Day 23/23

Morning

The cab arrives in time and the driver seems to know to employees at the desk. During the drive I pay attention whether we go to the airport or not. You never know. I am very early at the airport and have to wait for a while for the desks to become active. After I have been waiting for a while I am directed to another desk. Apparently I first have to pay USD 28 before leaving the country. Only with a proof of payment I am allowed to check in.

The flight to Houston goes smooth and we have a nice overview of the north of Costa Rica. Behind me I suddenly see a known face, the lady of Orbital Outfitters. At the end of the flight I have a short conversation with them, but as soon as the door opens I hurry towards customs. Last time it took me 45 minutes to cross it and I do not have that in mind this time.

I am the first one to arrive and am being ‘processed’ instantly. The customs guy asks a couple of questions about the Stephen King book I am carrying. Every visit to customs is different. Sometimes it is very formal and questioning while at other times its like being in a bar. In any case I can leave quickly and go to the Asian restaurant for a nice meal.

Afternoon

The flight back to Amsterdam is ok, only sleeping proves to be impossible this time.

Reflection

Costa Rica is a nice country, beautiful at places. I return home with different photographs than expected. I am happy in particular with the Colibri’s and Tiger Snake. But also the Howler Monkeys in La Ensenada Lodge, the birds of Palo Verde National Park and the Sloth and Squirrel Monkeys in Tiskita Jungle Lodge. I did not see the White-Faced Capucins. While these are abundant here. Also I failed to photograph the Scarlet Macaws despite some desperate tries. I have seen them though. Very nice to have photographs of the Quetzals, despite the fact they or not high quality. Beforehand I would have given this very little chance. So a lot has to do with coincedence. You can guide it a little by going to the right places, but then you have to be lucky to be there in the right moment. The day before yesterday I was in the forest not seeing an animal at all. Others took another trail and had seen various groups of monkeys among which the Capucins. One just has to be lucky.

I expected to end up with more landscape photographs, but for one reason or another, that is more difficult here. It is impossible to stop for a photograph in most places (or you have to setup in the middle of the road) and the landscape is not that explicit either. It is beautiful but not photogenic. Green hills, wherever you look.

I had expected many more photographs from the expensive lodge near Corcovado National Park but there it did not happen, most probably because of the weather. The various parts of the rainforest I have seen were a real treat. The moisture, the fungy, watching out for snakes, cursing when it rained or when I slipped and slammed into the mud. But it is much better not to resist, but to go with the flow, like I did during the last days. Just get wet and dirty. What does it matter? Just carry an umbrella into the forest for when it rains. It is a little bit more fuss, but the photographs are just as good. There isn’t much sense in looking for animals that are hiding during rain, either. Better to photograph things that you do see and to exploit these completely. It takes the least amount of energy and delivers the most.

All in all a very nice trip. I have seen so many things, that it seems like months ago that I was back home. I most definitely want to return sometime, but then at the end of april or beginning of may. Wondering how it all looks in that period and whether I will have more luck with the volcanoes and Scarlet Macaws. I most definitely would like to return to Tiskita Jungle Lodge (such friendly people) and to Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge (expensive but very easy to stay and so much potency for nice photographs). I would skip Esquinas Rain Forest Lodge next time. All those steep, slippery paths out there drove me crazy. But the Lookout Inn close to Carate, Sirena in Corcovado National Park (via boat or airplane) and La Selva Biological Station are most certainly on my wish list.

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Costa Rica Dry Season 2011, Day 23

Download the original gpx file here.

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