exploring, examining, exchanging, expressing
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Dos Playas, Cuatro Noches
J, my roomie and fellow teacher, was going to be class-less for two weeks. I, being a kind-hearted gentleman, offered to let her teach my class for three days this week. She and our academic coordinator agreed to the proposal. That meant one thing for me: beach trip!

Saturday morning, bright and early, I made my way towards the southern Pacific coast. I spent my first two nights in Manuel Antonio, which is a beautiful beach. It's also heavily touristed. More tourists means more people selling things on the beach. Are these people selling things that beach-goers need, like icecream or beer? No, they're selling ceramic pots. Every five minutes, I was confronted by someone with a pot on every finger, calling out "Ceramica, Amigo?" Who the heck goes to the beach to buy pottery? I didn't see them sell a single piece.

Manuel Antonio Beach

The highlight was on Sunday, when I visited the national park. It was absolutely stunning. There were monkeys and iguanas and racoons and all kinds of birds. And not a single ceramica salesman in sight. I hiked up to the various lookout points, which provided amazing views of the beach. Breathtaking.

Manuel Antonio National Park Manuel Antonio National Park

Monday I took a bus down to Dominical. It's a relatively short trip, around 40 kilometers, but it took over two hours because the road is unpaved. It's all gravel and potholes. That makes the busride, literally, a pain in the ass. But it was worth it. Dominical is my kind of beach. It's small and quiet. It has a great vibe, very laid back, and filled with surfers. The food is good and the beer is cheap. Ideal. Unfortunately, it rained all afternoon and evening. Less than ideal.

Dominical Beach View from Tortilla Flats

Tuesday I tried to go a little further south (17 kilometers, to be exact) to Playa Uvita, which is supposedly an even more remote, quiet beach. Unfortunately, I got off the bus too early. I made it to Uvita the town, but not Uvita the beach. So I had to walk a few more kilometers. I found more of the town, which consists of several farms and a few cabinas and sodas. I found the entrance to the national park. But I never saw the beach. I didn't see any other tourists and only a few locals. Hot, tired, and a little nervous, I headed back to the bus stop, where I waited a couple of hours and had a nice conversation with a Tico who assured me the bus would come. Finally I went back to the comfort of Dominical, where I enjoyed my final night.

Wednesday I headed back, but took a different route. Instead of going through Manuel Antonio, I went over the mountains to San Isidro, the only "big city" in this part of the country. The bus ride was crowded, but the view from the mountains was beautiful. From there, I caught a bus to San Jose and arrived in Heredia safely.

I love these mini-adventures.

More Manuel Antonio pictures.
More Dominical pictures.