This is going to be a long one so I’m going to split it. It was originally going to be two parts, but it’s now going to be three since it’s 4:13 am and Blogger didn’t autosave the lengthy part it took me the past four hours to write and I’m too tired to rewrite it right now.
Stephanie and I woke up around 8:00 am and we still weren’t docked in Costa Rica yet. A quick look out our window showed overcast skies, so the first thing we did was put our rain ponchos in our backpacks. Stephanie and I had pondered for weeks what excursion we wanted to do since there were so many different ones offered in Costa Rica and while she wanted to visit a banana plantation, I wanted to visit a rainforest (because really…how many opportunities does one have in life to visit a REAL rainforest?). I won.
Now, I’m a total girly girl (a girly girl who loves her sports, if you’ve read my previous reviews, but a girly girl none the less). My idea of interacting with the outdoors is shopping at an outdoor shopping mall and “hiking” is when I walk the slight uphill incline between Nordstrom and Macy’s with arms full of shopping bags, or an activity I do on the treadmill at my nice, cushy indoor health club with the fan on full-blast while I watch episodes of Glee. I hate sweating. I hate getting wet. I hate bugs. I’m just not an outdoors kind of girl.
And I still had to beg my sister to go with me on a rainforest excursion knowing full well going into it that I’d be sweating, there’d be bugs everywhere and I’d be outside nearly the entire time. Why? Because you don’t pass up opportunities to do things like explore a rainforest because you feel gross when you sweat or the idea of being near a bug makes you want to scrub your skin raw in the shower.
So Stephanie and I got dressed and packed ourselves up for the day. We brought the backpacks we had bought in Disney World, our heavy-duty ponchos, portable fans and LOTS of bug spray. I made sure my extra camera battery was charged and I grabbed a clean washcloth from the bathroom and threw that in my bag, too, to keep my camera dry if necessary.
We met up with Mom and grandma and we all went to the MDR for breakfast. As our drinks were served, we began docking in Limon and the boat shook a lot. Moreso than I ever remember feeling during docking. I was just glad nothing fell off the table or broke.
Mom started with melon segments and Stephanie, grandma and I all started with oatmeal. See, for Stephanie and I, we didn’t know when our next meal would be, how active our excursion would be and what, if any, options were for purchase at the rainforest so we wanted to make sure we had a good breakfast. I liked how they presented the oatmeal with small ramekins of brown sugar and raisins.
Mom and grandma both had the lox and bagel, Stephanie had pancakes, eggs and a side of bacon and I had my eggs benny with bacon to swap out with the canadian bacon (yech). The food was great and was just so much better than anything they offered up on the Lido deck. The service was impeccable, it was nice and quiet and peaceful and best of all, we didn’t have to spend 20 minutes searching for a table.
Buttermilk pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon
Eggs Benedict (with a side of bacon)
We split up after breakfast, with Mom and grandma going to do whatever (I just realized I have no idea what they did LOL) and Stephanie and I waiting around to disembark to join our excursion. We went out to the promenade to check out the port area and, well, Limon is no St. Thomas. The port area was very drab…there was virtually no shopping and it didn’t look welcoming. The best thing I can say about it is that it looked very industrial. And it was looking mighty ominous outside. Of course the day we’re doing an outdoor excursion in a rainforest it looks like it’s going to, well, rain.
Our excursion, the Veragua Rainforest Tram and Trails (which we booked through Carnival, as we wouldn’t risk booking independently in a port we’d never been to before), was to meet at the end of the pier at 10:30, so we disembarked at 10:15. And you guessed it: it started lightly raining right as we stepped off the boat. Some kind of luck we have.
We were immediately told to board bus #something. Here’s the thing: there were a handful of different excursions to the Veragua Rainforest (which is a privately owned rainforest for anyone who was wondering) and the whole process was very disorganized and confusing. As a result, our entire bus was comprised of people on the Veragua Rainforest Tram and Trails excursion, but we ended up being given the more comprehensive (and more expensive) tour that included lunch. Where this posed a problem ultimately is that we signed up for a four hour tour and we were given a seven hour tour. But more on that later.
Our tour guide was Johnny and he was pretty awesome. He was very knowledgeable, very personable and best of all, he never pandered for tips at any part of the excursion (we tipped him at the end anyways). At one point, he had the bus driver pull over so he could show us something cool. After the shock of seeing that our bus driver had a machete on him (no lie…the bus driver really did have a machete with him), he and Johnny got off the bus in the (now) pouring rain to cut down a coconut pod, which is from which a coconut tree grows. The little while orbs? Baby coconuts.
But adding to the disorganization of the tour, at one point, we had to stop for a good 20 minutes or so and wait for another bus to catch up and drop off some people to join our tour. I don’t know why they had to be on our bus or why they couldn’t just catch up with us at the rainforest, but we sat parked on the side of the road for a good 20 minutes or so just waiting for the other bus. Johnny made good use of the time, telling us about Costa Rica, telling us about the recent election, where for the first time, a woman was elected President (and showed us a sample ballot).
After the people from the other bus transferred to ours, we continued our drive up to the rainforest. Here’s the thing: it was a long drive to the rainforest. Minus the stops, I want to say it was an hour. And it was winding and bumpy and even Stephanie (who was wearing a motion sickness patch) felt queasy. And the sights? It just depressed me. Costa Rica, despite the name (which roughly translates to Rich Coast or Shore) is very poor, very dilapidated in the area where we were (I’m sure there’s a lovely and developed tourist area where there are plenty of beautiful resorts on another side of the country). I’ll tell you this: NOTHING will make you appreciate the life you have, no matter what problems you may have, like visiting another country like Costa Rica (or Puerto Vallarta, where we did an excursion to visit the “real” PV when we were there) and seeing the conditions that some of these people live in.