Getting here from Puntarenas is a small adventure in itself. I can walk to the ferry from where I'm living. I went with another student. We caught the 5 a.m. ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya to Paquera, on the Nicoya Peninsula. At the Paquera ferry landing we caught a bus that would have taken us to Cobano or Montezuma, but I asked the driver to drop us at Curu. Good thing I knew basically where it was, because he drove right on past it, and I had to get up and ask him to stop. He had forgotten!
There are two guards at the gate at the highway, and we paid our 5,000 colones to get in, which is 10 dollars. They would not honor our student IDs. Then we walked about a mile to get to the admin center, where there is a restaurant, gift shop, snack bar, and various concessionaires set up to take people kayaking, horseback riding, birding, and ATV riding. We got the free maps, and went on an unguided hike. The maps are awful. I want to go back there again and go to the various far-flung beaches. I will go alone next time, though. Also I will not go the day after it has rained a major gulley-washer! It was a little muddy and buggy and cloudy. But of course, not cold!
Animals we saw: First thing right away we heard the howler monkeys, and we saw a few monkeys in the trees, the white faced ones (capuchins). Then we saw two scarlet macaws, seemed to have a nest. They have been re-introduced to this area and are breeding. They are endangered. Then we saw an agouti, also known in Spanish as a guatusa. It is like a big guinea pig about the size of a small dog. I have several photos, you will just have to look. We went out onto the beach and along the way we saw thousands of land crabs scuttling around, and a lot of hermit crabs as well. There was a pet spider monkey roaming the admin area, also. Then we hiked on the Finca de Monos trail (Monkey Ranch) and we saw a skunk, two deer, another agouti, and more monkeys. There was a mangrove swamp along the way, with the roots exposed, since it was low tide. This was very different than my kayaking adventure of two days previous, in another mangrove swamp at high tide.
Then we went back to the beach and hung out for awhile. There was a hammock. I went for a swim and swung in the hammock. Next time I go there I am bringing a towel and a paperback book!
We were both kind of tired that day, so we decided to catch the 2 p.m. ferry back to Puntarenas, instead of the 5 p.m. one we had planned on. We walked back out to the highway and watched three buses go by but despite the sign for a bus stop, they wouldn't stop. We finally had to catch a ride with some Americans who were driving out of the Refuge. They kindly gave us a lift back to the ferry landing. I think the buses were full because it is Holy Week, and all the Ticos are on vacation, and cramming into the buses. Many Ticos (Costa Ricans) do not own cars, and go everywhere by bus. I love riding the bus with all the Ticos, but I don't like standing at the bus stop being bitten by ants, and watching buses fly by, and the driver waving but not stopping.
I think I will go back there another time soon, either with someone who loves hiking or by myself.