I made it to San Jose a couple days ago and have been taking in the considerable hustle that is this city. Seriously, driving around has been an adventure to say the least. If I hadn’t learned to drive in one of the crazier major cities in the US, well, I might be more nervous. (Though it may be a good idea to repaint some of the lines that tell you where the lanes are? Just a suggestion).
There’s not much to say about San Jose, honestly. It’s very much a city complete with too many cars and people. It’s not really what comes to mind when you think of Costa Rica. Still there were a couple old buildings in downtown that were worth a look. The National Theater, for example, is pretty beautiful. I’ve heard great things about the tour they offer in the various guidebooks I have and/or the internet. Check it out if that’s your thing.
Still, although I like where I’m staying (in the trendy Barrio Escalante where there are some excellent restaurants — check out my instagram), I found myself feeling a little deflated. It’s not that I expected San Jose to be anything more than it is. I just wasn’t wowed. That is until this morning when I had the pleasure of visiting the Toucan Rescue Ranch. And I got to have breakfast with these guys (and gals).
Seriously adorable right? I admit it, I was WAY excited to see some sloths. And no, I didn’t get to hold or touch them. It’s actually not good for sloths to get too much human contact as they get attached or they get stressed out. (Something to watch out for if you visit. The ranch said that more than likely they are poachers looking to make a buck off of tourist who don’t know any better). But I settled for being able to get up close to them. They are much more active when they are juveniles. Also way more photogenic, am I right?
I did get to tour the rest of the facility and was slightly blown over by the care that the people have for these animals. Pretty much all the animals housed there are being rehabilitated to return to the wild. And if they are deemed unable to fend for themselves, then the ranch tries to find a mate and breed them. Those babies are then cared for until they can go back to the jungle.
It was touching how our guide knew stories about every single animal. But it was also disheartening to see a sloth with no claws or a macaw who needed to use his beak to climb due to bad feet. Even worse was to see the damage wrought by humans – a monkey who was going to sold for drug money or an oncilla (a very small wildcat, similar to an ocelot) who has no hunting skills because she was (illegally) someone’s pet. A good number of these animals were extremely wary of any humans and for good reason. Still, it gives one hope that there are still good people out there, much like the folks at the ranch. At the bottom, see link to their website and, if you’re ever in Costa Rica, check them out!
Tomorrow, I head up to the volcano region of Arenal. I already have plans to visit a hot spring and will, hopefully, hike a couple trails on the volcano. Until next time!