I was really looking forward to my days at Bahia Drake, which is a bit off the beaten track and is not included in all standard tour itineraries. Merel, who I had travelled the last days through Costa Rica with, had told me about a Seaturtle Rescue Center that also has a hostel. And when I asked the day before I got a confirmation for my stay. I read through several blogs and then knew where I had to drive and where I could park the car in order to go by boat to Bahia Drake because the roads become rivers during the rainy season and you can't drive there. But it had been raining all day and the rain just wouldn't stop. Before boarding the boat I bought two big plastic garbage bags and packed both my backpacks in them. - That was one of the best decisions I could have made. The journey through the pouring rain started; and we got soaking wet right from the start.
The boat passes over the river, then through narrow canals between mangrove forests and into the open sea. In the middle of the sea I and the girl, who was apparently in the same hostel, had to change to another boat. I took care of my hand luggage backpack and my food plastic bag and when I got into the other boat, the captain confirmed that my backpack was also transfered. So I drove calmly through the rain and the enormous waves. Once the boat was slammed down so much that I flew half a meter into the air and landed accordingly - great if you have a damaged spine ... Then we came to a beach where we should get off. Looking into the luggage compartment I couldn't find my backpack. Then it turned out that the gentleman referred to my hand luggage backpack when I asked him if my backpack had been taken to the boat. Well... then my luggage was somewhere out there on the Pacific but not with me. He told me that we would call later from the hostel and he would bring it later. So far so good. AS the boat couldn't get too close to the beach, we had to wait for the right moment with the waves and jump off the boat into the water without any luggage (water waist-deep) and the captain handed us our luggage. So I grabbed my plastic wrapped hand luggage backpack and quickly got it out of the water (because I didn't want the next wave to throw my laptop, ukulele, camera, drone, GoPro, mobile phone etc. into the sea). Then we walked 20 minutes to the hostel. By that time the trail looked like this:
Arriving at the hostel, I noticed to all misery that I had forgotten my plastic bag with food and drink, my (empty) purse and my beautiful "Chasing Magic Places" bag incl. travel guide of Central America in the second boat. There I stood now completely soaked with only one of my three bags left. Vanessa, the woman who takes care of the hostel, had only expected guests the day after and had not yet prepared the rooms. No matter, at the dining table we were now under a roof and could sit there happily in the dry watching the rain. During this time I made friends with Tamzyn from England, the other girl from the boat. Thankfully I got a towel and a dry t-shirt from Vanessa, as I was completely wet and of course I had nothing dry to wear. …. And from then on I looked like this:
After a few hours the rain finally calmed down a bit and we went for a walk. We were the only ones far and wide, except for a surfer family from California, who seemed to be from a fashion magazine (and beside which you feel so wonderfully uncool - especially if you are wearing a garbage bag). We walked down the beach when we saw someone walking with a bucket and they were carrying freshly hatched baby turtles who were just about to be released into your life in the big wide sea. So we watched the little ones at the start of their lives and with that the troublesome journey had already paid off. In addition there was the delicious food from Vanessa. Unfortunately I got the news that my backpack hadn't made it to the afternoon boat. Because of the high humidity there was also no hope that my remaining things would dry somehow. Here you see the attempt to dry my completely wet money (I felt like a millionaire when I spread it out like that).
The next day the rain came back and Tamzyn and I exchanged travel tips for Guatemala and Colombia, because we came from exactly opposite directions and would just travel on to the other country. Also we decided to travel on to San Jose together after Bahia Drake.
In fact, the weather was quite okay and we were able to get out and do stuff, so we walked through the jungle and along the beach and visited the Turtle Rescue Station. In the afternoon we could release the baby turtles! The little babies were placed in a bowl in the sun to wake them up. Then they were set in the sand 8 meters away from the water and the race started. Some were super fast and raced to the sea and some needed a lot of time. They managed the long way to the water, and then the wave catches them and flushes them further back to the beach and mostly even on their backs. This happens up to seven times. It's not easy to be a baby turtle. When everyone was finally in the water, we wished them a good trip and enjoyed the sunset.
When I got back to the hostel, all my lost bags were back. My backpack was only wet at one point where the garbage bag was torn open. However, I had packed all my clothes additionally still waterproof, thus the damage wasn't as big. Different with my plastic bag. For two days it rode across the sea through the rain. The mango in the bag was crushed and the travel guide was soaked with a mixture of rain, salt water and fermented mango juice. Yummy!!! It already weighed more than one kilogram before, but now I added another 1.5... The next few weeks it must dry out well...
In the evening Tamzyn and I walked across the beach hoping to see turtles laying eggs. But we couldn't see any right away and we didn't have the stamina to wait. What we saw, however, was one of the most beautiful starlit skies I had ever seen. Far and wide there is of course no light pollution and so the stars shone and we were even delighted with a few shooting stars. 🙂
The next day we visited the Corcovado National Park. The most expensive national park in Costa Rica. The entrance fee incl. guide and transport is 80 USD. But to make the whole trip to the peninsula worthwhile, we did it anyways. After we booked it, Ricardo, our host, explained to us that we could have made a tour through the Rio Claro Primary Forest for a fraction of the money with the same animals. Well - afterwards you are always smarter.
Our Corcovado visit actually started with the boat trip there. Along the coast we drove in great weather towards the southern tip of the peninsula. The visit of the park started quite spectacularly with loads of Coatis, monkeys and all kinds of birds. We did not know where to look first. But then the highlight came: a chilling tapir. The guide said: Now we can go home, we saw a tapir. Awesome! - But when we later went back to the rescue station and reported enthusiastically about our tapir, we were informed that this tapir is a released pet and always hangs in the same place. We felt cheated and from now on we only spoke about the fake tapir 😉
But our day was not over yet, as we wanted to catch up with everything we had missed on the rainy days. At first we spent some time on the beautiful lonely beaches:
Then we went on: After a small cliff jump, we took a canoe up the Rio Claro, put on life jackets and drifted down the river. It all sounds very easy now. But the river was swollen by the rain and in some places it was quite raging. After I was told: No there are no rocks under water, I first hit my hip, then my knee, then my shinbone. Tamzyn came behind me and tried to avoid the spots where I screamed. With a few bruises more but a lot of fun we climbed a waterfall and rubbed our faces with mud. Who needs a spa temple if she has nature... 🙂
This incredibly beautiful day was topped off with a wonderful sunset.
The next morning we said goodbye to our Life for Life Hostel and Ricardo and started the boat trip back to Sierpe. As already suspected in the pouring rain on the way there, it was an incredibly beautiful trip back in the sun with a breathtaking scenery:
Despite the bad weather at the beginning, the stay in Bahia Drake was one of the most beautiful during my whole time in Costa Rica. Simply because of the fact that there are hardly any tourists and that you can still experience Costa Rica in a very genuine way.