When you sign up for a tour you expect a bus or a van to show up and unless you sign up for a private tour you also expect to be in a group setting with people from around the world.
While visiting Tamarindo in Costa Rica we signed up for a last minute estuary tour and were told to come back in a few hours to begin the tour. What you see below was our transportation for the tour:
Yes, it was this tiny hatchback. A gentleman named José showed up, opened up his car door and motioned for us to get in. At this point you can only imagine what I was thinking, “Where is this guy taking us…What are we getting ourselves into?” Secretly my mind was freaking out because I felt we were in some bad movie where we would be driven off and never returned. OK, so I was being dramatic, but what do you do when you are outside your comfort zone and want to trust people but you have just that small bit of doubt.
So Josh and I did what any normal travelers would do, we climbed right in. Of course we had to put the seat forward first. 🙂
(Yes, I find it funny that José and Josh matched in the front seat)
We go with the flow and trust the tico in charge.
He drives to the estuary, shows us to our personal tour boat and starts the engine. For the first 20 minutes we drove in silence. I am seriously starting to question this “tour”. I love engaging in conversations with locals and hearing about the nature and culture around us, especially when we are on a tour. So I take it upon myself to ask questions and find out about the land and animals around us.
We cruised through beautiful estuaries. It was amazing to see how intertwined the mangrove trees were and how years of growth had created the land. We stopped for an hour or so and walked around looking at the howler monkeys in the trees and birds of the area. We even got to see crocodiles up close, which was my main goal of the trip! By this time José was very talkative and told us about some local festivals that weekend and where to hang out outside the tourist areas. We got back into the boat and headed back as the sun was setting, enjoying some fresh fruit cut with a very large knife. It turned out to be an unexpected great day. I love impulse adventures. We climbed back into our tour bus/hatchback and were driven back to our hostel (which was a whole other experience on its own).
Takeaway: Don’t judge a tour by its looks. We had a great time with José, and probably more fun than we would have had with a large tour group.
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