Start at the beginning days 1-2.
The morning sky was angry. Storm clouds hovered over the Caribbean. The surf was intense (and wickedly fun, albeit a little scary at times). We body surfed, got sand in our pants, and giggled like kids. We had the beach, one of the most picturesque, pristine beaches I've ever been to, to ourselves. Juni was cautious of the waves, and unsure about the sand, but he warmed up with a few borrowed beach toys. A two-toed sloth munched leaves by the shore. We quenched our salty palettes with oranges (a juni tip!). Later we ventured to Puerto Viejo, a quirky, tie-dyed town of hippies and transplants. The streets were bustling with vendors- smoking grills and pipas frias by the wheelbarrow full.
We visited the Jaguar Rescue Reserve in the morning. It was heartwarming seeing injured animals being cared for, rehabilitated, and released back into the wild. There were tiny monkeys being fed bottles, escaped monkeys eating bananas on the roof, sleeping sloths, and a crazy, wandering anteater. My mom got sick during the tour, and juni was unusually cranky, so our visit was cut short. We would later realize my mom was the first one down, in a domino effect of illness, most likely caused by contaminated water. We took a drive to the neighboring town, Manzanilla- where the road ends (before Panama). It was a postcard day on the beach and later that evening, we relaxed on our porch as bird-sized lightning bugs zipped past. Juni and Grampy "hunted" crabs with their headlamps, waiting patiently beside their holes on the jungle floor. Now, writing this several weeks later, juni still makes "click click click" noises and pincher hands, remembering.
We walked long stretches of beach, from cove to cove, finding washed-up sea urchins and cast-off treasures. The surf lapped over our legs, as we sunned ourselves along the shore. Once in a while, a sneaky large wave would surprise us (and we'd quickly lift juni up). We found a battered, cracked surf board and caught a few waves (on our bellies, squealing, looking like fools). Pizza and mojitos followed- everything tastes better when your toes are in the sand.
I caught the illness and spent the night hugging the toilet. There were cockroaches the size of rodents crawling over my legs...and I was too sick to care.
Juni's turn with the illness. The original plan to drive back slowly and sightsee, was changed to 'get us the hell out of the car as soon as possible'. The usual central american slow-ups (dogs, horses, people, potholes...in the road, plus many roadside diaper changes and terrible semi-traffic, made for a turtle's pace). In our haste to reach our hotel, we got pulled over for a minor traffic violation. It went...a little like how you hear it might 'go-down' on internet forums...*details skipped*...the traffic stop never happened and we are short some cash. Our hotel was a heavenly oasis for some much needed rest.
A flight with long layovers, and issues with our tickets, similar to our arrival flight...with the addition of some extra security, customs digging apart our bags, and extra long lines. We were sick, and it definitely sucked, but dang, it is still amazing to me that airplanes fly, and that you can travel across the world in less than a day.
HOME SWEET BED
My dad came down with the illness that next day, making the only one to escape it, Luke.
Where we stayed:
Cabinas Punta Uva
Trapp Family Country Inn
Where we played:
Jaguar Rescue Reserve- Puerto Viejo
Selvins- Punta Uva
Bread and Chocolate- Puerto Viejo
Amimodo- Puerto Viejo
TIPS: The water throughout our trip was drinkable out of the tap (treated and safe). With the exception of where we were staying on the coast- the one place we chose to exclusively drink bottled water. Even though we took that pre-caution, we were too lax in other ways (teeth brushing, ice in drinks, etc.). I recommend taking all the pre-cautions in these more remote areas (we learned the hard way)!
We chose the caribbean coast for its calmer waters (among other reasons). I'm not sure if it was due to the recent storms, but the surf at Punta Uva was much more intense than planned (there was even surfing off the point). During our stay, the water was too rough to snorkel.