Back in early March Craig & I went to Costa Rica, and it was divine. So, I thought I’d take an entry to be a bit indulgent and share some photos and memories, as well as some tips if you intend to visit the area.
We visited the southwest edge of the Nicoya peninsula. We made a point of avoiding more touristy areas like Tamarindo and instead visited the Santa Teresa area, where the surf was said to be gentle enough for beginners (which we both are). Santa Teresa blends into Playa Carmen and Malpais to the south, and Playa Hermosa and Manzanillo to the north. The entire coast is lined with beautiful, pristine beaches, many of which are nearly empty once you get past Playa Teresa.
The surf around Playa Teresa was a bit brutal for beginners, but Playa Hermosa was fantastic, with relatively gentle surf, and a long, shallow ride into shore. All the beaches were wonderful, though. Long, clean, clear, and smooth, and pleasantly free of people trying to sell you bracelets and braids a la Mexico.
My favourite beaches were the ones between Hermosa and Manzanillo. Beach upon pristine beach, nestled into wee coves or spreading up the coast. Palm trees everywhere, and nary a soul in sight. Of course we discovered this stretch of paradise on our last morning there, so I suppose we will have to go back.
We booked our entire trip through Airbnb, and it was great. Our first location was in Santa Teresa, staying in the guest room of two re-located locals. Youbi was from Belgium, and Verena was from Germany. They had a beautiful home overlooking the rainforest and the ocean, and we cooked our meals in an outdoor kitchen listening to the geckos squeak. We saw an armadillo our first night there, and howler monkeys were frequent visitors as they loved harassing the neighbor’s dogs. Youbi & Verena gave us lots of great tips about the local area. Youbi had loads of surfing tips for Craig, and Verena knew all the local foodie spots.
Our second location was in Manzanillo, and it was just divine. We had to rent a quad to get there and to get around once we were there, but the added quiet and privacy (not to mention mobility) was more than worth the added daily cost. Our host picked us starfruit right off the tree when we arrived, and there was a cashew bush next to the pool. On our first morning there we watched over a dozen howler monkeys hopping from tree-to-tree, and the following day we saw the only white-headed capuchin monkeys of the trip.
On Friday we took a road trip over to Manzanillo. One of our destinations was the house of a woman who sold homemade jams and coconut oil. I bought some toasted coconut oil—I didn’t even know such a thing existed! It smells divine. I also nabbed a jar of mango jam and a jar of coconut jam, both of which are amazing. Later that day we stopped for lunch at a wee little bakery, and had lunch on their back patio area. The vegetable pita I had was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten—watch for an attempted dupe recipe!
Saturday was the local organic farmer’s market, which Verena had told us about. There I was able to pick up a couple different types of raw local honey and a jar of local cocoa butter (USA / Canada), which was very exciting. I could have left armfuls of cocoa beans, giant bars of cocoa butter (USA / Canada), and avocados the size of small melons, but I restrained myself.
And then we were off, heading home. Alas. It was an amazing vacation, though, and I’d go back in a heartbeat!