18 March 2011


Over my last three-day weekend, I traveled to the beaches of Nosara, on the Nicoya peninsula. The beaches in that area are amazing!

Getting to the bus station was interesting. I had heard that the buses fill up quickly, so I wanted to arrive early for the 5:30 a.m. departure. I arrived at the bus station, which is in a pretty seedy part of town, at around 4:45, only to discover that the station doesn't open until 5:00, so I had to wait outside in the dark until then. Even the cab driver seemed a little worried about this plan and admonished me several times to be careful...and in my experience, if the cab driver's worried, things aren't looking good. To avoid being detected by thieving vagrants, I lurked in a gutter/corner area, where the rats kept me company. I wish I was kidding about that last part. On the upside, speaking of the cab driver, as we were driving to the bus station, we were having a conversation about how hot it had been recently. I mentioned that I love hot weather, as I had adjusted to it while living in Texas, and he was surprised that I was a foreigner. Score! Sure, we weren't discussing nuclear testing or anything...we were just having a very basic conversation...but still, I was really excited that he couldn't tell from the quality (or lack thereof) of my Spanish or from my accent that I'm not from Costa Rica.

Back to Nosara, which is in a dry part of Costa Rica (I didn't realize that those existed!) Right now, they're experiencing a drought, and everything was caked with layers of dust:

(No, this tree is not dead, its leaves are just covered with dirt.)

Because the roads are unpaved, motor vehicles are prohibited from driving over 20 kph, because going faster kicks up a lot of dust. The local towns are in a state of medical emergency due to all the dust, and an ambulance drives around constantly, picking up people who need medical treatment for dust inhalation.

The scenery inland from the beaches is beautiful, too.

I got a little lost while walking from my cabin to the beach the first day I was there. An older couple kept zooming by on their ATVs, and I guess they must have realized that I was lost, because the man came back at one point to ask if I wanted a ride to wherever I was going. I gratefully accepted, and as we were riding along, an ocelot ran across our path! I've never seen a live ocelot in the wild before--it was pretty incredible. My new friend took me to a soda (traditional road-side restaurant) to get lunch and 80 glasses of water, after which I hit the beach. At dinner that night, I met a great couple from Denver while enjoying some pretty delicious Mexican food (which I totally miss from my time living on the border!)

At the end of the weekend, as I was walking to the stop to catch a return bus to San Jose, I almost stepped on this guy, who must have been hiding from the sun:

Ha! The weather was pretty hot, but it was great for going to the beach.

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