The Corcovado National park. Located in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. "It is widely considered the crown jewel in the extensive system of national parks and biological reserves spread across the country. The ecological variety is quite stunning. National Geographic has called it 'the most biologically intense place on Earth'. The park conserves the largest primary forest on the American Pacific coastline and one of the few remaining sizeable areas of lowland tropical rainforests in the world"
It sounded quite impressive and we just had to check it out. We made our way to Puerto Jimenez, a small fishing town near the entrance to the park. Here is where we signed up for adventure full of surprises.
"You need at least three days for the park. One day to hike to Sirena, a station in the park, one day to hike around in the park, and one day to hike back from the park. The Sirena station is 18km from Carate, you need at least 7 hrs to hike there." Panama informed us, a guy at the Internet café who is also a tour guide.
We purchase a permit, $10 per day per person in the park, $4 per person per day for camping they didn't have beds available. And we rented a tent for 3 people for $8 per day.
It wasn't until we were renting a tent from a local tourist shop, that we found out, that on our 18 km hike we will have to pass a river with crocodiles and bull sharks during high tide.
"Bull sharks!?!?! What!!! Bull shit! No way. I am not going"
The girl at the shop told us when she was crossing the river it was all the way to her chest, and she barely made it through with her bag.
This is when panic entered, and we were concern how in the world we were going to make it over with sharks, crocodiles and us being dry. So, the girls went to a store and bought a blow-up mattress. "It's heavy but we need it."
Packed, dressed and ready to boogie. We left our hotel at 5:30 am, and headed towards a taxi collectivo. With excitement and still sleepy eyes I realized that my bag was quite heavy. Food, tent, and other essential shit there was nothing we could have left behind to make it easier. So the three of us, with backpacks weighting more or less 10kg hopped on the colectivo with a new beginning.
Two hrs in the collectivo on a bumpy road we made it to our trek start.
"wow this is just stunning" on the left was the pacific wild ocean, on the right chaotic green jungle.
Our trek started with 3km on the beach towards the entrance of the national park. Similarly to our hike in Nicaragua it was all laughs and jokes at first.
Then boom!!!! Here is our first obstacle, after 300 meters we came across water!
"ayyy already we have to take our shoes off!!"
We made it across and kept going. No shoes. It was tough, the sand not our friend and drizzles started, Ohh boy we are in for it!
Reached the official entrance station, signed the book and took off with rapid speed as we needed to beat the high tide.
"High tide is at 6, 7, try to cross the river before 4pm." said the ranger at the station.
We took off and really quickly established our places on this trek. Iza the leader, Jenny in the middle, and I in the back making sure nobody was going to be left behind, and the last to get bitten.
Few hours passed and we came across spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, white-faced capuchin, mantled howler, coati, anteater, and shit load of birds including scarlet macaw, harpy eagle and colonies of ant traffic. Very little people, here and there a group would pass with a tour guide. Everybody seemed to have tour guides but we really didn't want one. Thanks to our last tour guide in Nicaragua, we knew to create our own speed. Plus our tour guide was Iza.
Iza, after 4 hrs, came across her first crisis. "Ok we need to stop. My back is killing me, I can't feel my neck and my legs are shaking."
Right after she said that the rain just started pouring. Our ponchos were in full effect and we kept going. We had to climb huge slippery rocks, with wind and rain drops in our faces. It was no longer fun and enjoyable it got serious. Us vs the wild nature. Belly's crying and day dreaming of peanut butter.
Half an hour passed, the rain gave in and we sat down to munch on our rice, beans, and veggies wrapped in a flour tortilla. Before we knew it, it was time to quickly wrap up and continue as the rain returned. So we put our wet backpacks on and with tons of pain everywhere we rushed to make the low tide.
Walla! Finally after few small rivers, beach, hills, green jungle and 16km later here it is. As we reached the river, there were two guys who have continuously passed us or we passed them. We reunited in front of the river and so excited and scared we allowed them to do the honers and cross first.
They look around for crocodiles and sharks, and dropped their pants. In tighty whitties they began to cross this rapid crocodile, bull shark river.
Kodak moment. Waiting for them to drop low, we observed as the water level only reached up to their shins. And that's how they made it to the other side.
"Hahahahahahaha" I couldn't stop laughing!
"ok girls!! !! I think it's time to take that mattress out and blow it up, looks like we need to transport some things!"
With our shoes soaked we didn't bother to take them off and just crossed the river. The water up to our shins and no croks and sharks in sight. We laugh crossing and stopped for a sneakers bar before continuing the rest of the way.
The rain started to come down hard and at this point nothing helped. The poncho was useless as we were completely soaked. It was raining so hard that I couldn't see ahead, my shoes felt heavy as the water in them squished from side to side. It didn't matter where we stepped puddle or no, it was one big huge stream and we were flowing with it.
Two more kilometers passed and we finally fucking made it.
The Sierra station was quite nice, dry and relaxing.
After putting together our tent, we just plunged on the wooden platform, ate a can of tuna fish and barely moved a muscle.
"holy shit girls! Guess what we have??" I ran up to Iza and Jenny with a huge smile.
