Driving down The Pacific Coast

Now that we’re back in Costa Rica, we have rented a Toyota Fortuna (aka big bastard) to drive down the Pacific Coast of the country to conclude our trip. 

Our first stop, Rincon de la Vieja; yet another national park with tubing, canopy tours and waterfalls. We went with the more economical choice, a remote waterfall and mini swimming area just a 5 minute hike away. It would turn out to be one of my favourite places on this trip so far…

We enjoyed a little leap off the rock, the cold water and ply the hanging bridge. This place is exactly what we had seen in the pictures, though heavily edited to appear surreal and fable-like, before we came out here.  

That evening came our first attempt at spontaneous hostel choosing. 
‘¿Tiene algunos cuartos por esta noche?’ I tried…
‘Yeah man, how many people you looking for?’
Oh, what’s the point. Down the Pacific coast, nobody seems to be speaking Spanish… and even if they do, they take pity and speak English to make communication easy. Maybe they just want to practice their English. Annoying. I didn’t download Duolingo for this. 
Playa Del Coco was a real tourist spot. Why do we know this? Because Hard Rock Cafe. You can stay clear of the American spring breakers though; our hostel owner had given us tips to find the quieter beaches and enjoy less packed spaces.
The next day, we endured a tormenting 45 minute walk in the heat to Ocatal beach. Hilariously, Fran would given a lift over a water-filled beach ridge because she wasn’t able to jump over it;

All very dramatic. The police are very friendly in this area of the world. In fact, everyone is. Costa Rica especially so, everybody in the street stops and says Hola or Buen Día. 
Ocatal Beach was well worth the walk, even if the day did end in tears (in the metaphorical sense). After a few failed keep up attempts, Lew, Josh and I headed into the sea for a cool down. We were just bumping around until Josh cried out ‘what the fuck was that!’… I had my snorkel so looked around but found nothing. 
He went in, sat, went pale, tried curing his bleeding foot with hot sand before hobbling over to the only restaurant to be told he had been stung by a sting ray. Ouch. Supposedly, they sleep under the sand and only attack once provoked. Josh had probably stood on it. No respect for nature. Locals warned him of night sweats, fever and pain for days. That wasn’t even his main concern as for a brief half hour, he lost his wallet in a cab… a bad day made better by Madrid beating Bayern and a hamburger.

That evening, we drove on to another beach where we sat and watched the sunset under some palm trees. Cliche but you do it for the Instagram likes:

Sunset at Playa Azúcar:

The problem with staying at the beach so long was that upon arrival into Playa Grande, we had left it far too late to stay anywhere. One hotel resort could offer us a 4 man room, so we improvised using sun loungers as mattresses and took the hit. Note to self: book in advance during Santa Semana. The whole country is inundated. After a clammy night, we spent the morning on another luxurious, Caribbean style beach. There, we invented an array of volleyball oriented games with no real purpose, which, in my opinion, is exactly what the sea is for. 
Our cycle on the Pacific has been simple but just what we have needed after a big couple of weeks of activities. It doesn’t exactly make for brilliant blogging. The roads aren’t how you’d imagine at home. 75% are unpaved, pothole ridden mud tracks which makes our 4×4 well worth the rental. I’m pretty sure that on the ‘Monkey trail’ in between Playa Del Coco and Playa Grande, the car almost came to a standstill at least three times down to the steep inclines. We saw no other cars, some American quadbikers asked how exactly we had got so far, and as driver, I was loving it… and I really don’t love driving. A few heads were banged.
Another beach, another sunset. Nosara and Playa Guiones this time. Once again, Lew, Josh and I played football and attempted to keep the ball up past 30 touches… once again ending in tears once. I broke my little toe. Bad times… the three junior doctors deliberated and attempted to relocate it twice. Pretty sure something clicked but as I write, it’s still out of place.

Our cabinas had an air con which dripped ferociously, so we didn’t even know whether we would wake up on dry terrain. We did, and we took the 4 hour journey to Mal Pais to find somewhere to stay. Mal País is newly done up and seems to be home to both locals and American families, the surf looks amazing in places and snorkelling is brilliant… although I saw a sting ray lurking around Josh again… here’s its skeleton once he was done with it.

We’ve spent one night here and enjoyed a day on the beach and exploring the local villages. Finny and I enjoyed a Lion King sunset… which probably puts us into double figures for sunset watching.

Now we prepare for a move to Jaco which is our final destination before San Jose. Man, that is really disheartening.


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