July 1 – 2
Once we got back into town we needed food. Ethan wanted local food and I really just wanted more pizza. He got his lunch special that I mentioned earlier and I got my pizza to go as we walked to our next destination. On the way we stopped at the dive shop to rent some snorkel gear. We were headed to Tortuga Bay where the snorkeling was supposed to be good. We walked through town to the end of a quiet street and past a really cool building that housed a renewable energy center. Neato. Then we entered the national park and had to sign in. There were a bunch of other people there who were leaving and looking super tired. I knew it was a long walk, but these people were dragging ass. Yikes. And the walk was super long. Seemingly endless. At least we were on a stone path. When we finally got to the beach, I was like “Yay! We made it” and Ethan says this isn’t it. Ughhh. We had to walk another 5 minutes past this first big beach to a smaller more sheltered beach. I was not happy, but the waves were huge and I wondered how we were going to snorkel. So we kept walking.
We finally reached the end of the main beach and there on the black rocks were a bunch of marine iguanas. Cool! We watched them scurry around, but they match the rocks perfectly so it’s hard to follow them. We also saw a few in the sand getting warm and snorting out salt water. Past the iguanas you turn right and head under the trees to the secluded beach. The beach was gorgeous and would’ve been much better without all the people. Ethan had read that it was a less popular spot, but I guess not. We found a spot for our stuff, it took me forever to get in because it was cold and we tried to snorkel but it was too murky. I did see a stingray in the shallow water, which scared me, but other than that we saw nothing. The park rangers kicked everyone out at 5, so we made the long trek back with everyone else. For as long as the walk is, it’s definitely worth it, but maybe not for snorkeling. Gorgeous beach though. And the iguanas are really cool to see.
We headed back to shower and get dinner, which was the vegan quinoa burger and fries. It was amazing and I wanted it for every meal going forward. We also had a cheese empanada which was also delicious. And the cook was a cool dude who spoke zero English. We didn’t even ask how much it was going to cost and were pleasantly surprised when the total came to $7. Nice!
The next day we woke up kinda early to go to a boardwalk around a lagoon and to a swimming hole. I seriously had no idea what these two activities entailed and was just along for the ride. Ignorance is bliss! The lagoon boardwalk was actually really cool. It’s a freshwater/saltwater lagoon that is connected to the ocean through a mangrove forest and is beautiful and very blue. They built a boardwalk that goes almost all the way around. As soon as we walked up we heard a big splash at the other end. We had no idea what it was but headed that way to find out. Turns out it was a sea lion hunting for its breakfast! So cool. The water was clear enough that we could watch him/her chase the fish in circles and every which way. It was very entertaining. I honestly could’ve sat there all day and we did stay for a while. We wanted to get to the swimming hole though before it got busy so we headed out and as we were leaving I saw a stingray. Also cool!
The swimming hole called Los Grietas is basically between town and Tortuga Bay and you have to take a water taxi for 80 cents each. So we went to the dock and got on the taxi, but he couldn’t break a $10 bill. How? You’re a taxi? So we got off and went to the grocery store and bought some snacks with a 10. Back to the taxi with our change. The ride is literally 2 minutes across the little bay, then you walk another 15 minutes (probably) past a salt marsh, another really pretty beach, and some fancy hotels. Finally you end up at what is basically a huge crack in the ground. Ethan knew what it was going to look like since he had looked it up and seen pictures, but I had no idea. It reminded me of a river through a narrow canyon, but the water wasn’t flowing. Anyway, the water is also fresh/salt though I’m not sure how the salt water gets in there. Ethan was ready to jump right in but it was kind of cold. There was a little area where you could sort of ease in, but there was a family there and they were taking forever. There was also a dock next to this little area so Ethan chose to jump from there and spent at least 5 minutes trying to get me to jump. I finally did and it was super cold at first but once I started swimming it got better.
The water was a deep lovely blue and there were lots of big fish. We swam the length of the first pool then had to scramble over some rocks, swim through a small pool, more rocks, then we got to the second pool. It was shallower and a little warmer, but less people so more fish and leaves and stuff in the water. A little cactus had fallen in and it drifted into me and scared the piss out of me. In my head it was a sea monster coming up from the depths of the earth to eat me. Ethan found a few places to jump in , of course, so he did that while I watched. We spent probably an hour there swimmimg around in the water, but I was getting hungry and it was a long walk back to town. On the way out you can take a little path that takes you above the pools and to a great view of the bay.
Once back in town we got lunch which was fried rice and vegetable soup – yum! Then we walked around town, tried to get a taxi to a beach that was kinda far away, but it was too much $, then we ended up at the beach near the research station where we relaxed until we got hungry again. My kind of afternoon! Dinner was an interesting experience as we attempted to order the local fare in our limited Español. All I wanted was French fries, but I got fries, soup and fried chicken. Ethan got chicken, beans, salad and rice, so it was way too much food, but Ethan finished it all. We will probably come back a few pounds heavier!
After dinner it was early to bed since we were diving in the morning. 5:50am alarm!