The last time I saw my toenail

(Location: Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica)

Getting to the Osa Peninsula isn’t easy. It was a very bumpy flight, in a very small plane, from San Jose to Puerto Jiminez. There was a bit of confusion at the airplane landing place (not really an airport, per se) – the lodge had arranged transportation but none of the waiting cabs seemed to be for us. We finally found our guy, who wanted us to go to the supermercado. We said we didn’t need anything, but he kind of insisted. We picked up some water and pringles, and when we came out, he was gone.

Uh oh.

Given it was a quick stop, EVERYTHING was in the vehicle. We were screwed if this guy took off. We sat there for a minute trying to figure out what to do. I had my phone, but really wasn’t sure who to call. He returned about five minutes later and said that he had gone to see a lawyer because he’d been in an accident on the way to pick us up. Not a good omen for the trip.

Things improved during the the 2.5 hour drive to Carate. Along the way we saw king condors, sloths, white faced monkeys, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, and macaws. In Carate, we switched to a four wheel drive vehicle for the remaining 15 minute drive up an insanely steep and curvy road.

Our destination was Luna Lodge, where we stayed for three nights. Our hut was pretty basic, but luckily close to the dining/lounge area (vs. steep hikes to some of the other huts). Meals were buffet, and we were seated with fun, like-minded travelers. The food was really good, and they went out of their way to make me onion-free meals.

The first afternoon we did a short, flat hike near Carate. We saw scarlet macaws, sloths, toucan, morphos butterfly, monkeys, a mangrove hawk, and leaf cutter ants. We also saw some drunk gold miners with machetes and shotguns.

The next day we did a full day hike to Corcovado National Park. The car dropped us back at the Carate airstrip and we walked down the beach about 40 minutes to the park entrance. Along the way, our guide spotted some hawks, and then noticed nests of turtles hatching and making their way to the water. This was such a great sighting that we joked about calling it a day and returning to the lodge. In retrospect, we probably should have. One camera and lens was already completely fogged from the humidity.

It wasn’t THAT horrible of a day. Our guide found us some edible bogonias, he gave me a tattoo with tree sap, and we saw lots of wildlife. Then it started to rain. The rivers were already quite high, and I was soaked from the crossings. After eleven miles in wet, sandy socks and shoes, I gave up and went barefoot for the last mile on the beach. I was spent. No amount of fresh coconut water would help 🙂 It wasn’t until dinner that night that I realized my big toenail was completely missing. Adios good friend.

We put the cameras in a bag of rice, hoping to defog them overnight. It worked for one but not the other 🙁 My travel laptop also stopped working (was fine when we got home so I assume it was heat or humidity related as well). We also tried to do some sink laundry, but with the humidity things never really dried. Mmmmm. Mildew. Oh well, hopefully the next lodge would have laundry service.

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