Leaving Panama on the southwest Pacific, we first stopped at Isla Iguana, a beautiful little island about 7 km or 4.5 miles off the coast of Panama, a Wildlife Refuge surrounded by palm trees, fine white sand beaches, and crystal clear waters, perfect for snorkeling the coral reefs. There appeared to be a small, private hostel for a few overnight guests. Frigate birds were in abundance and the fishing was said to be terrific.
|Ashore for snorkeling on Isla Iguana|
|The epitome of a cruise photo (says Beth)|
|Howard in his element|
Golfito is a remote and secluded town on the southern Pacific mainland coast, not far from the border with Panama. A major port until the mid 80s, Golfito was the center for the banana growing region, with the United Fruit Company's headquarters being based here. Since its closure the town has suffered from major economic loss but with the advent of tourism, is slowly rebuilding itself.
We looked forward to the day ashore, first just sitting at the marina bar with a beer and free wifi. The ship's wifi is 20 Euros for 3 hours, or about $9 an hour! Next we walked the short distance into town and found a Farmacia for some throat lozenges as I seem to be coming down with a sore throat or something.
We wanted local Tico food for lunch and the pharmacist recommended the perfect restaurante. We had hamburgers and French fries...hamburguesas con papas fritas! Every small Central American country has their own national beer. Here in Costa Rica it is Imperial. In Belize, it is Belikin and in Honduras, Salva Vida.
|Golfito fishing fleet|
|Nice view from town|
|All aboard...though this is not the ship's tender|
Approaching Drake Bay we seemed to have magically entered the rainy season as we were hit by a deluge. A good reason to stay aboard and while the hours away reading. The groups that had pre-paid "horseback riding to the last frontier" and a hike through Corcovado National Park returned 4 hours later drenched to the bone. Many tender or inflatable trips to shore warn of wet landings, meaning you usually disembark in the water or surf, but this wet landing took on a stronger meaning!
By the time we reached Quepos we almost felt at home, having visited this area and stayed for a week in 2004. Instead of paying the 44 Euros per person, or $120 for the two of us, to visit Manuel Antonio National Park, we just hired a taxi when we got into port: $30 round-trip for the taxi and $20 for park admittance for two. After hiking around for awhile, and yes seeing a monkey...though the photo is blurry, we paid a few extra dollars or colones (500 = $1) for cold Imperials. Oh, and taxi drivers don't let you out of their sight so no worries about him being there for the return trip!
|See the monkey?|
|A taxi to Manuel Antonio..much cheaper than ship tour|
|The beach at sunset|
Please click on Isla Tortugas to get more info on our last stop for snorkeling or a paid nature walk at the private Curu Wildlife reserve. We stayed onboard and began organizing and packing after 3 weeks of being spread out in closets and cabinets, for tomorrow's arrival at Puerto Caldera and our point of disembarkation. We did admire the view of Isla Tortugas where there were many day-cruise boats ferrying passengers to and fro'.
|Isla Tortugas from a zoom lens|
So dear friends, by the time you read this we will be enjoying 4 days of "decompression" at a condo in Jaco, Costa Rica.