December 13, 2010 - Aracari Toucan in Tortuguero National Park, CR
Was having a sparse breakfast at Holiday Inn when we were interrupted by a strange Tico asking our Chinese neighbors if they were the Rahagopalans. Finally V volunteered to be a Rahagopalan for the day. We were told to eat fast & jump into the van, for two impatient Europeans were ready waiting already. So we did so. Our minivan started the 3 hour long drive, beginning with a glorious rainbow across the sky! The Europeans constantly hassled the poor Tico drivers Marcos & Carlos for all sorts of statistical minutaie such as the first tallest mountain, second tallest, third longest river etc etc. We drove through the transnational plantation towns of Del Monte where bananas are farmed en masse by sheer manual labor. A single Tico pulls 250 bunches of bananas on a line tied to his chest! At the end of the potholed drive was a boatride about 2 hours long through the Caribbean backwaters to the famed eco lodge, Tortuga Lodge & gardens. The waters were quite rough & at the end of the boatride, we were confronted by 5 shady Ticos who grabbed our bags & forcibly made us eat lunch, which was a delicious salad & fish sticks. We were then given an orientation, rules & regulations, & escorted to our frooms. No TV. No AC. No internet. No fridge. No microwave. Just a simple rustic eco-lodge. At 6pm, we wore rubber boots & departed on a muddy trail through the swampy muck, when we spotted the Toucan high up in the branches.
The trail was a lot of fun after the rubber boots filled up with water. We spotted a red tiny frog that K tried to mess with but was too jumpy & vanished in the undergrowth. Later we learnt it was poisonous ! We came back to a sumptuous dinner, dessert & complimentary wine! Lulled to sleep amidst a rainstorm.