I’m finally back in my second home-country, Costa Rica. I was lucky enough to live here for a while, 25 years ago, when the country was still wild and rough.
Some years ago, I promised my niece, if she’d go back to school and get her degree, I’d take her on a trip to Costa Rica. It was time to put my money where my mouth is and now we are on a road trip in “Pura Vida” land.
Pura Vida means pure live and is the answer to everything here.
How are you doing? Pura Vida!
How was the party last night? Pura Vida!
Will I see you later? Pura Vida!
We started our trip in the capital, San José, picked up our rental car at the airport at Alamo – where they were super nice and gave me an upgrade for “la familia” – yes, it helps if you speak Spanish… and drove to “Hotel Auténtico,” close to the airport, where we spent the night.
Very friendly and very helpful staff (they handled all our business with activating our Costa Rican phone cards and stuff. They have a nice pool and I dared to jump in, even though it was a bit cold, which is normal at this time of year. There’s a supermarket close by, where you can get everything you need, including sim cards.
Breakfast was delicious – national breakfast dishes: Gallo Pinto con Huevos Rancheros – my favorite breakfast in the world! Gallo Pinto is a mix of rice and beans, typical Costa Rican breakfast, Huevos Rancheros are eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. Yumm!
After breakfast, it was “onto the road." Traveling in Costa Rica takes time. Travel speed is around 30 miles per hour. The roads go up and down and around and there is only one lane and lots of trucks and no points in passing them, as there are too many. Sometimes traffic stands still for no apparent reason for an hour because a tree fell into the road. Patience is the key. And lots of snacks and water in the car.
At the moment it’s semi-rainy-season, it’s called “veranito,” little summer. It’s still rainy season, but it rains a little less in parts of the country. Our first trip took us to the Caribbean. We found a wonderful little hideaway spot in Cahuita called “Piscina Natural on the Sea.”
Beautiful, beautiful! garden with a spectacular natural salt water pool, hammocks, lots of little inviting hanging-out-nooks and a big terrace to enjoy. The owners are super friendly and very helpful. There was no breakfast, but good coffee in the morning and there was a fridge, stove and everything you needed, so we were happy to make our own breakfast. There is also beer and soft drinks in the freezer and all you have to do is write down what you had and pay when you leave.
There’s lots of things to do around Cahuita and Puerto Viejo, which is one town over. Many beaches, my favorite one being the one in Punta Uva though, yet one more town up the coast. It’s really beautiful and still kind of secluded.
To get a good idea about the local fauna, you should stop by Jaguar Rescue Center in Punta Uva. They rescue all types of animals and explain a lot about them and tell their sometimes-sad stories with passion. You’ll get to see all four types of monkeys at home in Costa Rica, sloths, snails, loads of birds, wild cats, crocodiles, and lots more. Check it out and leave a nice tip. All the people working there are volunteers, who have to pay for their travel, accommodation, and food themselves. So be nice and part with some dough! $$
The National Park in Cahuita is an opportunity to see animals in the wild. They are one of the very few parks, who don’t make you pay an entrance fee, but ask for a donation – be generous! Start the walk at the beach. It’s really beautiful, don’t start too late, or they will send you back when you get to the river!
At night, enjoy the party life in Puerto Viejo. Start with a Piña Colada watching the sunset, then have some delicious Caribbean food and shop for some souvenirs in the many shops or with the street vendors. There’s music everywhere and you get a real Caribbean reggae vibe.
We spent three days in the area, had a wonderful time and where very lucky with the weather. It only rained when it didn’t bother us.
Next stop: Tortuguero