Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Drakes Bay - Indiana Moreton and the temple of monkeys

On August 15th we travelled from Manuel Antonio to Drakes Bay, where we spent 3 days exploring. Drakes bay is on south west coast of Costa Rica and was until recently, inaccessible by land. There are only a few dirt roads that lead to the village from the water, and which are only accessible during dry season. We were very happy to find a nice dinghy dock at Drakes bay where we could step off our boat onto dry land, what a luxury! It was nice not to have to plan a beach landing, where we usually have a 50-50 chance of getting very wet. It was also nice not to have to figure out how and where to tie our boat up and wonder if it might still be there when we return from our adventures ashore.

The dinghy dock

After tying up the dinghy, we decided to try and find somewhere to have breakfast and discovered that the dinghy dock belonged to an ecolodge that has a couple of cool restaurants that look almost like tree houses, sitting on the waterfront. Unfortunately the restaurants are for residents only unless booked in advance, so we weren't able to get breakfast there. The waiter at the restaurant pointed us in the direction of the village where we would be able to find some food, so we headed off through the jungle to find the road.

View of Solent from the jungle.

Giant bamboo

As we walked through the grounds of the eco lodge, we spotted a gardener who was collecting tropical plants for this stunning arrangement. We also saw a few guests and noticed how differently we were dressed to them. They were fully kitted out in their jungle outfits of quick dry, long but convertible trousers, long sleeve shirts and hiking boots. We must be getting used to being in the jungle as we were wearing flip flops!

Finally we made it to the dirt road which we followed past the school, through a river, over a river and into the village. The village is very small, but we managed to find a cool place up the hill where we had a really good breakfast and some fresh rainforest coffee. Whilst eating breakfast we had the most amazing view of a large group of scarlet macaws sitting in the trees. Scarlet macaws are the largest parrots in the world, so it was great to see them in their natural habitat. There was also an open air supermarket attached to the restaurant, brilliant!

Road to village

Drakes bay school

Scarlet Macaw
The open air supermarket

Crossing one of the old and rusty suspension bridges.

Crocodiles below!
Drakes bay was Sir Francis Drake's most likely landing spot on the west coast of north America during his travels around the world in the 16th century. Apparently it is also the location of some of the British pirates hidden treasures.

The following day we decided to go on a treasure hunt. Lee decided to wear his Indiana Jones outfit and bring along his lasso just in case. After a while trekking uphill through the jungle we came upon another suspension bridge. This one was much longer and higher than the others we had seen and really did look like it was part of a movie set. As we approached the bridge we saw that a large group of monkeys were making their way across the bridge towards us. Lee was keen to cross the bridge full of monkeys, but I hadn't forgotten about our last monkey encounter and managed to persuade him to wait until they had crossed before we did. I didn't fancy having flying screaming monkeys jumping in my face whilst hanging onto a rusty old suspension bridge surrounded by crocs! Once the monkeys had disappeared into the trees we headed across.

Lee, keen to get on the bridge

Lee catching dinner.

Watch out Indiana!
Lookout point at Drakes Bay

Solent anchored in Drakes Bay
Me checking for creatures before relaxing in this hammock chair

Me pretending that the hammock is really comfortable and relaxing

We didn't find any treasure but we did manage to hunt down this monument presented by the city of Plymouth, England. It translates to something like "Commemorating the ship's visit, Drake, the "Golden Hind" to this bay to source fresh water during his circumnavigation of the globe"

Kindred spirits?

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