We have just spent a great week with Melanie (youngest daughter) here in Puerto Viejo. The weather was really quite good. It is transition season here on the Caribbean, which means it is wonderfully sunny for a few days and then a few days with periods of rain… much different from the highlands of Panama which has an average of 5,000 ml of rain every year, more than four times the rainfall on the coast.
Puerto Viejo is just like the tour books say. It is really a laid back, party town with several kilometres of sandy beaches. We were told electricity arrived here in 1996 and the road down the coast paved for the first time in 2001.
The house we have rented in 3 kms south of town and though we are in the jungle, it feels a bit like a suburb. There are quite a few B&B’s and houses for rent and we have close neighbours all around. We can’t really see them too well but we can hear them. There is a little girl that has a wonderful laugh and seems very happy… I enjoy listening to her.
Our local beach, Cocles, is a ten minute walk from the house. It begins about one kilometre this side of town and even though there are some people here and there on the beach, it is like having your own piece of surf and sand. The majority of folks on Cocles are at the north end where they do surfing. Our spot is about 1.5 km from the beginning of the beach. It is a pleasure that people are not packed, person to person, like in Rio at Copacabana Beach.
The temperature of the water is marvelous. It is cool enough to be refreshing and warm enough to play in. We spend anywhere from one hour to three hours a day in the water… just floating or riding waves with boogie boards. Mel had never boogie boarded before, but soon she was catching the waves and swishing towards shore…. it is a lot of fun.
We booked a four-hour tour to snorkel and see dolphins with Wahoo Fishing Tours. Janet, the owner and Pino, our captain were wonderful! When we got on board, they had the theme from Gilligan’s Island playing. It started to rain shortly after we left Puerto Viejo, but we had our thin plastic raingear with us and our swimsuits on… which was good, as we got soaking wet.
We arrived at the area where Pino was expecting the dolphins to appear…. nothing for a few minutes and then Janet put on Bob Marley music and just like magic, the dolphins arrived to swim and jump around us. As you will see when you watch the video Don took, that we were having a ball watching these wonderful creatures. There seemed to be two groups of about 6 or 8 dolphins (bottle nosed and Atlantic) and they loved playing around the boat. I am not sure how much time we were watching them, but every moment seemed very special. The dolphins even followed us for a bit when we were leaving the area to go snorkelling.
The sky cleared and the snorkelling was amazing! We jumped from the boat and swam close to a large rock outcropping. We saw red fish, blue fish, striped fish, spotted fish and much more… from very tiny to about 15 to 18 inches long. I also saw a very thick star fish and of course lots of coral. Don made use of his new underwater camera.
While we were enjoying the underwater scenery, Pino was catching lobsters, shellfish (large oysters) and even caught a very large crab (crabs are not common to the area). They also fished from the boat as we were moving from place to place and caught a tuna and a kingfish. They sell these from the beach after returning, every afternoon. Pino knows his stuff and loves to fish.
We had a marvelous time as the four hour tour turned into a seven hour day. Thanks to you both, Janet and Pino.
One of the major industries in this part of the world is chocolate. You can do tours of chocolate farms, but as Mel and I aren’t supposed to eat chocolate, we decided to do a spa instead. We had a wonderful time at the Pure Jungle Spa the other day. They treated us so well from the moment we arrived. They gave us some very good juice that was all natural… it was brown and tasted slightly sweet. We had a foot soak with lemongrass… pure heaven. We then had a massage. Mel had a gentle one with Roxanna and I had a heavier duty massage with Margaret. One more step in heaven. Though we don’t eat chocolate, doesn’t mean we can’t have a chocolate rub…. it was marvelous! Our skin glowed and smelled wonderful. After our hour was up we enjoyed cool cucumber water, and caught a taxi home instead of walking the 3 km… we thought maybe the mosquitoes would really like us as we felt like chocolate bars.
Sadly, Mel’s time with us was up and we caught the bus with her to San Jose and sent her on her way back to Vancouver and the cooler climate. I must say that arriving back in Puerto Viejo was just like coming home…. I do love it here!
Lots of happiness to you all and much love sent your way!
Dolphin video clip: