Pura Vida, I love this phrase, pure life. It summarizes in two words this country where Miriam and I landed one day in January. At the airport our friends were waiting for us. For me it was a “see you later” as I stayed for a day in San José before we started our adventure.
Next day I had to meet them in Quepos, three hours away, I couldn’t always get on Wi-Fi to be in touch so I decided to take a bus to my destination. The journey was comfortable and cool, I met an American girl who told me about a café where I could wait for my friends and have internet connection.
When at last we all got together, we made our way to the house we had rented in the middle of the green, to get there we had to go through a palm tree plantation, where they get the unhealthy palm oil they put in our food. We were witness of what happens, they devastate forests and kill animals and plants, very sad. There was no place for the words “pura vida” there.
We had rented a 4×4 car, I recommend you to do the same if you want to explore, as a small city car won’t take you to any of the great places we saw.
After breakfast and with our soundtrack on we headed to Playa de las Gemelas in Manuel Antonio National Park. We left the car in a parking and enter the park; if you have the ugly habit of smoking you should know cigarettes and lighters are not allowed in, they don’t want to risk the threat of fire. We walked for half an hour or more, we saw a great variety of plants amongst so much vegetation, our Toni was delighting us with so much knowledge, he is like a walking google on botany and zoology.
Getting to the completely virgin beach we felt enchanted for all the beauty we saw, so green, I know I keep repeating myself, but “green” is synonym of Costa Rica, no wonder they filmed Jurassic Park here. The ocean was warm, I was surprised as every time I’ve been in the Pacific it’s been cold.
There were a group of very “charming” raccoons getting close to us with dishonest intentions; if you didn’t pay attention they’d steal your bag. It didn’t matter if they took the food for the picnic, but what do we all keep in our bags? Telephone, kindle, car keys, etc. and they would take everything swiftly, believe me.
On our way back we stopped at this very cool airplane-pub, here it is.
At night, after a fabulous day of beach and nature, we had a little adventure just before getting to our house. There was a very steep dirt slope, do you remember what I said about having a 4×4? Well that night we thanked the gods for having it, as we almost didn’t make it home. We laughed a lot, well I did, Marco and Miriam were praying to the Olympus gods while Toni was displaying his driving skills and I, I laughed, to make up for it.
Next day we headed to Nauyaca Falls, after a long descent Paris-Dakar type, we left the car and walked to a very cool hanging bridge. We kept hiking in the middle of more and more vegetation till we arrived to the beautiful waterfall, which was double, one was higher up. There we went for a little swim and ate in the sun. A tip, wear trainers.
For dinner we stopped at a restaurant attached to an airplane, all the ones missing in the air are here, you can stop looking.
That night when we’re going back home we had already prayed, and Toni was even more expert, so we drove up the hill with no setbacks, in fact Miriam dedicated the evening to wash all the clothes she could find in this massive washing machine we had at home as she happened to like quite a lot.
On the road again we stopped to buy some fruit. We found it difficult to find places where to eat well, in the supermarket we couldn’t find anything exciting either, so every time we saw street food carts we made the most of it.
When arriving at Playa El Dominical, we saw restaurants and little hotels not very high, from the beach we couldn’t see them, only trees and a few cars parked underneath. I liked that as, after seeing so many tall buildings on many beaches in the world, it was a nice change. We spent the day watching the surfers, went exploring, saw more nature and a very beautiful sunset.
Before Miriam and I arrived the boys had gone exploring the world of the hummingbird, which Toni is a big fan of, you can see it in his art if you follow him on Histoires Naturelles. The park La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a visit you cannot miss.
Passing by the river Tarcoles you’ll be able to see free crocodiles from the bridge; talking about reptiles, I take this opportunity to warn you about big iguanas crossing the roads looking for the warmth of the tarmac, so you can be careful.
On the beach is good fun to fly kites, so what better book than “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. The story happens in Kabul and the protagonists are two kids and a kite competition. Thanks to this book I learnt about the ancestral Afghan traditions from the children and their families’ point of view. The book was written after 9/11 when the country was destroyed by the war. It is a great novel to read on the quite Costa Rican nights or under the sun on their beaches, a must.
¡PURA VIDA MAE!