Splette's Travel Blog


Punta Uva beach in Costa Rica. Not sure if this photo does justice to the actual beauty of this place.

Punta Uva beach: sand, palm trees, blue sea

After spending a month in the San José area, most of the day on the laptop to earn some money for the rest of my trip, I really needed a break; get away from the computer screen and the city for a bit. So, I decided to visit the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica of which I heard plenty of good things. A four-hour bus ride later, I arrived in Puerto Viejo, a small village on the Caribbean that is overrun by party-hungry college kids, potheads and a couple of surfers. Looking for something more quiet and laid-back, I decided to settle a few kilometers further down the coastal road in Punta Uva at the ‘Casa Viva Beach Houses’. Not the cheapest place but the cabins were just a few meters away from a gorgeous beach. There were never more than a handful of people at the beach – but a few thousand sand flies. It felt like I got bitten by every single one of them. The water was great. I haven’t been swimming in the sea for at least a year.

The cabins where surrounded by a huge garden and the rainforest. In the mornings a pack of Howler monkeys would wake me up. If you have never heard their howling before, check out this sound clip. They can make quite some noise. Countless lizards, dragonflies, birds and butterflies populated the area around the cabin. Countless cockroaches populated the cabin. One day I put on my shoes when a cockroach jumped out of my sock and crawled up my leg. Another time I came back to the beach house in the evening, went to the bathroom in the dark and lifted the lid of the toilet. “Looks like someone forgot to flush” I thought for a second. But then I realized that those dark spots weren’t poo. It was a bunch of cockroaches sitting on the walls of the toilet bowl. Disgusting. In that moment I kind of wished it was poo…

A yellow eyelash viper (this species comes in different colors). It was sleeping peacefully. Their bite can kill a human within 3 hours.

Eyelash viper

A poison dart frog, pretty common in Costa Rica. They are tiny. Of course I had to touch it.

Poison dart frog

Another tiny frog. I forgot the proper name but I found it's black eyes make it look like a zombie.

Zombie frog

This little anolis won't be hungry for a while.

Anolis with cricket

My guide promised this very common spider won't bite me. He was right...

Spider on my hand

I ate some of those termites. Unsurprisingly, they taste like wood.


It must have been the climate. The coast was quite a bit hotter than back in San José where I’ve never seen a cockroach indoors. The next day I rented a bike and rode to Manzanillo, a village further South. I haven’t been riding a bike in months. I miss that. I found a surprisingly professional and English-speaking local guide to show me around the jungle. Like me, he used to study biology. The jungle walk was only about two hours but thanks to Costa Rica’s high biodiversity (the country is part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot and despite it’s small size boasts about 5% of the world’s biodiversity) I got to see a surprising amount of wildlife. Spotting exotic animals always gets me excited, especially if it’s reptiles or amphibians. I saw countless lizards, an Anolis that just caught a cricket and two eyelash vipers. Their venom can kill a human within three hours but they are not aggressive and the two I saw were sleeping on a tree trunk. This allowed me to get very close to take some pictures. Another poisonous animal I got to see (and catch) were two poison-dart frogs of the Oophaga genus. I saw several ant species: leavecutters, fire ants and the very big (<4 cm) and aggressive bull ants. They earned my respect. Finally, my guide spotted a sloth high up in the canopy. Not surprisingly it was sleeping. I don’t judge it for that. The heat made me all sleepy, too…

The Punta Uva beach at a very peaceful summer night, captured by long exposure.

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