It was time to get back to the warm and sunny Costa Rica after 2 weeks of reunions. Feeling fresh and revitalised we took a cab back to Ana’s parent’s house and quickly headed to bed to rejuvenate. The next morning we were greeted with Tico hospitality, an amazing breakfast and Ana’s dad took us to the mechanic to get our oil changed and make sure we weren’t getting ripped off (which was the case in the first place we went to!). Then we stocked up on groceries and headed into our AirBnB.
Located about 40 minutes outside of the airport Atenas was close enough for Mike & Vicky (our next visitors) to get a cab but also far enough from the capital to feel like a world away. The town is known as the nicest climate in Costa Rica and didn’t fail to deliver! Mid 20’s weather in the day with beautifully fresh air at night, and an unbelievable view from our treehouse hostel we already felt all natured out. When Mike & Vicky arrived we greeted them with wine and chilli – admittedly not the most local meal but still hearty and enough to keep everyone going until an early bed called us all due to jet lag.
We only spent one night at the beautiful AirBnB as we had limited time together and wanted to squeeze in as much as possible! So we got up early, the two Mikes went for a run in the fresh air and then we all headed to Tamarindo, a coastal surf town about 4 hours away. This was the first test of driving Betty with the weight of 4 people and whilst a little slow to accelerate and brake she handled it brilliantly! We are glad to say that we had no issues the whole time we had our guests. So we settled into our hostel with an incredibly useful parking spot, right in the middle of the common area and completely gated!
For the next two days in Tamarindo we rented boards for only $10 a day and surfed pretty much the whole time. By the end of it we all had achey ribs and arms and legs, but also had all caught good waves and enjoyed the beautiful beach. We made a habit of a local lunch ‘casados’ served out of the boot of a car for $3, and the 4pm happy hour at a little bar down the road. We’d definitely arrived in holiday mode! On our first night we attempted to go to a taco bar which turned out to ridiculously expensive and unbelievably small portions, so we vowed not to return. The second night we went to a different taco bar and the contrast was unbelievable – pictures to boot!
The third day in Tamarindo was spent walking around the town and doing a little more exploring, and as a change from tacos we went to a wood fired pizza restaurant a little out of town – we think Mike was craving a little homely food! On our last day, as the surf turned out to be pretty pants we booked a tennis court and went to play tennis which was so much fun! Unfortunately Annie had a nasty bug from a Pizza we’d had the night before so no tennis for her, she became the photographer/umpire combination.
All said and done we’d spent 4 nights in Tamarindo, and felt like we’d taken in all we could. So we headed to La Fortuna, a small tourist town in the mountains in North Costa Rica. Without wanting to waste a day of hiking however we went via the national park Volcan Tenorio, with the famous Rio Celeste running through it. As a change of pace from the beach life we hiked for what turned out to only be a couple of hours but were rewarded with beautiful sights.
The river running through the national park is famous due the incredible blue hue you can see. There has been lot of speculation in the past over what causes the distinct colour, but it turns out it’s a combination of aluminium, oxygen and silicon form a mineral which is suspended in the water. The specific size of the mineral causes the reflection of sunlight to scatter making it appear blue. Whilst this is boring to some, interesting to others, it’s undeniable the beautiful result it produces. A stunning blue waterfall was probably the highlight, however we also enjoyed seeing where the mineral enters the water and there’s a distinct line where the colour goes blue! We were also treated to an incredibly colourful lizard at the end of our trek which was an added bonus, and then a small snake sleeping on our way back.
Next, on to more nature in La Fortuna!