Saturday, June 1, 2013

Costa Rica

Contrary to what we expected, the Costa Rican border was not especially easy. The lack of organization and haphazard placement of buildings made for our longest border crossing yet. Come on Costa Rica, get your act together!

As we worked our way south, through the upper half of Costa Rica, the verdant, green landscape took hold.  Everything is so green and, for lack of a better word, pretty. Our first stop was a random, mountain town called Zarcero. We went there to enjoy some cooler weather and the hilarious hedge art. The heat and humidity of the past month had really taken it out of us. As we climbed to about 7000 feet, the cool air blew through the windows, and I exclaimed, "My brain is back!" Heat and humidity has a tendency to make us dazed, lazy, and irritable.

My brain has returned!  And I'm wearing pants - yeehaw.

Zarcero hedge art

Costa Rica has a much higher standard of living than the previous 4 Central American countries we drove through. The animals are healthy, most people have sturdy homes, and the transportation infrastructure is good in comparison (lots of street signs!). The cost of food and drink is easily double what we experienced in Nicaragua, sometimes even surpassing what it would cost in the USA. But, the pineapples are plentiful, insanely delicious, and cheap (less than a buck for a big 'un). The higher cost of food/drink is mitigated by the fact that we feel safe camping (for free) on any beach or public street.

In Costa Rica, you don't even need 2 trees for your hammock 

We'd anticipated the rainy season to start in May. On the evening of May 8th, I said, "so where is all this rain we're supposed to see?"  Sure enough, the next day it poured.. and the next, and the next. We are officially in the rainy season, but it's all good. Usually, there are a few hours of the day that are dry, and likely even sunny. The rain keeps the temperatures down to a reasonable, sleepable level. We might like it better than the dry season!

We made a bee line for the famous surf spot known as Pavones, near the Panamanian border. Friends had raved about it. Unfortunately, the waves weren't great, but it is a gorgeous spot, with spider monkeys and a resident flock of 10 Scarlett Macaws. We surfed, we sweated, and we met some cool people. Oh, also it was my birthday, so we ate a huge pizza.

Sweaty and dirty, but still blissfully happy to eat a delicious birthday pizza in Pavones!

Since the swell wasn't cooperating in Pavones, we headed north to Domincal. Jamie and Kelly from Tranquilo Adventures had just arrived in Pavones, and told us the surfing had been good up there. Unfortunately, we mostly struck out there too, other than one so-so day on the SUP's.

This picture makes it look much better than it was.

We explored a couple more beaches before ending up at Esterillos Oeste. Thanks to the conversation starter that is El Tigre (our truck), we met Brett, from "Brett's Board Rentals and Surf Lessons". He invited us to his hostel for dinner one night, and we ended up parked outside his place for 5 nights and almost adopting a dog (see next post)!

Group dinner in Esterillos with new friends Brett, Scott, Troy, Rich, and Jim (not pictured). The power went out while we were cooking dinner so we ate by candlelight. Classy and oh so romantic.

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