My third day in Uvita began like the day before: very early! Audrey and I once again cooked breakfast for our group.
At 7:15 am, our group began walking towards Ballena (translation – whale) National Park for our whale watching tour with Costa Rica Dive and Surf. This tour is the reason why the whole group had decided to come to Uvita in the first place. Luckily for everyone, Audrey and her mama tica had managed to talk with the owner prior to the trip and negotiated the price to $52 from $75. Score!
Once getting checked in and paying, everyone had the opportunity to eat the “complementary” fresh fruit before our brief orientation began. Overall, the tour group was pretty small: us nine Sol students, a woman from Switzerland, and a couple from the Netherlands.
Our guide then walked with us to the National Park/beach entrance. He explained the significance behind the giant whale sculpture. Basically, all of the businesses in the area made the commitment to stop using single-use plastic on tours or in their businesses because plastic was continuing to show up on the shore. What an amazing commitment!
We all walked on the beach and our guide gathered our shoes and explained the boat loaded process. Since it was so early, we were the only ones on the beach besides the tractors that were pulling the boats down to the ocean for the day.
One by one, we boarded the boat and stowed our items. The guide explained the humpback whale migration season to everyone and what we needed to look for to spot whales. For the next couple of hours, our captain drove around and everyone looked for water blowing into the air. Occasionally, our guide pointed out other wildlife or other significant landmarks that are special to Uvita. Eventually, we saw our first humpback whale!
Soon after spotting whale number one, I started to feel EXTREMELY nauseous and sea sick. I guess you could say I was casualty number 2 of the day. I took the guide’s advice and fixated my stare on land for a while until my stomach settled. Then, I laid my head on the seat for the duration of the whale-watching portion of the day. In total, I believe 4-6 whales were spotted.
One by one, other students began to feel ill. 6 out of our 9 students ended up feeling sick. Those that were not sick laughed at the rest of us who had our eyes closed. The guide then made the executive decision to call the whale watching good for the day and we headed to a private beach. In our guides opinion “the prettiest beach in the world.” I do have to the say, the beach was pretty amazing!
Since our guide is local to the area and had been coming to this beach for his entire life, he recounted stories of his childhood, showed us a little waterfall, and talked about the wildlife. It was at this beach that I began to talk with the people from the Netherlands. The husband, Michele, was so kind and asked me how I was feeling. He also gave me advice on what to do to avoid getting sick. So, so, so kind!
After everyone climbed up to the little waterfall and got wet, everyone walked through a tunnel and ended up on the other side. Along the cliffs, we saw crabs scurrying here and there and in the trees we spotted howler monkeys.
Before getting back onto the boat, Michele took a group picture of everyone.
Back on the boat, everyone ate some fruit before the boat stopped again and everyone jumped into the ocean for a quick swim. Unfortunately, the water was too cloudy to see anything snorkeling. Then, we boarded the boat to head back to the national park.
Once disembarking, our guide told us we were more than welcome to drop off our items at their office where a staff member would watch them. Then, we could reenter the national park to swim. Collectively, our group took him up on the offer. Otherwise, one person would have had to watch our items while the rest swam.
After two hours at the beach playing in the waves and sand, we left the national park, grabbed our items, and headed back to the AirBnb. Once I cleaned up, I headed to the bus station with Audrey and Chasity to purchase our bus tickets for the following day and to pick up a few more items for dinner and breakfast.
We ended the night once again playing cards and talking about anything and everything.
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