"You must enjoy the..." Tours Tip by MozBrad

Tours, Costa Rica: 11 reviews and 11 photos


Favorite thing: You must enjoy the eco-tourism! There are environments that only exist in Costa Rica. You can schedule trips from your hotel either directly through the hotel, or you can schedule them ahead of time through a Tourist Agent. I scheduled mine using Travelers' Haven [800-501-9624, info@travelershaven.com, www.travelershaven.com] and had good success. Be aware that most of the tours are not necessarily close to your hotel, and you may have to drive (or be driven) for an hour or two over terrible roads to get to your location. In addition, the entire tour may take the entire day - but it's worth it! We to a rafting tour to La Rincon, a walking tour of Monteverde Cloud Forest, and a Sky Trek near Monteverde. Each tour was different, and I'm glad we spent the time out of the water and away from the hotel. Plus, as you drive from location to location you get a sense of what the land and people are really like.

Fondest memory: <p>Not only is this my fondest memory of Costa Rica, it's my best vacation story ever! I got up close and personal with a Humpback Whale! Here's the story:</p>
<p>It was our first day of diving and we had just finished our second of a 2 tank dive and were heading back to shore on the small diving boat. Since it was the first day and we had heard that the water might be murky (visibility of 15 feet or so) none of us had brought cameras or video-recorders. As we were heading back, our captain noticed two whales off in the distance (about 1 mile away) - a small one and a large one. He turned the boat towards them, but as whales are pretty fast we really didn't expect to catch up to them.</p>
<p>It turns out, however, that the small whale was a baby, and pretty interested in our boat. The baby kept turning towards us and the adult (Mother?) kept placing herself in between our boat and the calf. The end result is that it slowed the whales progress away from us and we were able to catch up with them. As we got closer I noticed that Juan (our divemaster) started getting his fins, mask and snorkel on - I decided to join suit! We got within 30 yards of the whales and it was obvious that the baby was interested in the boat and the adult was trying to keep the baby away from us.</P>
<p>On one pass the mother was between us and the baby and travelling away from us, but we were probably within 15 yards of her, so Juan and I decided to jump in. Juan slipped into the water carefully and gracefully, while I dove in with a loud splash. As the whales were swimming away from us, we were swimming like mad to catch up to them to get a glimpse underwater - Juan was in front of me by about 3 yards.</p>
<p>Just then, out of the deep water, I see the nose of another whale come at me from below! This new whale surfaced underneath Juan and I, swimming past us towards the boat. I was bumped by the whales' nose and washed over its' right fin (which was about 15 feet long!). As the whale traveled past me I approached his tail section and I was completely out of control in the water - it was as if I was in a tidal wave! The whales' tail did a downward stroke and I was washed over the whale's back, scared and exhilarated at the same time! I never really saw its' tail flukes, but I felt the power of the moving water!</P>
<p>Finally I was able to get control of myself in the water and came to the surface. Juan and I made our way back to the boat, gasping for air with exhaustion and excitement. As we got back on the boat we learned the rest of the story. The whale that had bumped us was a third whale, perhaps a father. After bumping us it had rammed the boat, then stared at them with one eye for a bit before sinking back into the murk and joining his family! It also turns out that Juan had been scraped by the whale, as he had a foot-long scratch across his belly, probably from a barnacle.</p>
<p>One of our dive buddies that day, Lia Huber of Out of the Box Concepts[www.outboxconcepts.com] recounted this story at http://www.outboxconcepts.com/salvavida/Fifth%20Entry%20Three%20Assembled.html. - check it out!</p>
<p>I have to say that this activity wasn't the most ecologically prudent idea - we really shouldn't have harrassed the whales as we did, although I'm sure they were no worse for the wear. In general we try to leave little impact when we're scuba diving, making sure to disturb the animals as little as possible. However this ended up being an incredible experience - one that I'll never forget - and I'm glad it happened!</p>
<p>I've included a postcard (above) that we found later in the trip that completely captures the experience. This postcard was created by Laurence Cherniak [www.cherniak.com].</p>

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 26, 2002
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