We flew from Seattle to Houston to San Jose, Costa Rica, then boarded a small 12-seater for the last leg into the jungle to land at the Puerto Jimenez Airport located on the Golfo Dolce near the Panama border. Every plane is met by the ground crew shown here. They are fully equipped to handle any emergency - as long as it doesn't require anything more than a fire extinguisher and three orange traffic cones... that's it! The pilots get out, stroll into the village where they use the toilet facilities in a villager's home. To buy tickets for the trip home, we went to the house (two rooms, dirt floor) of the local agent, gave her cash, she wrote our name on a list - she had a clipboard, so we knew it was official, and told us to watch for the plane the next morning "sometime." The plane buzzed the runway once then circled back, there were two reasons for the flyover; 1) it chased the kids, dogs, pigs and goats off of the runway, and 2) it served as the arrival announcement, and, consequently, the departure announcement as well. To board, we gave our name to the same village agent who crossed us off the list with her pencil - amazingly uncomplicated.
During our stay we rode horseback into the mountainous jungle to see coffee plantations and a tiny farm. We took a jeep safari through Matapalo, a huge jungle nature preserve. We swam in jungle waterfalls and went deep-sea fishing (Dustin snagged a Marlin, we saw the fin, but it escaped) and we became converts to the wonders of fresh-caught yellow-fin sushi.
|Poison arrow frog|
We saw and heard bands of Spider Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys and Howler Monkeys in the trees. A playgroup of juvenile Squirrel Monkeys edged closer and closer to the hairless apes gaping up at them from the base of their tree. When they were nearly at arms length the adults dashed down and chased the brave little explorers back to the safety of the upper canopy. We saw jewel-colored poison dart frogs up close, toucans in the trees, and moss-covered sloths hanging from branches. We stopped in the road to let a troupe of coatimundis scuttled across.
Scarlet Macaws hung upside down from almond trees to get a better look at us as we walked near their crowded colony, and they woke us in the morning with their loud plans for divorce - bird style! Dozens of vibrant colored parrots fluttered from tree to tree, and the haunting calls of the Howler monkeys rolled like waves of sound through the jungle. We were warned not to get too close to the Howler trees as they were known to fling feces at intruders. You don't have to tell me twice!