Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Costa Rica Trip - Final Part

The trip up the mountains to see the volcano was very scenic and very different from the dry, dusty pacific coast. I can see why Costa Rica is called the Switzerland of Central America up here.

There were these cool-looking animals that looked like a cross between a raccoon and a possum that would come right up to the car. I think people must feed them.

For our last day we hiked down into this deep ravine that contained a big waterfall and swam in the pools at the bottom. It was real fun. Then we went to some hot springs at a resort and relaxed and rode some of their waterslides.

Too bad the top of the volcano was covered in clouds, it would have been a cool sight to see.

We fly home tomorrow.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Costa Rica Trip - Part 4

Monkeys! I have finally seen monkeys in the wild. We were at the beach when a family of them moved through the trees right above our heads. They were only about 5 feet above us, so close! It was amazing how agile they are in switching from tree to tree using their tail to help them. Sigh! I wish I was a monkey.

I noticed that all the restaurants here in Costa Rica seem to each have their own little contingent of dogs wandering around the tables with the occasional cat thrown in. And there are these birds that like to sit in the middle of the dirt roads on the way home at night from the beach that like to wait and spring up in front of the headlights at the last possible second. I almost have a heart attack every time.

Tamarindo is allot quieter tonight with all the spring breakers heading home this morning. I don't know if that is good or bad. The Papagayo winds finally died down this morning and the temperature and humidity really shot up. I miss them all ready.

Well, today is our last day on the coast. We spent the day down at Playa Negra and had lunch at Pablo Picasso's where the "hamburgers are bigger than your head!". The waves finally got over-head height and my brother Justin was really tearing it up. I had a pretty nightmare session myself. I went over-the-falls on my first wave and almost got hit by a longboard as I was paddling back out. (It barely bounced over my head) And my last wave I surfed right into some rocks sticking up out of the water and wiped out. I could feel the rocks right under my hands in the water.

We are heading inland tomorrow to Costa Rica's still active volcano, Arenal. Hopefully it will spewing some ash while we are there. Other than that we will just check out the hot springs and some waterfalls.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Costa Rica Trip - Part 3

After 2 afternoons at Playa Langosta, with dropping water temperatures, we decided to explore further down the coast. (At Playa Tamarindo, the water temp had dropped into the chilly 60's. Crazy!) The owner of a local surf shop told us the place to go was Playa Avellena.

After driving 15 kilometers of a dusty dirt road we found it, a beautiful sandy beach with 3-4 foot waves and perfect barrels. Right next to it's little parking lot is a small restaurant shack that makes great pizzas and smoothies and a shaded area to relax in comfortable wooden chairs under the shade of palm trees. You have to share the beach though with a huge pig who spends half it's time in the shade of a tree and the other half cooling off in the ocean. (The little restaurant takes it's name from the pig, Lola's)

This is my favorite spot so far and the water temp is much warmer.

The reason I haven't mentioned the food is that the Costa Rican specialty seems to be Arroz con Pollo, Rice with Chicken. Most of the places just serve American-style food, pizza and hamburgers. But, we found a nice little place run by some French ex-pats that serves the best food around here, I think.

So far we have had two great days at Playa Avellena. Tomorrow we might head a little further down the coast to Playa Negra or up the Coast to Playa Grande which is also a sea turtle nesting grounds.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Costa Rica Trip - Part 2

Wow! I thought the waves in front of the hotel were good after three really fun surf sessions on Monday, but yesterday afternoon we went and surfed at Playa Langosta, a ten minute drive down the coast. Those are the best looking waves I have ever seen in real life. I caught a couple of the best waves I have ever ridden. The surf spot is right at the mouth of an estuary which contains crocodiles and a great view of the coastline.

The water has been very cold according to the locals. For me the water has felt the same temperature as a warm summer day in san Diego. The water was several degrees colder at Playa Langosta, a guy near me in the water was shivering with chattering teeth, but I felt fine.

It looks like the boat trip to Witches' Rock is out. The Papagayos, the strong off-shore winds that blow in February and March, turn it into unsurfable mush. (Justin accidentally lost hold of his board during a strong gust and we watched in horror as it bounced down the beach for about fifty yards. No harm done though!) But if all we did was surf Playa Langosta for the rest of the trip, I would still be stoked. We are going back tonight and I am definitely taking my camera.

P.S. This is better than Fiji! No mosquitoes, no no-see-ums, no rain, no 5am wake up calls if you want to surf, no strong current trying to pull you off the point and no sea lice.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Costa Rica Trip - Part 1

It is beautiful here in Costa Rica. Friendly people, great weather! I can see the ocean from this internet cafe. There is a strong offshore wind blowing and we are just waiting for the tide to come in during the afternoon for the waves to get bigger. We have this great hotel room facing the water only 50 yards from the shore.

It was a beautiful drive to Tamarindo and only the last 15 miles were dirt road. The semis rule the road here but I soon got the local knack of passing slow pokes on the one lane highway.

Two of our three bags got left behind in Guatemala, including the board bag with our three surfboards :( but the airline was very nice and drove them the 4 hour drive to our hotel late last nite after they located them. We where so desperate to surf after watching all the cool waves last night without our boards that we went out first thing this morning when the waves were only a foot high. Still with perfect little barrels.

We are going to try and surf Witches Rock later in the week. It is that famous spot in the national park that was filmed so beautifully in Endless Summer II.