Getting our vagabond on

Trip Start Feb 07, 2012
Trip End Apr 24, 2012

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Where I stayed
B&B Leonardo'S Amalfi
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Costa Rica  , Guanacaste,
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

After a tearful good bye to enchanting Nicaragua, we headed back south to Costa Rica.  For our boarder crossing, we decided to "splurge" and take TicaBus - an air-conditioned bus, no chicken bus for sketchy and confusing boarder crossing.

We rented a car for 4 days as we nomadic ally moved south down the Nicoya Peninsula.  We actually stopped back in at Playa Grande, as Sawyer and Hunter loved the idea of going back to someplace familiar.  The surf was HUGE, so Paul was equally happy (but scared).  Trying his 4th or 5th board since getting to Central America, he was able to get some nice rides on a 7'6" fish called "Surfing Betty". 

Next, we headed south to Samara.  We had gotten mixed reviews from folks about Samara, but the four of us LOVED it... First, it is a vacation spot for Costa Ricans (Ticas) as much as it is for Westerners, which made us love it immediately.  Most of the menus are in Spanish, with some having English as an afterthought.  People address you in Spanish, not English, another important love factor for us.  The restaurants are right on the water, and I mean right on the water....I don't think there is a DEP in Costa Rica for shoreline development in Samara.  However, I must admit this type of building allowance made for a very cool place at dinner time.  Think palm trees, crashing surf almost at your feet, white Christmas tree lights wrapped around the trunks of all trees, candles everywhere, the murmurs of Spanish everywhere, and no mosquitoes!  And, the main reason we loved it, Sawyer was surfing from the "line up"  and, nothing makes my heart sing like a Sawyer Smile! 

For you non-surfers, The line-up requires "outside" the crashing waves.  Playa Samara is more protected than most of the Costa Rican coast.  Most places we had been was way too big for Sawyer to surf from the outside.  This gave him a great opportunity to paddle out, hang in the line-up and paddle into some waves.  It was great.

From Samara we had to decide how to get to Mal Pais.  The conventional way was to drive 4.5 hours all the way around on mostly paved road.  Being the dry season, the more adventurous option would be to take the "beach road".  It was far shorter in miles and time, but a bit "rougher".

This was one of the most beautiful drives we had ever taken - including some gems in the high country in Colorado.  The all-dirt road was sketchy in many places.  Seriously steeps (up and downs), hair pin corners, no guard-rails with super steep cliffs and right next to the roads. The other interesting obstacle that was described was the "river crossings".  I kind of assumed that meant a bridge, but no, they meant to "drive" thru the river.  I hope the rental car company is not reading this, we made four river crossings. :)

We drove thru beautiful fincas (farms), cute, very small villages and beautiful and largely deserted playas (beaches).  It was a magical drive. Next time, we will allow even more time for this beautiful ride

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