The country of the “rich coast” does not disappoint! We are anxious to meet our first patient of the 2nd annual Costa Rica Equitarian workshop, but today was a necessary day of flight arrivals, logistics, and driving, driving, driving. Eight U.S. team members (Leader Dr. Adrienne Otto, Dr. David Turoff, Dr. Judy Batker, Dr. Amy Worrell, Dr. Paul Mallonee, Dr. Julie Wilson, Angie Gebhart, and Nina Simmonds) consisting of both veteran Veracruz workshop participants and fresh enthusiasts, assembled in Alajuela, outside of San José, before climbing into 4-wheel-drive vehicles to take on the country between the capital city and the Osa Peninsula,
where the workshop will begin. We will meet our Mexican (Dr. Alma Garcia & Adriana Huerta) and Costa Rican counterparts in the “Osa” in southwest Costa Rica.
The map draws out the “paso” as part Pan-American highway, part brand-new asphalt, and part pothole-ridden gravel through the dips, dives, and overpasses of the central highlands, the central Pacific, and the “southern zone,” land of the greatest
species diversity and densest jungle. Highlights of the eight hour drive included the discovery that certain (important) roads are not open on Sundays and observing over a dozen smug crocodiles under the acclaimed “Crocodile Bridge.” Driving through the mysterious, singing jungle as we finally crossed into the Osa Peninsula at night had us guessing what types of animals surrounded us: guidebooks hint of pumas, sloths, many kinds of monkeys, macaws, tapirs, (oh yeah, and snakes). We were lucky enough to see squawking scarlet macaws high up in the trees at our first sight of the beach. Although the drive was long, the hours passed quickly with avid discussion of Equitarian experiences and dreams of future projects.
We arrived in Puerto Jimenez and met the wonderfully accommodating Dr. Ricardo Alfaro, whose all-species veterinary clinic sits below our small hotel for the next week. After unloading our supplies from the tops of the Jeeps, we hustled to bed, eager to see this town, the biggest on the Osa, in the morning’s daylight.
Angie Gebhart and Dr. Julie Wilson