With temperatures averaging 87 degrees and high humidity, it is hot, hot, and more hot. But, hey! I’m from the Mojave Desert so I’m not bothered by the heat much. I don’t even mind the humidity, other than the fact that my hair has tripled in volume, and my normally dry desert skin feels so soft and silky – it could be the sweat rolling down my back or it could just be that I am hydrated by the humidity…. Either way, it doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of central America.
Limon is the seventh largest city in Costa Rica and the port city for the cruise. It is on the Atlantic Ocean side. We made a 20-minute drive to Moin, where we boarded a boat to explore the canals that lead to Tortuguero National Park. Exploring the canals provides the opportunity to see different land and water wildlife. As well as the flora of Costa Rica.
Our driver was Cary and our Tours By Locals guide today is Priscilla.
Priscilla has a biology degree which enhanced our day on the canal because of her knowledge. While we saw several sloths, they are so well hidden in the trees, it is difficult to see them in photos. And the howler monkeys weren’t very cooperative either! They wanted to sleep with their rear-ends facing us — not the most photogenic pictures.
We saw several birds including swallows, snowy egrets, turkey vulture, hawks, toucan (my favorite!), as well as more than two varieties of Herons.
Besides the toucan, my other favorite of the day was the Cayman. Related to crocodiles, they are much smaller and live in the shallow water. We were lucky enough to see one that was about 4′ long.
Iguanas and the Jesus Christ lizards were also fun to see.
The canals are part of the protected rain forest, which in Costa Rica, is about 30% of the country. There were mangrove trees, coconut trees, banana plants among many other plants and trees.
Banana production is a major industry for the country of Costa Rica. While it is a plant native to Asia, it grows in tropical regions throughout the world. Costa Rica ranks in the top 10 exporting countries for bananas and the USA is one of the largest importers. Companies such as Dole, Chiquita, and Del Monte are the largest well-known companies producing bananas in Costa Rica. Bananas are big business in Costa Rica. Intensive manual labor is required to grow, cut and ship the product. While tours are no longer allowed into the packing plants due to concern for food safety, a stop at the plantation was informative. The unripened bananas are wrapped in blue breathable bags to expedite ripening and growth as well as protect from disease. Then the workers cut the bananas down with a machete, hang them on a wire pulley system that a man literally drags to the packing plant. The banana plant is then cut down as a new shoot grows as the off spring to start a new plant. While they are called banana trees by man y, they aren’t actually trees – they are banana plants.
Our last stop before heading back to the ship was at a home where the owners turned their passion for growing fruits into a business selling products, not just the food they grow but for other artisans in the Limon area. I did my share to support the local economy!
While Limon was not my first choice for a Cosa Rican destination, I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed the time I had there.