At the airport, everyone was glued to the television – Costa Rica was playing England in the World Cup. I was a little nervous because I knew we’d be getting on a super small plane and I also could clearly see everyone was glued to the soccer game. I just hoped the air traffic controllers were on top of their game!
The pilot leaned out of the open cockpit and said, “Buckle your seat belts, we’re about to take off,” and that was it, we were off to the Osa Peninsula. Everyone we had talked to said pretty much the same thing when we said we were off to the Osa: ooooh, that’s a wild place. And, as we approached the runway, it was clear we were out there! There was no airport per se, just a small landing strip surrounded by a low fence with the town cemetery on the right. A handwritten sign announced we were indeed in Puerto Jimenez and a driver from where we were staying was there to pick us up in a white jeep-like vehicle. I don’t know how far we drove but it was down a bumpy dirt road and we occasionally splashed through fast running streams. Finally, we turned off the main dirt road onto another and we were at Bosque del Cabo. The property was amazing – encompassing over 750 acres of rainforest and overlooking the Golfo Dulce, it felt like we were in an episode of ‘Fantasy Island’ – complete with a woman offering us glasses of ginger lemonade as we entered to check in.
There’s not a lot of hustle and bustle going on here – no bars, no restaurants, no neon nightlife – just howler monkeys, spiders, snakes, and jungle. Every day was another hike through the jungle down to one of the several beaches or just walking through the jungle. We saw a ton of monkeys, hundreds of different kinds of ants, and I freaked out when we surprised a group of peccaries. In my defense, we were told that the only animal to be really afraid of in the jungle are the peccaries – especially when you see them in packs. We saw a group of maybe 4 or 5, which I would assume was a pack. However, the resident biologist Phil told us a pack of peccaries is something like 100 of them.
On the last day there, we left the grounds of Bosque del Cabo and decided to rent a boat with Carlos down the Rio Esquinas. One of the owners, Kim, had told us a boat down the Esquinas was like the Jungle Cruise ride at Disney World – and she couldn’t have been more right. We crossed over the Golfo Dulce watching spinner dolphins dance in the boat’s wake, made it to the mouth of the river and cruised in. Carlos had an amazing ability to home in on the snakes and birds that lay in the mangroves – he would point and steer the boat in there and sometimes we still couldn’t see what he was pointing at! I have no idea how he managed to find all these creatures. Both he and the boat operator Ronnie were incredibly knowledgeable about the flora and fauna around us. We headed back to the mainland with the daily 4pm storm rapidly trailing us back to land.