Last days on the Pacific Playa

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

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Where I stayed
La Hacienda Tropical

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hi everyone - Paul here.....After nearly 2 months, we had our last days on the pacific coast.  Hard to believe we had been in Central America west coast for so long with plenty of time near the beach!

Our last days were spent in Mal Pais.  We stayed the whole time at La Hacienda Tropical, a little gem on the southern end of the Mal Pais/Santa Teresa area of Costa Rica.  This part of Costa Rica is known for its tremendous surfing and beautiful beaches.  La Hacienda was a chill place with a great pool.  The owners (Paul and Maryanne) dropped everything a few years ago and moved to the playa. Both grew up and lived in New England so we had a lot in common.  Paul had surfed extensively in the same spots I surf in Maine.  They were very gracious hosts.  We had a great room and shared kitchen.  We often ate family style at the big kitchen table with other guests.  We quickly made many friends.  Lenny and Lisa from California became quick friends and we spent a lot of time together.  Strangely me, Paul (hotel owner) and Lenny all have the SAME birthday!  Yes, all 3 of us born on April 20th!  we spent time in the pool, in restaurants, at the beach and even checked out the dancing scene in a beach bar. Hunter wanted to go back every night to dance to reggae.  We also spent a lot of time with Vincente, a local (actually a Nicaraguan living in C.R.) who worked at La Hacienda.  He was a wonderful man that always made us feel welcomed and helped us with our spanish.  It continues to amaze me how no mater where you travel, how quickly you can make friendships that will last forever, even if you never see them again.

The surfing was fantastic.  I got in at least 1, usualy 2 sessions per day.   First off, the waves in Mal Pais are typically huge, and that was exactly the case while we were there.  The storms travel great distances in deep water and hold their power then slam into the coast right there.  The waves were consistenly head to head-and-a-half high (faces between 6 and 10 feet high).  Paul took me to several spots that I would never, ever dream of going to without some local knowledge.  Entry into the water includes paddling thru large rocks and pinnacles on the shore/shallows, trying to avoid the crashing waves.  The bottom in these places is reef/rock.  The waves however were wonderful, consistent left-hand point breaks in safe water - as long as you peel off the wave well before shore.  I caught many of the best waves of my life on the left-hand point break.  The consistencey of the take-off spot allowed me to surf in huge waves safely.  Another low-tide secret spot was a very long paddle, but also got similar massive waves safely.  At one point I crashed on a wave and promptly had my shorts torn off me.  Luckly they ended up down by my ankles.  Probelm was I had 5 or 6 more large waves come in and crash on my head while I tried to pull up my shorts.  That was the only time Paul was worried for me.  Luckly no one was on the beach to see my cheeks!  The beach break in town had even bigger waves.  I surfed there a bunch and caught some nice waves, but also got pounded many times.  I became a much better surfer after 2 weeks in these parts. The boys also got some nice white-water surfing on the smaller days and plenty of time jumping in the massive whitewater.  Sawyer cannot wait to be able to paddle out into the line-up at Kennebunk beach after all of his new experiences surfing. 

We also visited Montezuma.  It is a chill town northwest of Mal Pais.  It was a crazy 14km drive thru the jungle to get there.  It had a wonderful trail that you follow up a river to a waterfall with a great swimming hole.  You could jump in from various places into the cool water.  Hunter and I jumped from a rock cliff at least 10 feet above the water.  He is a crazy little kid.

After all this time in dry, hot Costa Rica playa we were ready to head into the mountains and some cooler air. but we will alway remember the beauty and power of the pacific as well as the great friends we had made.
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