Caiman, caiman, wherever you are

I first came to Costa Rica when I was seven, and remember almost nothing from the whole trip. (That’s why I figure it’s ok that the pandemic is eliminating our travel spending this year, when my daughter is that same age: if she’s like me, it would have been a wash anyway, memory-making-wise.)

What I do remember very clearly, however, is seeing faces like this one as we floated through the canals of Tortuguero. It blew my Michigander mind. I haven’t been back to Tortuguero since, and I hope to remedy that in the coming years.

Do any readers out there have childhood Costa Rican travel memories – whether you visited Costa Rica from another place, or remember trips around Costa Rica as a kid? I’d love to hear them.

Happy Thursday.

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or FacebookIf you want to learn more about how to support Costa Rica during the crisis, visit my COVID-19 section – or for ways to enjoy Costa Rica from afar, visit Virtual Costa Rica.

4 thoughts on “Caiman, caiman, wherever you are

  1. My father used to be a ‘dirigente’ in a football team of ‘canchas abiertas’ and we traveled all over the place. You had ‘retos’ with teams from little towns and traveled there by bus or the train. I remember the ladies selling empanadas, tortas de huevo, and orange gelatin in the train, and then bringing home the local products when in season, mangos from Orotina, panbon from Siquirres,etc.


  2. My family’s visit to Cartago to see my grandfather in 1952 is one of my fondest childhood memories. We stayed at an Inn near a park, and from the attic windows above the third floor we threw peanuts bought from the rostiscery that perfumed the neighborhood, down to the teasing boys in the park. My younger sister and I would sneak out early in the morning with bread and cheese from the kitchen, climb up the hills behind the Inn where pastures lined dirt roads. We gave false names to a group of students we encountered and a took a shortcut that led us into a standoff with a bull who decided we weren’t worth the effort.

    The German family staying at the Inn at the same time had two girls about our ages, so my sister and I played “Mutter mache keiser?” sp? Which we assumed was Mother May I, but with country names to count out the steps. That was the only German we learned while they discovered Red Light, Green Light from us. Meanwhile, our brother rode a horse around town. I’ll always remember the elegant Rabbit Lady who sat alone by the many paned windows that lined the dining room. I later learned to recognize the softness of cashmere.

    Grandfather was old, half blind and had a wooden leg (actually a prosthesis). He had left his family in the Canal Zone beside the Canal he had helped build. Nanny and the rest of us inhabited that unique home, neither Panama nor the US, that is lost to us, excolonists, now. But those Costa Rica memories led me back after college to spend a decade in the southern mountains of this beloved country.

    I follow your posts with nostalgia from the Pacific Northwest now. Thank you.


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