Another day on the coast, another beautiful sunrise over the Pacific Ocean.
We got an early start to the day today. We checked out of our hotel in Monteverde at 5:40am (!) to drive to Puntarenas on the west coast. There, we ate breakfast together before boarding our catamaran.
We boarded the catamaran for a 1.5 hour ride to Tortuga Island, which is a property owned by the catamaran company, Calypso Cruises. During the ride, the ship's crew went out of their way to entertain us. There was Latino dance music, free drinks (water, soft drinks), and breathtaking scenery. Our group was among the 97 total passengers & crew.
As we were just leaving port, we encountered a group of bottle-nosed dolphins. The captain stopped the boat so we could take pictures for a minute or two. Then when the boat started up again, that's when the action began. The playful dolphins swam along with our boat for about 10 minutes, jumping out of the water in full view right next to us.
We enjoyed the ride, but we finally arrived at Tortuga Island.
Dave, Laura, & JoAnn were the first ones off.
Here's where we spent our day today :)
After the snorkelers returned, it was time for lunch. The catamaran crew doubles as a cooking crew - they prepared a 4-course lunch for us (ceviche, salad, chicken, dessert), all while a band was playing marimba music.
The shade was important. This was the hottest day for us this week - it was in the low to mid 90s and very sunny. The crew reminded us several times to drink plenty of water and to apply sunscreen throughout the day. Since we're so close to the equator, the sun is more intense than what we're used to in Illinois.
After lunch, we had the option of going on Banana boat rides. Some went on a ride, some stayed ashore.
Unfortunately, after 5 hours on Tortuga Island, our day had to come to an end. But our ride home was special. The sun has been setting here at around 5:45pm this week, and it was setting as we returned to our dock in Puntarenas.
Once our catamaran tour ended, we were tired from the sun, water activites, and full day of moving around. But I think it was the favorite day of our trip for several in our group.
We drove 2 hours back to our first hotel near the airport for our return flights tomorrow. That drive usually takes a little over an hour, but we hit some traffic along the way. Big news here is that Costa Rica's presidential elections are this Sunday, so a lot of costarricenses are returning to the big cities for Easter and to vote.
Travel day tomorrow! :(