Friday 24 February 2023 – Our time at the very pleasant Luna Azul ended today and so, after goodbyes with Olivier and Rolf, we hit the road.
Our destination was near a town called Bijagua, which is normally about a three-hour drive from Ostional. However, Olivier’s wife, Maria, had told us about a place where we might be able to see some macaws – at a café called Mi Finca at Limonal. Unbeknownst to us at the time, this had been on our route down to Luna Azul in the first place (at one of the points where pilot error gave us a few extra kilometres to cover). We decided we could make our journey to Bijagua go via this place at an overall cost of only about half an hour, which seemed an inviting plan.
Luna Azul is on the Nicoya peninsula and, as I think I’ve mentioned, driving there is not the most straightforward of activities. Indeed, it sometimes requires some very sudden sideways moves to avoid the traps which lie in wait for the unwary.
Sometimes the road goes from dirt track to very reasonable tarmac for no very obvious reason
and then, of course, can switch back just as suddenly, again without provocation.
There are narrow bridges
and every so often the nice tarmac is dotted with pitfalls
so it’s fair to say that the drive for this part of the journey was not all that relaxing. To be fair the dirt roads are by and large easy to drive on, if rather noisy, so really the driver just has to keep an eye out for the odd occasional elephant trap. After a while, the route joins proper, grown-up roads and the surface for these is remarkably good (Surrey Council, take note, please).
It was around 12.30 when we reached Mi Finca and stopped for (a) more fuel for the car (where the nice attendant carefully washed the layers of dust off our front and back windows, which was very good of him), (b) coffee and other sustenance (Jane had a torta chilena, the local answer to Chile’s Milhojas) and (c) a shot at some macaws. With a camera, that is.
We found a couple of them in a tree nearby.
Not the scarlet macaws that we might have seen had we been prepared to brave the warzone roads leading to the specialist centre in the south of the Nicoya peninsula, but a pleasure to see these beautifully coloured birds up close.
I’m not quite sure what the macaw situation is at Mi Finca; I think there’s supposed to be some kind of sanctuary where they feed macaws to attract them there, but it’s not quite clear. We chatted to a Dutchman who said that had seen 10 birds there when he last visited. He was a bit doleful about the whole thing, but for us it was macaws for celebration.
The Mi Finca roundabout is a major interchange where, as I said, we missed the turn on our way to Ostional. This meant that we joined the road – a big piece of modern and ongoing construction – that we’d had to go along searching for a U-turn a couple of days earlier. It’s obviously a road that has its own little twilight zone because a little further on, without either of us realising it, we failed to take the correct exit again. This added a few more kilometres to the route whilst we again searched for a U-turn to get us back to the correct route.
The (short) rest of the journey to Bijagua went through much more open countryside, with some nice views – altogether a pleasimg ambience –
and we were soon at Casitas Tenorio, which calls itself a B&B, but which is altogether a more major operation, with a central lodge
surrounded by “casitas” – small houses, like the one we were staying in (called “El Volcan”).
We also discovered that it’s located in its own grounds which include a nature trail and a farm that provides produce for the breakfasts that they serve. One further discovery we made on unloading the car was that, tragically, the gin bottle had leaked! Actually, I don’t think we lost a huge amount, but it was a moment of the utmost concern, as you can well imagine.
There was more than a small ripple of excitement when the assistant manager of the place told us that there were a couple of sloths in trees near one of the unoccupied cabins. Actually, this was a really exciting and unexpected development, so of course we had to try to spot them. One, a three-toed sloth, was being (for a sloth) very active, i.e. it was moving a bit. Normally, sloths move at about four metres a minute, though they can up this to four and a half if in danger.
When I say it was “moving about a bit”, what I mean is that it was simply spending almost all of its time scratching itself, so my illusions about how wonderful a life of sloth would be were completely shot away. Also, it made the video footage a bit dull, hence just the still photos. That sloths move so little makes them fascinating studies – apparently they are the host for entire ecosystems of fungi, parasites and insects, as well as the moss that can grow on their fur. They leave the trees only to defecate and urinate once a week. In that exercise, because they have been consuming kilograms of leaves every day, they lose something like a third of the body weight they have accumulated since the last time.
The other sloth was a young two-toed sloth and it was sleeping.
Frankly, I could have told you that the above was a video and you’d hardly have known I was pulling your leg. Apparently, all sloths have three toes on their rear limbs, but two-toed sloths have only two on their forelimbs, which are thus not really toes after all. So that’s two fingers to the three-toed nomenclature in their case.
We had the rest of the day free, so the first priority was to use the handy kitchenette in our casita to make very welcome mugs of Twining’s finest Earl Grey – the first such to have passed our lips for what seemed like weeks but was actually only a couple of days, Then we went for a walk. Obviously.
The nature trail here is about a kilometre long, mainly through forest.
(I love this kind of root system, which is an adaptation to get maximum nutrition to the tree in poor soil conditions – and also to help hold up the shallow-rooted trees.) There is a diversion to an observation platform
and on the way to it, we discovered several termite nests
and a leaf-cutter ant trail,
watched, rather morosely it seemed, by a groove-billed ani.
You’ll have to read tomorrow’s blog entry to find out how come I knew what species this bird is. Amid all this exotica was a more familiar sight, and one of which I’m particularly fond – hydrangeas of a lovely blue colour.
And that was the last activity for the day before addressing ourselves to some of what remained of the gin prior to an early night, as we had an early start to be ready for the next day. Only because we’re
on holiday travelling, of course. Never happens at home.
So, please come back to find out why we had an early start and what transpired thereafter. I promise you won’t be disappointed, and this is my money-back guarantee to you.