A strong appetite, average palate, and weak writing, mixed with outdoor adventure.

A strong appetite, average palate, and weak writing, mixed with outdoor adventure.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Costa Rica

One day at work, while wallowing in dissatisfaction with most everything, I booked a trip to Costa Rica. Not having sat on a beach in over 9 years I was confident that the heat and humidity of the equatorial Pacific coast would prove adequate distraction from day to day life. I was right.
I flew into San Jose, took a hard left out of the international airport, which is fairly new and quite nice, and went to the domestic terminal, which comparatively is a garage. Regardless, instead of a 4-6 hour bus trip I took a 18 minute flight on a 12-seat puddle jumper and found myself sitting on the beach in Manuel Antonio by 9:30 AM. In a move that I only would only employ when on vacation I was enjoying an Imperial, the beer of Costa Rica, by 11:14 AM.
Manuel Antonio is known for its national park of the same name. Cooled by the beer above and with surf crashing in the background, I hired a guide and entered the park. The guides are great as they are all certified and can speak to the flora, fauna and natural history of the park. Without a guide I would have walked by most of the things I really wanted to see. Sightings included:
3-toed sloth, of which I saw several. IMG_7280
Lizards, which were everywhere.
White faced monkey
Titi monkeyIMG_7288
From Manuel Antonio I went to Jaco. Not looking for a party scene or being propositioned by prostitutes, the city quickly lost its appeal so I stayed only a night and headed to Montezuma. This included a ferry ride across the Gulf of Nicoya as the sunset.
I spent my remaining time in Montezuma, a small beach village with a smattering of hotels and restaurants. One of my goals from this trip was to surf. I have never surfed but leapt into it with abandon. Day one was a small beach break where we practiced standing up and carving some turns. You start in whitewater waves, meaning catching rides on waves that have already broke. Typically easy, but not without the risk of failure.
Day two and three was at a reef break with larger waves and more locals, many of which I got to know amidst the pummeling I took. I caught a couple of good waves and had lengthy rides and could see why people love it. With that said, I enjoyed the part where we sat on the beach, enjoyed a few drinks and the conversation ran the gamut of ocean knowledge to the politics of being an ex-pat.
I had not traveled on my own before, but enjoyed it. There were times I wanted company, especially every time I stumbled into an incredibly romantic open-air beachside restaurant, which happened with frequency, but otherwise liked moving at my own pace. If all goes to plan I will make financial decisions in Denver that lead to more travel abroad.
Below are a few pictures with no real theme, just shots I enjoyed.
Leaf cutter ants
Green poison dart frog

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