Costa Rica – Day 7 – Playa Conchal – Sloth Sanctuary

I had another 8+ hour night! Spectacular. I should also mention I’ve been dreaming very vividly every night. Sandy gets to hear about every dream in the morning, and then they’re gone. They are varied and weird and not related to Costa Rica at all.

This morning, it was time for our Covid test to be able to travel back to the US. We had made the appointment for the test the day we arrived, and thankfully, it was close by (even though we did get a ride from our concierge since we weren’t sure where it was) and everything was all set when we arrived. We just needed to pay and do the test. That all went fine. I had never taken a Covid test before, but it was fine. We already got our results. Spoiler alert: we’re both negative!

Covid testing

After the test, we went to breakfast. Sandy opted for the Costa Rican breakfast again, and I had an omelet just to try something different. I’ll go back to the CR breakfast. After breakfast, we came back to the room to change, then headed out to the beach. Neither of us is interested in ‘laying out’ to tan or to get in the ocean aside from our feet. We just wanted to walk along it. The little bay that is Playa Conchal is private (aside from the vendor alley previously mentioned) and not super big. We walked to the waves then turned left.

The sand is made of ground up shells and, in places, can be very sharp. It was pretty hot and the shore has a definite tilt to it down toward the water. It’s not easy walking, but the water was an amazing temperature and it was okay.

Looking south

We walked as far as we wanted to southbound, then headed back. There was an inlet (or outlet) to a river where we turned around. We walked over to the edge of the water, only for Sandy to discover that it was sort of like quicksand at the edge. She screamed to me to get out as she tried to extricate her leg that had gotten sucked in to her knee quite suddenly! She fell as she worked her way out of the sand, but she was okay. That was kind of scary but also a little funny. Yikes!

Once we walked back and got to the resort access point, we decided to continue north because it wasn’t much farther.

Looking north

This northern side of the beach was decidedly more ‘shell-y’ than the south side. It was at times kind of painful to walk on. Plus, did I mention it was hot? Still, it was nice to be by the water and to get a nice beach walk under our belts.

Sisters in Costa Rica!

After the beach, we headed to the pool to cool off with a dip and to relax. There was also another iguana sighting. Do you see it?

Iguana in a Passion flower tree

Soon, it was time to go on our last excursion. Pablo gave us a ride up to the main reception where we waited for Leo who was with Side by Side Tours, the outfit with whom we’d go on the sloth sanctuary tour. With all of the tours, there’s an element of trust that you just have to have. I mean, our travel agent booked these tours, but really when they come pick you up, there’s sometimes just a slight feeling or thought of ‘I hope this person isn’t going to mess me up,’ whatever that means to you. This is the feeling I had (and afterwards I found that Sandy was having the same feeling) when we left with Leo. I had spoken to him on the phone the day before so I knew it was the right guy, but I had no idea where were going. And as he drove further away from houses and businesses and further into what seemed like wild forest, the more I was questioning what was going to happen. When we finally stopped, we had to walk a bit down the way we’d come. Leo told us we were going to get a pottery demonstration while we waited for four other people to join the group. Pottery demonstration? We made our way to a little makeshift demo area where we met Josue, who, indeed, was there to show us the pottery he and his family makes in the tradition of the Chorotega Indians, one of the indigenous tribes of Costa Rica. He got started, but he was giving me and Sandy a lot of details as we waited for the other group. But what he explained was honestly very interesting. The other folks showed up, and he went over again what he’d already told us but a bit quicker this time. Then he actually threw a small pot right there while we watched, It was mesmerizing.

Josue making pottery

Of course, he had a few pieces for sale, and Sandy & I each bought a piece. I had no regrets doing so. They are beautiful. Then it was time to see some sloths. Our guide, Juan Carlos, said that they had spotted two of them ahead of time and he was ready to take us. But before he did, he talked a bit about the land we were on. Turns out that Leo, the guy who’d picked us up, owns the land and has for 13 years. His goal is to return the forest to what it once was before it had been cut down to make grazing land for Brahman cows. Okay then!

We started off. This was a hike through a dry forest (that Leo is attempting to return to a rain forest – he said it’s kind of in the middle right now).


It wasn’t too long, though, before the first sloth was visible. And boy, was it visible!


Wow! It was so incredible to see this furry creature pretty up close in the wild! Oh my gosh, it was amazing! Juan Carlos was also so very excited for all of us to be able to see the sloth so closely. He related so many incredible facts about sloths as well as the vegetation. He was awesome. After we moved on, he pointed out other things in the forest including fire ants in an acacia tree, what plants are good to use as natural bug repellent, and what plants are poisonous if the leaves are cut. Truly fascinating and so very magnificent to be there.

Before we knew it, we were back at the beginning with Josue. But didn’t they say there were two sloths? Yes. The second one was just past the demo area! It had been there the whole time. The first shot was one I took with my phone. The second shot is one that Juan Carlos took with Sandy’s phone through the binoculars. Look at its face!

Oh my goodness! That close up shot is so amazing. I like it, too, that the first sloth was just waking up but this second one is still asleep.

That was the end of our tour. We finished up our purchases with Josue, gave Juan Carlos generous tips, then we were back in the car with Leo who was much more talkative on the way back, telling us all about the land, his tour business (he owns Side by Side tours also), how he placed the sloths on the land through a sloth rescue, plus his plans for the future (he’s planning to put in a hotel etc.). I wish he’d told us all that on the way there because it would have made me more comfortable knowing all that! Overall, it was downright amazing. Plus we really liked getting off the resort for another bit of real Costa Rica, as opposed to isolated Costa Rica that we have at the resort. The only commercial thing about the tour, aside from paying for it in the first place, was Josue selling his pottery which had nothing to do with sloths! We loved it.

When we got back to the room, we snacked on various things in our room then decided to have a drink before dinner. It was around 5:30 pm and our reservation was at 6:30 pm. Our first bar choice was closed, so we went to a pool bar that was closing at 6pm. We sat and enjoyed a few drinks, then got our table at Caracola restaurant. We both had the specialty cocktail (we also had the specialty cocktail at Bamboo). As an appetizer, I had arancini and Sandy had a salad. For dinner, Sandy had chicken and I had steak. For dessert, she had a caramel crepe that she really liked, and I had a profiterole with ice cream that was lackluster.

After dinner, we walked back to the room. It always feels good to walk a bit after a big meal like that. We turned on Game 5 of the NLDS (go Giants!), and here we are. Hasta mañana!

One Comment Add yours

  1. josefa wann says:

    It seems like you had another full day. The beach looks good and I’m glad Sandy’s OK (scary) The sloths are interesting creatures, I’m happy you got to see a couple of them. Btw very happy the Covid was negative 🙂

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