We’re in Tamarindo on the north coast of Costa Rica, for the first extended stay of our travels. This means a reprieve from catching cabs, buses, and planes for a while, which has been exhausting. To get here from Granada, we caught a bus to Liberia on Thursday, which included crossing the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border. These two countries are not getting along right now, and although we were not crossing a disputed portion of the border, it took over an hour waiting in the hot sun to get our passports stamped just to leave Nicaragua, and then an hour in line to get our Costa Rica entry stamp – and although everyone warned us to have proof we were leaving the country at a later date, the official did not look at us or ask us any questions about our stay as he stamped our passport. Then we had to wait another 30 minutes for another official to look through the bus and a few of the bags in the underside bins. We had wisely decided to stay the night in Liberia – we’re getting used to buses leaving late and taking longer to get us to our destination than promised, so doing one section at a time reduces the stress.
True to form, the bus on Friday from Liberia to Tamarindo did not leave at noon as posted, but at 1:10 pm, and took not under two hours, but over three hours to travel 78 kms. But it’s good to be here!
We’re in a small apartment with a great view of the Pacific Ocean, although the view comes with having to climb a mini-Grouse Grind every day to get home from the wide sandy beach Tamarindo is famous for. With great wave action all day, Playa Tamarindo is also popular with surfers and we’re having a great time jumping in and out of the big waves. On Saturday we walked along several kilometres of beach and rocky points as far as Playa Langosta – Deborah spotted a pair of American Oystercatchers – a distant relative of the Black Oystercatchers we often see in the tidal pools along the seawall in Vancouver. We’ve seen a lot of other birds, from hummingbirds to pelicans; Costa Rica is a very popular destination for birders.
Tamarindo, in fact most of Costa Rica, is extremely popular with Canadians and Americans – some here for vacations, others here indefinitely. On Saturday, there was a feeling of mass panic in the air when the town’s main cable TV and Internet service crashed. That would have left only a couple of bars with satellite reception able to project the Superbowl game. To the great relief of vacationers and expats, the local service came back on line early Sunday morning, and all was well. Neither of us follow US football, so we arbitrarily decided to cheer for New York, and they didn’t let us down. The broadcast here in Costa Rica is a direct feed from NBC, so we got you see all the commercials everyone makes a big fuss about. We’re not sure what the big deal is –most of the commercials were as lame as they are during the rest of the year – with one possible exception: we quite enjoyed the Doritos spot with the dog and missing cat. That one made us laugh out loud.
One of the most annoying aspects of travelling in the tropics is the number of insects that exist only to bite or sting touristas. Daytime seems to be okay, but after dark, despite liberal applications of various anti-bite creams and sprays, we’re being eaten alive, and we’ve been cautioned to shake out clothes and towels in case scorpions are hiding in the folds, waiting to sting us!