Monday, February 4, 2013

Treehouse Poste Rojo, Laguna de Apoyo

Im way late on this post and the details of a few days have already lefty, I guess that just means that in this post um only going to focus on the things that really stood out to me, and are still stuck in my mind.

Basically, I arrived back in Grenada after SJDS and took a few days more of Spanish classes. My Spanish has gotten a lot better, but as my teacher and I began talking a lot more, I began to get the feeling that she really didn't like me as a person, so I wasn't so motivated to keep studying with her. Add to that the fact that my new ATM card still hadn't arrived, and I was just waiting around in Grenada for a letter, and I was ready to move on.

I packed my small pack for three days, stored my main bag with Cesar at the hostel, and took off for a jaunt at the Poste Rojo Treehouse, just outside of town. I arrived at the base of a high hill shaded in a jungle of trees and flora. The steep path was unpaved and led up the slope through the quiet forest. Occasionally, I could hear the calls of howlers and birds, and the chirping of cicadas washed over me in waves of sound--then silence.

After a 20 minute climb, an empty building appeared in a clearing to my right, but a sign indicated that reception was still a further climb up the hill. Finally, I made it to the top to find a massive treehouse (although, technically, it wasn't sitting in a tree, but among the trees). Three people were there, two volunteers and one guest. Lisbeth, a volunteer, was giving the other two haircuts on the deck.

I checked in, a bit disappointed by the lack of guests as I had really been feeling that I need to make more friends, but consoled by the fact that I could stay on a hammock for just $5. Without any access to my bank, I had been searching for any way to save a buck here and there. The weather was temperate and there was a nice cool breeze, and I was smart enough to remember my sleeping bag. I was quite happy to take a hammock. Plus, there was one hammock on a platform in a tree waay high, maybe 50meters that I was able to claim for myself.

Ok, enough about hammocks.

The four of us hung out watching howlers in the trees until a bunch of other volunteers arrived from town, and a bunch of us arranged to pool food and make a rather good meal of fajitas and beans. The communal meal for sale looked good, but it was meat lasagna and a bit pricy. I was happy to have brought some food up there so that I could cook.

We all hung out and played cards until the early morning. I had fun, but beers cost 35cordobas each (!), so I spent the night drinking water, playing sober sister for all the volunteers drinking at cost... Bed time was interesting; I had to climb up into tree and curl into my sleeping bag without waking the howlers in the beaches above and to the side of me (those guys are scary up close). A few times in the night they would start their calls, and I would awake with a start as their howling is LOUD, and frightening. Spielberg used the howler call for dinosaur roars in Jurassic Park.

When I awoke to these calls, I would sometimes find myself immitating their call in my sleep (must have triggered some primal call-back instinct) and they would turn to look at me. Scary! I shined my light in their eyes and they left me alone.

The next day, I went down to Laguna de Apoyo with Lisbeth. I have heard stories about tourists getting mugged on the trail, so we took nothing with us at all--no bags to attract thieves.

It's a volcanic lake, a massive crater of an exploded volcano that fell in on itself then filled with rainwater and groundwater. The water felt heavy, and it was difficult to swim in. I have heard stories about that lake, about how the water behaves strangely because the lake hides an active volcano beneath. I could feel warm and cold patches in the water, and there seemed to be bubbles coming up from below. It's a strange lake. The security guard at the treehouse told me a story of a time he swam out to the middle of the lake and was caught in a whirlpool that pulled him under and had to fight his way out.

On the long walk down the steep trail into the crater lake, I made friends with two local women who told me all about the region and the lake. They reminded us to use sunscreen, not to swim out into the center of the crater, and to leave with plenty of time to walk home before sundown.

On the way back, we bought rum and veggies to make dinner.

The treehouse was great fun, yoga every morning and cards every night. I got my hair cut (pretty wild, stripes buzzed into the right side of my head), cooked plenty, and had a good time making new friends.


  1. okay that howler stuff is freaky but definitely sounds like you are having some great experiences.

  2. :) Yea, that was pretty freaky indeed, but it was awesome to sleep with a clear view of the stars (through the branches) and wake up with he sun on my face--then yoga to stretch out the hammock-back