My 2006 Trip to Costa Rica

I have recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica (a birthday gift from my parents). My mother, I, and a friend stayed at the Las Caletas Lodge in Drake Bay near Corcovado National Park.

Pacific coastline near Las Caletas Lodge, Costa Rica

Las Caletas is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in an area of dense, lowland jungle, and the only access to it is by small boat or jungle trail. There is no dock at Las Caletas, so visitors have to climb out of the boat into the shallow surf on their sandy beach. Landing can be quite an adventure when the waves are high, but luckily it was not a problem for our visit.

View of the Pacific near Las Caletas Lodge, Costa Rica

The dense, primary jungle there is absolutely teaming with life, and I observed Blue Morpho butterflies, monkeys, parrots, toucans, and a variety of other jungle birds and animals just from the balcony in my room.

Our cabin at Las Caletas Lodge, Costa Rica

We stayed in an open, two-story wood cabin with mosquito nets for our beds. I often saw bats, birds, and butterflies flying through my room. There is bottled, filtered water available for drinking, but the water in the cabins is piped in directly from a nearby jungle stream, and it can be muddy after heavy rains.

The rates at Las Caletas are relatively inexpensive, and it was only $58 per person per day, which included all of our meals. The food there was excellent, and even though I am both a vegetarian and a picky eater, I found plenty to eat. Besides meat and seafood, Costa Rican food often includes fresh tropical fruit, home-baked bread, black beans and rice (a typical breakfast dish), vegetables seasoned with garlic, cabbage salad, soup, egg dishes, and strong coffee with milk.

Dining room at Las Caletas Lodge, Costa Rica

The rainy season starts in May, so it was very hot, humid, and rainy while we were there. The driest months are from January to April, but if you want the true experience of the jungle (a.k.a. "the green hell"), visit during the rainy season when the steaming jungle is filled with streams and waterfalls and many of its creatures emerge. The best times to observe birds and animals at Las Caletas are when the Cecropia Trees (Cecropia species) at the edge of the jungle have ripe fruit, which happens periodically throughout the year. Unfortunately, the fruit was not yet ripe when we were there.

Cecropia Tree (Cecropia schreberiana) with a Cherrie's Tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis)

Toward the latter part of our stay, it became much more cloudy and rainy. The daily thunderstorms there were much more gentle than our often violent thunderstorms here in Tucson, with little wind and infrequent cloud to ground lightning. It would suddenly and unpredictably begin raining heavily at any time of the day, but most often at night. Fortunately, the rains would only last for a few hours at most. There was some sun most days, and the guests would then lounge on the grassy lawn in front of Las Caletas and enjoy the view.

Hammock at Las Caletas Lodge, Costa Rica