"a room?, dry clothes?, dinner is included?? What what!?!?" faces lighten with question.
I laughed with excitement "WiFi"
In the middle of a jungle, there we were checking our friends updates on facebook. The computerized nature. Ahhh how I enjoy! Both worlds in eyes reach.
The rain continued to come down hard and it was a perfect lullaby to fall asleep. That evening we passed out at 8:30 pm.
Woke up, in the middle of the jungle, with puffy eyes. I had no idea what was going on. My eyes would move but my body was a jello.
"where am I?"
The sun peaked through the clouds, the birds were singing, howling monkeys were howling, crickets were singing, and the girls were ready to explore the jungle. Ohh shit, I so was not ready. My shoes, panties, and everything I brought was still wet. I barely moved and I only saw half way through my eyes.
"We are here to trek so lets do it." we put on our wet stuff and took off in the real jungle awaiting to see the unexpected.
After few meters, I was so ready to go back and do nothing. Then we came across another stream where we had to take off our shoes. Ohh man was I so tired of getting my feet wet. I was not enjoying it and I was showing it. Probably first time not pmsing and complaining. Thankfully it was just a shorter distance trek, crossed streams few times, some up hills and occasional pebble jumps. Before I knew it we were back at the station.
I grabbed a blue mat and just layed there without movement until I passed out and had a nice afternoon nap.
Jenny and Iza were also relaxing, had some coffee and kept cracking jokes. Man, that girl Jenny is hilarious!
In the afternoon during high tide, we went down to the beach and another river where during high tide you can see the biggest crocodiles and bull sharks.
Unfortunately we had no luck and didn't see anything except wilderness and huge waves.
At night we bumped into Panama, the guide at the Internet café. He came over and talked to us a bit, offered to take us on a night hike and see frogs and snakes. The girls didn't seem to be interested, and since he only had one pair of extra wet boots, I jumped right into them and went exploring in the search of the red eye frog.
So cool, I saw a red eye frog, bull frog, arrow frog, snake and a huge cricket. Pitch darkness, only two flashlights. I totally had an interview of my life. "how old are you, what do you like, what do you do, where are you from, who is your mother, how many brothers do you have?" and on and on.
At the end of it all, he expressed that he likes me and would love to see me again and give me a massage. Yep that is right additional to his jungle guide knowledge he was also a masseur.
"Panama, I like you!! Only if you were my type."
Right before going to sleep, while laying in the tent, Jenny had a freak out session. No more rain so we heard everything. The night animals, running by looking for food, frogs and crickets making sounds, monkey howling and humans snoring.
"shit, there is something that just ran right by our tent" Jenny screamed with panic.
We didn't really believe her till it happened again and then we all freaked out. The freaks come out at night.
Day 3. Return hike back. Where I almost died.
When we gathered our stuff, is when I realized that my quick dry underwear was gone. I only have three pairs, and I mainly wear two, the third pair is super uncomfortable and up my ass. So now, I only have one good pair. I was so upset, I almost cried. Why would anybody take my underwear?
With backpacks on, we were ready to boogie back. Don't know why but they felt just as heavy as when we were coming, and this time it was minus the food. Maybe it was plus the wet clothes.
This time the river was not a joke. High tide was at 7am and we got there at 9am. It was much more rough and higher water level. We took off our shoes, held hands and got ready to cross. The current was strong, the river rocks were sharp and the water level passed our thighs. With heavy backpacks we wiggled through some rough currents and eventually made it to the other side.
"ohh shit!!! Look! did you see it!! It was a crocodile" Jenny screamed!
Right after we crossed, there was a crocodile that just passed. What!! That was crazy.
We quickly gathered our stuff put on our shoes and ran far away from the deadly river. We continued our journey back. Passed many more obstacles where we had to maneuver through big puddles, streams and the unexpected wrong way oops.
Jenny was the rare Asian, that mosquitoes just fell in love at the first sight, and ate her alive.
"I would love to eat my moms pierogies now. Filed with cheese and potato, topped with bacon bits. What are my friends up to? How did Kara decorate our apartment? I wonder what project I would be working on if I never left Cement works. Is Michelle going to be pregnant by the time I get back? Am I really going to make it around the world?" random thoughts that were popping in while flying through different terrain.
Then with a loud noise from above, a huge huge coconut fell right in front of me. Just missed Jenny and landed right in front of me! Totally took me away from my day dream. It took me about 5 seconds to realized that a second later and I would have been knocked out by a coconut.
Not a crocodile, not a bull shark, not a poisonous snake, but a fucking coconut made the attempt to take me out!
"Next time Mr Palm Tree, safe your bullets for the jungle villains, I still have things to see"
Picked up my head and jumped right back into my day dream.
"for dinner today I am going to make brown rice with shredded carrots, black beans, fried plantains, sauté onions, and ham. Then I am going to mix it all together and put it into a wrap. Avocado on the side. I just need to get hot sauce."
I was drooling, I was hungry, ready to be done. 3km more!!!!
After we made it back, taxi colectivo and all I looked at Jenny and said,
"Jenny you are the true trooper of this trip!!! Through all of this, you fucking hiked with your hot orange crocs!"