Large lizards and sinister green parrots....

Trip Start Jul 21, 2012
Trip End Aug 09, 2012

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Where I stayed

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Guanacaste,
Monday, July 23, 2012

After a good 12 hours of sleep under my fan set on full blast, I awoke feeling somewhat refreshed. I had a nice shower and bumped into rather camp and plump hostel owner on my way back to my room.  He was brandishing a small, green parrot, thus I felt I had to make polite conversation and coo at his bird a bit.  It was quite a comical was just sat on his hand completely emotionlessly, a little bit like the parrot version of the evil penguin in Wallace and Gromit.  Anyway, trying to ignore the bird and the sinister looks it was giving me, I sussed out local breakfast opportunities and enquired about how to get to the beach.  I had wanted to go on a tour or something, but Liberia isn't exactly backpacker hub of Costa Rica and the hostel owner gave me the limited option of a 15km hike up a volcano, which didn't strike me as a good way to acclimatise to the climate and get over my jet lag.  The usual Blue River trip was apparently off at the moment as the dry weather that Costa Rica has been experiencing has lead to the river turning brown.  Am not that fussy about the colour of rivers, but it wasn't running anyway so not an option.

The parrot did a poo at that point, so this seemed like a good chance to make a hasty retreat back into my room.  A bit of bag rearranging and it was time to trundle off to find some breakfast.  The hostel is only 100m from the bus station and market, so sussed out the eateries in the market and plumped for a little stall ran by friendly looking women.  Ordered a fine large cup of coffee to accompany rice and beans with fried sausage meat and queso cheese, topped off with a good spoonful of pickled chillies.  Mmmm....good breakfast.  

Feeling pleasantly full, I then went and sat in the bus station, waiting for a bus to the beach to appear.  I'm slightly wary of bus stations as they are a magnet for nodogood types but they are also interesting places to sit and observe.  There was a beardy old man selling apples who hissed chica at me as he passed, ladies selling colourful cold drinks in plastic bags and bags of bitter mango with lime and salt.  Another man was wandering around selling TV remote controls.  After waiting a good half an hour or so, I allowed one of the taxi drivers to start up a conversation.  He pointed out that buses to the beach didn't go from that bus station.  he didn't reveal where they were supposed to depart from but did offer to drive me for $20.

Anyhoo, I rechecked lonely planet and trundled off round the corner to find the other bus station.  My route passed a very large almost komodo-esque lizard up a tree but did end up at the right bus station and luckily a bus was just departing.  

The bus journey was interesting, 45 minutes winding across Costa Rican countryside - lots of agricultural land, papaya tress, coconuts palms, sugar cane fields, fields of long horn beefs....  I saw another couple of large lizards and a rather fine stripy tree squirrel wit ha big bushy tail.  No armadillo or sloth though. 

Living by the stunning Jurassic coast, I am not actually overly fond of seaside resorts.  Wherever you are in the world, they are a magnet for overpriced tourist joints and people selling crap and Playa del Coco seemed no different.  I wandered down to the beach, called Coco as the sand is the colour of coconuts and therefore not very appealing.  It was very quiet there - it is officially rainy season here and American tourists prefer Tamarindo, a couple of beaches up along the peninsula.  I sat and had a little read then had a paddle in the Pacific ocean, took a few dull photos and headed up to find a drink.  I was ripped off for a coconut with a straw on top - he wanted $1 and you don't really barter in Costa Rica.  Not having any dollars on me, I offered some colones, and he swiped a 1000 colone note (about 2 dollars) and didn't seem to want to give me any change.  Not buying his coconuts again!

Wandered back up to where I'd got off the bus.  I brought a cup of iced coffee and tried and failed to find out the return times of the busses.  An old american expat engaged me in conversation "is this your first time in paradise?" - I think he needs to explore the world a bit more if his idea of paradise is Playa del Coco.  I found the local supermarket and got some water and a coconut ice lolly then found the bus and returned to Liberia.  

Camp, parrot wielding man was off duty and had been replaced by his partner (business or otherwise?), Jesus.  I had a bit of a rest then asked Jesus to recommend a safe, easy to get to dinner place.  His recommendation was decidely shut (fiesta / sunday??) so I popped into the supermarket, got a cold beer, some tortlilla chips and a bag of fried chicken and took it back to the hotel to eat.  A rather fine black hostel cat came and joined me, which was nice.  The hostel is only small and very quiet so haven't met anyone to travel with yet.  Unless I recruit the evil parrot and the black cat.  Nonetheless, will get out of Costa Rica today and voyage north into the poorer Nicaragua to see what it has to offer.  

I've been awake since 6am - reckon I am not over the jet lag yet!!   

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Ma on

'...lots of agricultural land, papaya tress, coconuts palms, sugar cane fields, fields of long horn beefs.... I saw another couple of large lizards and a rather fine 'stripy tree squirrel wit ha big bushy tail. No armadillo or sloth though...'

Hmm, I think you've gone for a stay in Abbotsbury and didnt want to tell the family in case we visited.

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