I can't lie and say that we have completely enjoyed Costa Rica, the surf is crowded and it is low season, living costs are expensive and the locals are still paid chips and last of all we have the feeling that Americans and other fellow expats have mined the backbone out of culture here.
We reached Pavones after a sad goodbye to Punta Burica and found some accommodation. This was a treat, private bathroom, wifi Internet and a comfy double bed. We have just spent the last two weeks camping with no power, no people and a four hour round trip to the closest supermarket.
We could only handle two nights at Pavones, we saw the potential of the wave, but as there were fifty people in the water at last count and no waves; we had to leave and found ourselves on the road to Matapalo.
We reached Matapalo and set up camp while a roaring thunder and lightening storm moved overhead. We missed the afternoon surf as we arrived to late. We ate an early dinner and snuggled up in the tent listening to the storm around us. I went to bed with an impending ear ache, which kept me awake for a lot of the night and when it came time to open the tent flyer, the ear ache had grown into an ear infection. This took us to the doctor who prescribed me antibiotics and painkillers with notice of staying out of the water for a while.
Our next stop was Dominical where we found a place we could set up tent undercover with power to run a fan, kitchen, wifi and toilets and showers. We stayed here for four nights until my ear didn't feel like a grapefruit protruding from my head. Bronnie scored some good surf here.
The next stop is Playa Hermosa next to Jaco, which is a serious wave that is really hollow, breaks quite shallow and is known to snap boards from the lip. This wave was firing but unfortunately or fortunately I wasn't able to paddle out.
We arranged to stay with Shawn and Shena at Rio Piedras in Arenal. They have a beautiful property and house looking over Lake Arenal, which is Costa Rica's largest lake. We really enjoyed our time here with the climate being perfect, not too hot and not too cold.
We ventured onto the lake a couple of times with Shaun, Shena and Reina their little girl. On one of these trips Reina and I caught our first fish each. We were able to lap up hours of time on this lake while enjoying the comforts of Shaun and Shena's boat. We swam, drank beer, fished and walked around some islands looking for relics.
Bronnie and I drove to the hot springs close to the spekky Arenal Volcano and lazed around for a few hours before returning back to Rio Piedras.
We initially were only staying a couple of nights at Shaun and Shena's but this easily turned into four nights. My ear was feeling a lot better and I had already spent ten days out of the surf and was feeling eager to catch some more waves.
We decided to drive towards Tamarindo and work our way south down the Nicoya Peninsula. Our plans are to pick Bronnie's dad Dave up from the airport on the fourth of July.
Our first stop is Playa Grande, we scored some mushy waves here and moved on, but unfortunately our alternator packed it in and left us with no choice but to limp Felix to the closest mechanics, which is where we stayed for the next ten hours in such a debarkle to work out what was actually wrong with it. In the end we threw it out and replaced it at a considerable cost. We stayed in Tamarindo that night and ventured to Avellanos where we surfed with more people again.
So far we have found a lot of coastal roads here in Costa Rica to be very slow and rough. It is never a surprise to feel like your driving to an isolated destination and then reach a very developed ants nest of Americans and other expats from across the world, for example Playa Guiones, which was our next stop. We stayed two nights here hoping for some decent surf, we weren't succesful so moved onto Santa Teresa.
Finally we had found a beach that was comfortable and had a lot of good waves for everyone. We enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of Santa Teresa that we stayed for five nights.
The swell was dropping, so we decided to travel to Playa Hermosa with a lovely German friend we met called Anette Rapp. Upon arrival at Playa Hermosa after an already very long day of driving and a ferry crossing, we decided to keep heading for Domincal as the waves at Playa Hermosa were closing out.
Domincal was our last stop on the coast before we drove to San Jose to pick Bronnie's dad Dave up from the airport. While in Dominical, Bronnie, Anette and I were driving to another surf destination when Felix decided to blow its transmission seal out. We were lucky to flag down a passer by that could speak English and is a reputable mechanic in the area called Doctor Car. We picked the car up from the mechanic with time just on our side and drove towards the San Jose airport.
Excitement was growing as we waited for Dave to walk through the arrival gates. Soon enough we were all in the car on our way to our Hotel. We bought some beers and chilled out, talking the night away. We woke the following morning, navigated our way through the capital San Jose and found ourselves arriving in the border city of Cuidad Neily after hours of driving in torrential rain.
This was our last stop in Costa Rica before we crossed the border into Panama.
We had some good times in Costa Rica but the cons weighed heavily on the pros so we were happy to leave.
Punta Burica here we come!