So I last left off on our second day in Tortuguero. We had just gotten out of the pool and cleaned up and met up with our tour group outside the botanical garden. This turned out to be pretty boring for me. For one, we had 20 people or so trying to fit through very small paths (the garden is more like a jungle, lots of plants and a walking path arranged through them, and so many tall trees, etc) and so most of the time people couldn't hear what Carlos was saying; and also, he would stop every 5 feet or so to talk about another plant or tree. Some of it was kind of interesting but largely I was just very much like "ok, plants". So we decided to give up on the botanical tour. Since I was in the front of the group -- half the time I was wandering off ahead rather than listening anyway -- we decided to try to press forward rather than turning back. This didn't turn out to be a mistake per se, but holy crap that garden is a big twisty passage all the way through -- it took us quite a while to get out of there.
Oh, I forgot a detail about the first day -- after dinner Chris and I grabbed a flashlight and tried to go back to the frog garden to find frogs, without hte big group of people around. We only found one though, and it was in the same spot it had been in when the whole group was there. We gave up and went back to our room when it started raining.
So anyway, after the botanical walk we went back to pack up and hang out until dinner, except that I was an idiot and fell asleep for 2 hours. This night dinner turned out to be... well, it was odd. There was still the normal buffet table at one side of the restaurant, but the side we came in on, they had some kind of Mongolian Grill style pasta setup. PASTA. So you'd get a bowl and fill it with things like veggies, spices, meats, olives, mushrooms, etc -- and take it up to a chef who'd throw your stuff in a pan and then add your choice of pasta, and then your choice of sauce, and sautee it all together for you. So we did that. We ended up sitting with an older couple from Spokane that night who had been in Costa Rica for 3 weeks at that point and were heading home shortly; they hadn't been on most of our tours and they were like "there's a point at which you get sick of doing another walking tour and seeing the same animals, so we've been sitting on our nice rocking chairs on the porch and relaxing a lot."
Oh yeah, something else that happened that day was that our toilet broke. Like, BROKE. The handle that controls the flush valve, the stick controlling it snapped off. We told the front desk about it and they said they'd send someone up at 5pm, so we were also there when they fixed the toilet.
I forget if I mentioned this already, but there was no wifi in the rooms there AFAICT, and only the bar area had a wifi, which only had internet half the time anyway. I also couldn't get a 3G signal from our rooms, only from the area near the reception and port. So we were off the internet for two days for the most part there. The thing is that for the most part I didn't really care about that since we were almost always busy doing stuff while we were there, or sleeping.
Speaking of sleeping, of course I couldn't get to sleep until like 1:30am that night due to my nap. And we had to be up and ready and packed and at the boats at 8:45 to go to our next destination. So it was a bit of a rough morning for me.
We had breakfast with the Germany duo, who had gotten up early to find more birds. Something stupid that happened was that we got surrounded by flies because I had a packet of jam and only had it half opened on the table -- the amount of flies surrounding food in general was kind of disturbing but this was even worse, so I took the jam packet and put it on a ledge instead so the flies would go over there. Yuck. Sort of ruined my appetite for the normal rice-and-beans breakfast.
On the way out I saw a smaller iguana in a tree just walking near the dock! That part was pretty cool, that I had first learned to spot them, and second that they were around.
There aren't really roads to the Laguna Lodge, anyway, you pretty much have to take a boat to get there. I don't think there are drivable roads in Tortuguero Town either. They are 100% ecological there and so the most polluting things as far as I could tell were people burning things, and maybe the motors from the motorboats.
On our boat ride to the buses, at one point they stopped the boat and told us to put on our life jackets. We had sort of wondered why in general, when sailing along, we had passed a lot of boats where everyone was wearing them, but we weren't. Well, a little while later we ran into a boat full of policemen! Apparently the drivers of the tourist boats will warn each other about things like that, since a bit further after we passed the policemen, our driver shouted out to the other boat to put on their jackets. I guess it's like telling people to buckle up -- something you should do, but that is less comfortable, and that you could get in trouble for not doing. The policemen in the boat mostly just looked in on us and waved hi though, I'm not sure what else they were supposed to do besides check on lifejackets and other regulations.
We saw a few birds on the ride back, and a few cows too, and at one point there was another boat where someone dropped his hat into the water so our guide (Giovanni, not Carlos) went and got the hat out of the water (and then wouldn't give it back to them but kept it until we hit shore), Also a huge moth found its way onto our boat and then wouldn't leave; it was attached to the seat next to me for the entire ride.
We got back to the way station around 10:15 and then it turned out there wouldn't be a bus until 10:30 at least anyway. We went to hang out in their restaurant, where they sold a few local snacks but mostly sold shit like Doritos, Skittles, etc. We didn't buy any, though I did pay a dollar to use their Delux Banos again just in case.
Eventually the bus showed up with its glorious airconditioning and we rode to Guapiles, having lunch at the same place we'd had breakfast two days earlier, though since it was raining we couldn't really go into the butterfly garden this time. Chris and I ended up eating alone because we technically sat at a table we shouldn't have been at, but whatever.
At 1:30 people started transferring luggage out and onto other transports. We were catching an Interbus shuttle out to Cahuita/Limon/Manzanillo/whatever for our next part of the stay; we were on the same shuttle as Sonja and her husband, though they were staying not as far out as we were, so we were infact the last stop of people to get off the bus. The trip here took about 3 hours and at least there was a bathroom break at one point; we were also on the shuttle with like 6 other people who at some point turned off the AC which was quite annoying since it was very stuffy in the back where I was sitting. Anyway. Another fun thing was stopping at the gas station for bathrooms, I noticed it was 536 colones per liter for gas, which after doing a bunch of math worked out to around $4 per gallon.
Eventually we got to the Almonds and Corals hotel. I had read some reviews of this place which almost all turned out to be false in one way or another, or more like, I think they were specific to the experiences that other travellers had here. Ours were pretty different and in most cases, worse. But anyway, I should now get up for real and prepare to leave here anyway, so hopefully my next entry will come to you from a luxury 5-star hotel in Arenal!