costa rica 2007 - tamarindo | The Life of K: costa rica 2007 - tamarindo

Saturday, March 10, 2007

costa rica 2007 - tamarindo

day 2 - san jose to tamarindo, the tamarindo part of the day

Day 052 February 17  San Jose to Tamarindo, Costa Rica  167_6713 (Medium)

i mentioned that we thought we were going to die on the flight from san jose to tamarindo. we were white as ghosts when we landed. but, to our credit, the plane was wee and the wind was brutal and the runway was gravel. we ended up sitting in the "airport" for a couple of minutes, letting the nausea pass. i put the word 'airport' in quotation marks because it was small and more of a roof with three walls.

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we got a cab to take us to villa macondo, a mid-range hotel recommended in the lonely planet guide. we got the last $35/night room, the old manager's room that was off to the side but had a fan and aircon and a fridge.

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right away we went down to the ocean, which was about a hundred meters from our hotel. j was scouting out the size of the waves, i was scouting out all the shells and rocks. the beach was beautiful - white/grey sand, clean, clear water.

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after a nap, we decided to ask the hotel about surfing. turns out the woman working the hotel is dating pedro, a member of costa rica's national surf team and he does lessons. an hour later, we're in the ocean each with our own surf board and pedro yelling at us when to stand up. j was up and away his first time and i was up my third or fourth time. it was scary and hard on the body but incredible all at the same time. at first the salt water burned my eyes and nose and tasted awful (i did a lot of falling) but i got used to it and was able to surf. a bunch of locals on the beach were watching us and clapped and whistled every time i caught a wave.

we were in the water for about 2 hours and completely exhausted by the end of it. it was an incredible experience and left us both on an adrenaline high for hours. while we were surfing though, there was the most incredible sunset i've ever seen. of course the camera was not with us (pedro's mom was taking care of it - i kid you not) but we managed to get this shot when we were done:

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tamarindo is known for its sunsets. apparently, the sharks come out about the time the sun goes down. pedro called it "animal planet" time. and we were in the water!

after all of our excitement, we showered, had dinner and went to bed early.

day 3

our first actual day of vacation and sleep in... until 9:30. at least we were rested. we compared bruises - i had tons and j had none - and ate zucaritas before heading out to the main street.

my knees:

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i also had bruises on both hips and my ribs from throwing myself on the board.


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j was so happy with surfing that we decided to rent him a board for two hours. he surfed while i tanned on the beach. he had a great time surfing.

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but i didn't have a good time on the beach. it was really windy and sand was blowing from my right. sand was everywhere. it really wasn't pleasant. and then a bunch of ticos were all of a sudden right beside me. i wasn't feeling all that safe so i went and sat beside a girl i didn't know. turns out she was tanning while her friend was out surfing. the two hour board rental seemed to last forever, but j finally came in. he was super happy. i was super happy to be off the beach and get showered. we had sand everywhere. for days.

we went out for dinner and tried to get sunset pictures, but the sunset was not half as stunning as the night before.

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day 4

just as we lucked into a sweet surf instructor, we lucked in on our next adventure. we were looking to snorkel. we walked along the main street in town and checked out a bunch of places. we found one we liked and would fit with our schedule so we booked it. the shuttle picked us up and took us to the beach, just down from pedro's. turns out it was us and another couple on a 66' catamaran with 4 crew members.

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we set sail and cruised along using the wind (they usually have to use the diesel engines but it was windy enough to use the sails). it was choppy but not so much that we were sick. after about an hour, one of the crew came and told us that we wouldn't be able to snorkel because it was too rough. we were disappointed but okay with it because we're on vacation and we're going with the flow. we asked if we could go to a little beach somewhere. because there were only 4 of us it was totally fine and they found us a beautiful little beach.

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this beach happened to be sheltered enough that they decided snorkeling would be possible. so we put on the masks and jumped in the rhib and went in the water. i was NOT okay with snorkeling at first. i maybe haven't mentioned this before, but i am not fine with lake water or being in the ocean. i surprised myself the day before by being able to surf. but snorkeling proved much harder for me. when i was finally able to breathe and be under water, i was still a little panicky. i held j's arm really tight and we went along. our guide, a guy from belgium who went to costa rica and never left, took us along and showed us things. it was probably about 15 feet deep with lots of fish. we saw the cloud of sand from a stingray darting away. we saw a trigger fish that our guide pulled out from between two rocks. we saw tons of fish.

we got to shore on the little beach and i was happy to be on dry land. we walked along the beach, totally deserted, and looked at all the crabbies. when we got back to our guide, he pointed out some turtle tracks and the mounds where the eggs were. we didn't get to see turtles (turtle season closed the friday before we arrived) but this was good enough for us. we swam back out and got picked up by the rhib and made it back to the boat. waiting for us was a pile of food. we ate and drank tons and settled in for the trip back.

we sat right out front of the boat.

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and got to see the sunset over the pacific ocean. it was beautiful.

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we booked our bus ride to monteverde / santa elena through the hotel, set to leave the next afternoon.

day 5 - tamarindo to monteverde / santa elena, the tamarindo part of the day

we had to pack everything and check out. the hotel was super nice and let us keep our packs behind the front desk and let us use the pool. we did for a while, but we had one last thing we wanted to do in tamarindo: an estuary tour. so we walked all the way down the beach and found a boat guy to take us on the tour. as our luck would have it (our luck could have simply been our lack of planning, but it was working for us) it was just the two of us with two guides. the estuary was near the end of the beach and led away from the ocean. we were hoping to see monkeys.

we saw a cayman, lots of birds and crabbies, and some sleepy monkeys.

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Day 055 February 20 Tamarindo, Costa Rica  195_9573 (Medium)

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the tour lasted about two hours and by the end of it we could spot birds much better than when we started. we walked back along the beach and went back to our hotel to wait for the bus.

we really enjoyed tamarindo. we found the climate pleasant except the really strong wind and therefore blowing sand everywhere. the people were nice and we had no problems doing everything we wanted to do. we never felt threatened or scared. it's a really beautiful place and we would definitely go back again. and next time, we would try more of the costa rican food (we were a little scared of everything and ate mostly subway, pizza and zucaritas).

next post: monteverde / santa elena


  1. ok, everything you guys did in Tamarindo sounds ultra-cool.

    I've always wanted to try surfing but I'm not so keen on sharing water with the sharks.

  2. Batman, I love the pictures. It looks like paradise, for reals. All the stuff you did sounds super fun. Way to conquer your ocean thing, too. A long time ago when I was vising CR with my family we spent (I think)most of our time inland in the forest somewhere eating beans and rice. Rice and beans and beans and rice. I would have loved some zucaritos! I bet they're grrrrrrrrrande!

  3. Great pics. It looks beautiful there!