately it didn’t turn into a problem. When we arrived I called him and he drove down the hill to the beach to meet us. His cabins were at the top of the hill, so it would have been a bit of a challenge walking up with all of our bags.
Mike at the entrance to Pacheco Cabins
We spent two nights at Pacheco Cabins. (Pachecotours.com). There are three cabins here. We were excited to have air-conditioning after five nights without it. Cabin 3 was very nice and had a queen bed and bunk beds. We had a lovely balcony with some chairs and a hammock. Mike made use of the balcony each morning because he gets up earlier than I do. It was a perfect spot for him to sit and read as the sun came up. He enjoyed the view as well as watching all the birds passing by, including a large number of pelicans.
We dropped our bags off in Erik’s office and joined the others that were waiting to go on the Floating Tour. Our transportation to the drop off spot was a bit unusual for us: we ended up sitting in the back of a pick-up truck, something I had never done before and believe is illegal in Canada. It was actually fun and added to the Costa Rican experience. The mud roads were pretty bumpy!
We had to drive fairly far. We needed to start at the far end of the river because we would be floating back down to the ocean. Once we arrived we still needed to do a decent hike to get to the river. The trail was a bit technical but not too difficult. We did however, have one woman in our group that didn’t really have appropriate hiking footwear and seemed rather out of shape. We had to keep stopping to wait for her. I later found out that she didn’t know that there would be hiking involved. I really enjoyed the hike because it wasn’t a well maintained trail so it was much more natural and secluded.
When we reached the waterfall it was time to prepare for the float. We were given life jackets and shown how to put them on like diapers so we could sit in them and float down the river feet first.
We were here in the dry season so the floating tour was more of a float and scrabble tour. Every so often we would have to climb over rocks where the water wasn’t deep enough and then get back in the water. This was our only day without full sun. We had a bit of misty rain during this part of the tour. It was very warm and humid and we were already wet so it didn’t really matter.
When we got closer to the ocean the water became deeper and the skies cleared. As I floated I enjoyed talking with the slow woman. Mike got into a conversation with her male friend and they were the last to exit the river.
Now we had to boot it back to the truck. We were running late for lunch so the guides set a very fast pace. They were walking so fast I couldn’t really stop to take any pictures. Fortunately we would be hiking up this beach the next day. In their hurry the guides failed to check on everyone and the slow woman actually got lost. We waited for her for quite a while and then a guide went back to find her.
We enjoyed our lunch at Choza Bar. When we were finished we walked back to our cabin.
There were only two roads in the tourist area and it took about 15 minutes to walk the entire length. We stopped in a couple of shops. It was very interesting to see how different it was from back home. One store was packed floor to ceiling with merchandise with odd things grouped together like gas and pool toys. I wanted to pick up some hair conditioner but the containers were all in Spanish. The people working there didn’t speak English well so it took a bit of time to figure out what to buy.
We saw some interesting things on our walk. There was a guy riding a motor bike while holding a full sized cake in one hand. We also saw multiple people sharing a motorbike including small children without helmets. I wanted to take pictures but thought it would be rude.
When we arrived back at the cabin, Balloo, the owners dog, was hanging around our door. We put our plastic coke bottles out for recycling and he grabbed one and started playing. We let him come in our room and had fun watching him. We later found out that he prefers these over dog toys. We got our things ready for the next days hike and then relaxed on the balcony.
After that we headed back down the street to find somewhere to have dinner. Even though Drake Bay is very small, there are several places to eat. We chose a restaurant near the end of the road that looked a bit fancier than the rest. All of the restaurants are open air. We found it quite hot while we were eating and were jealous of the staff at the bar with their fan. This was the first time our bill wouldn’t be added to our room bill and we remembered to ask for it when we were ready. It is considered rude for the waiter to bring the bill before you ask for it.
Mike ordered ribs and I had steak- both of our meals were excellent. After dinner we wandered back to our room and relaxed with a book. I brought a couple of books down with me that talked about the history and wildlife of Costa Rica. It was fun to read them while here. While here, I heard about a book by Roman Dial that tells the story of him and his family. His son came alone to hike in Corcovado and became lost. Although a sad story, I enjoyed reading it when I got home.
Fun Fact: Costa Rica has two health care systems. One is public and even tourists can use it for emergencies. The other is private but apparently quite affordable.