Bahia Drake – Costa Rica
Hiking trail along the coast
Even without booking a tour, you can enjoy nature in Drake Bay. There is a walking trail along the coast. It starts with a section that looks like a botanical garden. Then it goes over a pedestrian suspension bridge and further along a trail through the rainforest with everything that comes with it: leaf-covered ground, steps held up by roots, small river beds that cross the path. Again and again one reaches a small bay with a beach and rocks. The trees grow horizontally overhanging the water. I could have sworn we would meet a hobbit at the next bend, were it not for the sea and the sound of the surf.
Tour to Naguala Lodge plus 2 waterfalls
This tour didn’t start until 8 o’clock in the morning. We took the dinghy ashore and pulled it up the beach. Gradually we got practice doing this, but it is some work, as it is a heavy dinghy. Afterwards we look like hobbits, the wet dark sand sticking to our feet. Since our clothes are in waterproof bags now, we wash our feet at the beach tap and then put on dry socks and shoes.
For the drive to Naguala Lodge, we were picked up by the owner in his rather aged pick-up truck. On the loading platform were two wooden padded benches where the guests travel. We were the only guests. So we could sit in the front corner of the benches and hold on to the board above the driver’s cabin.
In this position, we set off. First through the village, then along the mega steep road that we had already explored on foot. Hopefully the clutch and brakes of the vehicle are OK, is it also a 4-wheel-drive? When it got too steep, I preferred to close my eyes. A method that had already helped in the past when we had jetted down a hill on the tandem and I realised that I didn’t have access to the brakes from the back seat. But Mathias didn’t mind and stayed cool.
It became really exciting when we turned off the road, drove through a gate and first drove over pasture land and then through the forest. The forest road also went uphill and downhill with some very steep parts. We hoped that it would not rain in the afternoon, because we did not really trust the old car with these paths in the mud. Later it turned out that the way there was harmless. On the way back, the car first got a drink of coolant water and then we drove along the road at what felt like full speed. But despite our typical German safety concerns, we got there and back just fine.
Naguala Lodge consists of individual cottages. One is the kitchen with an adjoining dining area. The dining area has no side walls. Only a roof and a roll-up rain cover are sufficient here to protect a room from the elements. The furniture and flooring were of very nice wood, with a high gloss lacquer finish. The lodge garden had all sorts of plants that we struggle to cultivate as houseplants at home. It was wonderfully exotic but you felt at home right away.
First we got a lemonade, then we went on our way to the first waterfall. For this we had to hike a bit and walk down to the river bank on the usual leaf-covered trails. To get to the waterfall, you wade through the river upstream on the bank where there are sandbanks. Moving from one bank to the other is not difficult, as the river is not very deep and does not flow fast. For water shoes we wore our neoprene shoes from the beach catamarans. Our guide had rubber boots tied at the top, but was delighted with our choice of shoes. It was more by chance than anything else. The soles of most of our shoes have come off in the meantime, including our sandals 🙂
The first waterfall was not high but wide. It poured over two levels into pools and in the upper, deeper pool one could swim. The water was crystal clear. I ventured in and felt like a million bucks. It was so refreshing after all the heat in these latitudes that I didn’t want to get out again.
There was still the second waterfall to explore. It was downstream and higher and stretched over a longer distance, but unfortunately was not so suitable for swimming. There was also a small turbine house here, where the electricity for the lodge is produced. Fresh water is also drawn directly from the river via gravity lines.
Almost more impressive than the waterfall were the side walls of the gorge. Water also ran down here and fed lush green vegetation. Where the sun shone, it glistened golden. This time you thought you were in Neverland and were on the lookout for Tinker Bell.
At lunchtime we were back at the lodge, we had a super delicious meal, fish and potato cake, salad, bean paste and platana crisps. For dessert a slice of fresh pineapple. Afterwards we were invited to rest in one of the open huts. Lying in the hammock, we dozed off and looked at the pretty garden – pura vida.
The adventurous return trip woke us up again, but once on the boat (dinghy towed back into the water), our urge for exercise was satisfied for the day.