Traveling to Costa Rica for this weekend’s Rev3 Costa Rica Triathlon has come with a few surprises, including the amount of critters along for the ride.
When choosing Costa Rica as your destination “racation” (race with a vacation bonus), you would hope the country meets certain expectations:
1. An inviting atmosphere? Check.
2. Budget friendly? Check.
3. Adventurous? Check.
4. An ability to work on the tan without wearing your bike shorts? Check—plenty of beaches that necessitate a swimsuit.
5. Creepy, crawly things? Probably not on your checklist.
But that is what triathletes have had to deal with while training for the Rev3 race. When you visualize Costa Rica, you probably picture lush greenery and surfers riding the waves, but the tropical climate also brings a few extra creatures.
One of the main uninvited guests this week is known in the country as “hilo de oro” meaning “line of gold.” Jellyfish as we call them in the states. “We were out swimming and everyone kept getting stung. It only stung for about 30 seconds and then it went away, but still, it was a shock because you couldn’t see them,” says Gina Correll, a triathlete participating in Saturday’s race.
Other unwelcomed surprises include grasshoppers up to four or five inches long that magically appear and hop right into your running shoes and four-foot iguanas cyclists have to watch out for on their rides. Plus, flies are naturally everywhere (as flies always are) and no matter how many times you swat them, they keep coming back for the torture and do not leave you alone.
But some animals provide a friendlier amusement for the triathletes. Stray dogs like to run alongside bikers and remain happy to have a human companion for exercise—not at all what you would expect of strays. One triathlete mentioned seeing a family of seven monkeys along her morning ride with a mom, dad and five babies just stringing themselves along telephone wires.
These unlikely visitors are certainly not something you typically observe during your workouts back home, which makes the race/vacation experience in Costa Rica all the more worthwhile.