Costa Rica: Land of Pura Vida
We left off in Samara where we stopped for some time to volunteer at Camp Supertramp and explore the laid back beach town.
Camp Supertramp is located between two great surf beaches, one with beginner waves (Samara Bay) for Sarah to gain confidence and the other (Buena Vista) with a nice intermediate beach break for Matt to continue improving. Surfing either spot before or after our shifts kept us busy, along with mango picking and meeting fellow travelers that passed through the hostel. Along with some of the inspirational human travelers we met, there were also many animals that traveled through the property. Nature is neat!After 10 days of a great volunteer experience in Samara, we hopped back in the van, refreshed and excited to be on the road again. This time our friends Tim and Andrea from Switzerland met up with us to caravan our way down the Nicoya Peninsula together.
The rainy season had officially decided to stay, which meant constant plan adaptation. There is a road between Samara and our next destination of Santa Teresa, but we were told that the rivers were already flooding and decided to avoid the southern coastal road. With our caravan of 2, ‘Koru’ and ‘Savanna’, we headed around the north side of the peninsula on the better road towards the Mal Pais area. This roundabout road was beautiful with stunning views of the Golf of Nicoya.Arriving in Santa Teresa, it was obvious the heavy rains had caught everyone off guard. A bridge had gone out and the detour road was flooded too.This one lane adventure led us straight to the famous surf break and the boys quickly jumped in the ocean to sample the powerful waves. The girls stayed on the beach and tried their best to keep dry during the rain.Uncertain where to camp for the night, Tim informed us of a Swiss family that had been featured on local Swiss TV that lived in Santa Teresa. Apparently, the show profiled different Swiss families that had chosen to move abroad and make new lives outside of the country. On a whim, Tim and Andrea called them up and they welcomed us to come by their property to have a meet and greet. Although they didn’t have room for two vans near their house, they allowed us to park in their driveway near the road and invited us to a delicious dinner.Great conversation was had all night and we found out that the couple had traveled all over Europe in a van just like ours prior to having kids, so they were enamored and understanding of our trip.They told us of a great beach just north of town where there were mellower waves for everyone to enjoy which sounded perfect, so we took off to the beautiful Playa Hermosa for a few nights. The 3 days spent there were very memorable. From catching waves every day, climbing palm trees for coconuts, to cooking delicious foods including bread in Tim and Andrea’s van oven, great times were had by all. The safety and fun factors increase greatly when traveling with another van and couple. Our daily routines feel easier and our tendencies to bicker drop with the added company. We both have similar styles and intentions for our journey and decided to ship to Columbia together, thus reducing additional costs and stress when that time comes!The funky area of Montezuma was next on our list. Geographically, Montezuma resides in a protected part of the peninsula, only seeing waves from southerly swells and known for beautiful calm waters. Fortunately we were about to stumble upon one of the best beach camp spots yet, and close to a small point break that only functions when there is a particular swell, and sure enough, there was a swell from the south starting right when we arrived! In our down time, especially when raining, we found ways of entertaining ourselves in the van, even if certain people (Sarah) tend to win card games often. We spent another 3 nights here at this camp spot, it was just too perfect to leave!
While in the area, we embarked on a popular waterfall hike. All of the recent rains had dramatically increased the river level, which unfortunately prevented cliff jumping and swimming, but was a fun and beautiful adventure hiking to all three falls.After Montezuma, our caravan separated for a few days before meeting up down the road in Jaco. Tim and Andrea wanted to check out a few more surf spots and we needed to go to San Jose to pick up Chris, Sarah’s brother who was flying in for a visit. Saying a quick good-bye, we both jumped in for one more surf session before we needed to be on our way to catch the ferry to the mainland. The powers at be must have wanted us to take it easy and stay a bit longer, because while in the water Matt had his board damaged during a collision with another surfer. Fortunately, the other collision victim named Mike, was happy to fix the board and invited us to the place he was house sitting for a couple of hours.The place was incredible, and Mike even let us do some laundry while we waited for the epoxy to dry on the surfboard. Sarah made lunch and we all enjoyed the 3 hour surprise time spent together.After the unexpected pit stop, we made our way to the ferry two hours later than planned. We caught the last ferry for the day and were treated with incredible views and a great sunset. The following day we sampled Boca Barranca, one of the longest left breaks in the world before heading up to the capital San Jose to pick up our visitor, Chris! We had a small window to explore San Jose, which is a very under-appreciated city. We hopped on the bikes and cruised around downtown to experience some museums and a free walking tour.That night we were invited to dinner at our friend Steve’s house, whom we had met earlier in Costa Rica at Playa Negra. His family welcomed us into their home with open arms and proceeded to cook us a wonderful Costa Rican meal with even better conversation. Meeting the family and spending time with grandma, mom, dad, brother, sister, cousin, girlfriend, niece, and nephew was amazing. Most of the family live here or in the house next door or just down the street. Everyone was very kind, loving and an overall pleasure to be around. In the presence of such a wonderful family, our hearts were warmed and it left us with an unforgettable experience of true Tico life.With stomachs full and happiness achieved, we left excited to pick Chris up the next day and show him a slice of Costa Rican paradise. Pura Vida!
4 thoughts on “Costa Rica: Land of Pura Vida”
So interesting, you never meet strangers just good family people. If you ever come home to us lucky are the visitors from all of the countries you have visited and lived in, you will welcome them as they welcomed you. I’m not to crazy about those animals that come around. No way. Love you both. grandma
What an exciting time for both of you! Love the stories behind the photos. Take care in Columbia but, as usual, this grandma will be happy when you’re home. Love you
yay for making van friends!
You were able to see some spots in Costa Rica that we didn’t see–such a beautiful place and the people so friendly as you found as well. Your pictures are fabulous–thanks for sharing! How fun to have another couple with whom to travel.