After last nights encounter with our bipolar Airbnb host we were ready to get moving. We had cereal and juice for breakfast that we purchased the night before, grabbed our pre packed bag and headed for the marina where JadeTours is picking us up. The van picked us up right on time. We picked up two other families, one English speaking and one Spanish speaking, both super friendly. The van took us to a restaraunt where the owner of JadeTours collected payment $45 per person and introduced us to Jason, the guide we had requested based on TripAdvisor reviews. Another van pooled up and dropped off more families and the owner divided the families based on spoken language amoungst the guides. We were paired with a family of 5 from Texas and Jason quickly got us moving toward the park entrance.
Jason was very personable and joked about how is Spanglish needed to warm up and would be better towards the end of the day. At the entrance the park was packed with guides lugging spotting scopes and a swarm of tourist. “You see all these guides, soon they will be gone and we will have the place to ourselves” Jason assured us. We moved passed a heard of guides and tourist checking out a sloth in a tree about 30 meters away. Jason walked slowly informing us of the different flora and fauna we were passing, effortlessly drawing question after question from us. He knew all of the answers and communicated them clearly and with humor. We were already forgetting about David from the night before. The first several times Jason setup his scope was very tactical and we had no idea what he was aiming at. Usually it was at a seemingly empty leaf a meter in front of our faces. “Here is the smallest insect a guide can hope to point out to you” he said with pride. We all took turns looking through the scope then if the creature was still there we would snag a photo. I’m shocked to say, spotting insects was awesome!
“See, all of these other guides are gone. Look that one was with us in the beginning and already heading back” It was true, these other guides were just going through the motions. There’s a funny competition that goes on between the male guides. Jason dished it out particularly heavy loads of it to Bearnie, referring to him as a platino (plantain), Costan Rican for wuss he laughed. They would brag about who was the better guide and who dated whose sister. I’m pretty sure anyone on the JadeTours crew was good but I’m glad we got Jason. At one point there were guides actually running to setup their scopes. “Stay on the trail and look hear quickly” Jason continued “This is the most dangerous snake in Costa Rica. Ferdelance Pit Viper. One bite is can be fatal. You will loose a limb if you survive at all”
The pit viper hides under leaves at the base of trees waiting for prey to come for the fallen fruits. In this picture you can see four ticks on the snakes back and head, pit viper life is rough. Jason also explained the process to create the antivenom. Apperantly, the snake’s venom is injected into a horse and the antibodies that form are harvested, this is the antivenom.
When we approached the beach of Manuel Antonio white faced capuchin monkeys were tearing through the trees and literally begging for treats or looking for unattended packs to take them from. Feeding them is strictly prohibited, at the entrance they had even searched my pack for seeds, nuts and cigarettes. I’m not sure if those are just annoying or if the monkeys have a taste for them. One monkey I spotted had a passenger.
The beach was incredibly busy so we opted to head back with our guides and got some recommendations for other beaches, seafood and their favorite soda. After getting dropped off at our car we drove into town to get lunch and plan the rest of our time in Quepos. Sure enough we ran into Jeremy and Jason at the soda. We sat with them and they told us about how they got into the guiding business through freelancing and eventually joining JadeTours. They are required to provide their own equipment and carry their own insurance but they are guaranteed tours every day. We enjoyed tamales and Casado and decided we would head back to the Airbnb and see what the situation with our crazy host was.
When we pulled up David was on the balcony. He cheerfully asked us how our day was an proceeded to point out monkeys and Macaws in the trees around his property. This was a huge change in behavior from last night’s episode. He said that he was cranky the night before because he didn’t get his nap. Ok David. He invited us to use the pool so we decided things were ok and we would stay for the night and check out on schedule tomorrow morning, check out some beaches and then head to our last Airbnb in Santa Ana by the San Jose Airport. Things were ok for now…