Lush steamy jungle meets the warm Pacific currents
01/06/2009 31 °C
Border drama finally sorted, we are legally in Costa Rica. One problem though - the Costa Rica border is a ghost town and the road is blocked with semi trailers for as long as anyones guess. Getting late theres only one thing to do, pile the gear on ya back, pick up the boards and harden the F$%& up. The Nicaraguan officials were mentally draining, now the truck protest physically. With us all carrying somewhere between 15-25kgs the walk begins, we pass truck after truck after truck... middle of no where... hot and sweaty... creepy truck drivers hanging around... Can you see what I see??? A big hill damn! We pass a group of American backpackers walking from the other direction, they are red faced and look close to death. They tell us not to bother and to turn back as they have been walking for an hour and a half of road block. No way we are turning back!!!
The minutes go by as do the litres of sweat and painstakingly we make it to the end of the road block. 6km, a new record for hiking with all the gear! With relief no words can describe we fall into a taxi and head to the nearest town, La Cruz, right on dark. We deserve a little bit of luxury, we choose a hotel with a pool and cable TV, treat ourself to dinner accompanied with top shelf Costa Rican rum. After dinner we find heaven. Round the corner a late night bakery served up the BEST custard croissonts EVER! Quisiera siete por favour...
Next day we split from Christain and head to San Jose solo on an incredibly slow and very packed bus. All day on the road we reach San Jose in the dark. Stayed the night in a funky backpackers, Hostel Tranquillo, cool chill areas, bar, free internet, kitchen etc. Desperatly in need of ATM and dinner we walk gingerly through the streets to the main part (downtown) of the capital, not sure whether it was safe to do so but we were fine. San Jose is grimey and not too pretty, I couldnt really imagine wanting to spend much time there. Next day we destroy the free pancake brekkie and bus it to Jaco beach.
Jaco is a happening beachside holiday destination with loads of bars, resturants, shops and accom (most on the pricey side) and creatures from every corner of the earth. We stay 10 mins walk out of town at Hostel Kangaroo (seemed fitting). Nice pad a stones throw from the beach, normally has a pool but it was being fixed whilst we stayed there. Hotel Kangaroo is owned by a Swiss guy and run by a very friendly German, Uwe (go figure?). The rooms are nice enough with private bathroom, free internet and kitchen use.
We enjoyed being back in civilisation and spent our time shopping and cooking, the local fish was cheap, fresh and divine. Jess called home and weaped a tear in excitement at hearing Mum and Dads voice. It rained a little in Jaco and would continue to rain in the afternoon throughout most of Costa Rica. We welcomed the rain as we hadnt seen any since Hawaii, also the vegetation everywhere in Costa Rica is so lush and beautiful you couldnt possible be dissappointed by a little rain.
Jess set Jaco beach on fire by pulling into solid 1-2ft foam straight hander barrells on a mal! She was tearing!!!!!!!Check it out!! Set after set she was DOMINATING!!!
The only barrell that steve got while in Jaco....
Behind the town of Jaco is a small mountain covered in lush jungle, we walked a trail that rounded the mountain to reveal view over Jaco beach. I think we must have made a wrong turn into private property though as our tourist trail turned into over grown jungle trail. We spotted some funky poisonous looking fluro green and black frogs, toucans, scarlet macaws, a troop of white faced monkies (Maxxies wild cousins) and fabulous butterflies. Steve brushed up against something nasty that came up in a stinging acid welt (that was still a scar a month on and has been made into a temporarynatural tatoo following some time int he sun). The forest floor is thick with leaf littler and dotted with disturbing little holes that look turrantula-ish. We hit a dead end/shear cliff face drop and backtrack.
You can hire bikes in town to do a little exploring, we rode to the next beach round, Playa Hermosa (4km from Jaco) as we had been told the surf had been pumping and its one of hte best beachies in the world. No surf when we check it out but the swell charts predicted a pulse so we pack up from Hotel Kangaroo and head to Rancho Grande at Hermosa beach. Next day and still no surf, Steve walked 4kms down the beach in search of decent banks, the swell arrived but along the 8km of beach there were no good banks - what world class beach break???? World class shore dump!!! Depression starts to kick in as without wheels its hard to explore. Steve chatted to a guy that ran a surf shop, he had scored waves that morning at a point break you need a car to get to. Steve in a desperate hope to get some waves without walking 4kms asks if he could tag along the following morning. ¨Yeah sure, I have to talk to my friend, I will call over to your accom after work at 6ish¨. He never showed, depression in overdrive we hit the bottle for comfort, pack our bags and bolt south first thing in the morning to catch some swell at the famous Pavaonnes.
Long day of travel, bus to Quepos, 2nd bus to Dominical, 3rd bus to San Izidro, 4th bus to Rio Claro, taxi to Golfito, arrive in the dark. Stay the night. Had dinner at Skyline Pizza, yum yum and we witnessed the mating ceremony of two frisky geckos on the wall. Next morning a bumpy bus/ferry/bus to Pavonnes. We bump into Christian again on the bus. The jungle meets the ocean, the water is sky blue and the surf is pumping. Long left handers snake around the point to form central americas longest most smashable left. Sorry, no photos, you will have to imagine steve getting waves for about 200m plus, red faced and frothing at the mouth. Ruler edged lines, rubber legs, 15 turns (wigles) a wave inbetween the speed trims.
The town at Pavonnes is small and cute, 2 grocers, a couple to bars and resturants, a soccor feild and a smattering of accom. We stayed at Billies cabanas, nice local surfer dude runs the place, about a 2min walk to the point. We arrived in Pavonnes for the weekend and there was a few people about, many to see the grand final of the local soccer tournament. The surf on the afternoon we arrived was 3ft, glassey and playful. Apparently in the morning it had been all time. The boys milk it and surf til sunset, lucky because by the next morning the swell had almost entirely dropped out, Pavonnes was pretty shitty with a cross shore wind. So we walk south towards a beach break 4km away. The walk was really nice, a dirt road hugs the coast, lined with jungle, the beaches fill the space between rocky volcanic outcrops and the palm trees shade the way.
The beach break was messy but fun. Steve paddles out to an outside left reef and cops some mouth from a local girl ('dont surf my wave man' and shakes her head) who wanted all the waves to herself even though there was only her and steve out there, sheesh its not like 4 of them went out there and crowded her, and it was the only break working for 10km.
No swell on the horizon we move on, bus back to Golfito, then a ferry over to Puerto Jimenez, the gateway town to Parque National Corcovado (National Geographic described as ¨the most biologically intense place on earth¨). 1.5 hours in the back of a truck along a bumpy dirt road we are in the middle of the forest in the beachside village of Matapalo. Apparently the home to an epic right hander, which wasnt working when we arrived due to the dropping swell.
Matapalo is a group of eco accomadations spotted in the dense forrest. No running water, no power, no phone lines, we stayed in a jungle cabin with tiny solar power lights and rain water showers. We hiked through the forest to a waterfall that wasnt really falling due to it being the end of the dry season but it was beautiful anyway with not a soul to be seen. During the night time we walked around the property and witnessed the scurrying behaviour of thousands of crabs. Hermit crabs, red crabs, orange crabs, purple crabs, 3 types of monkeys, ant eaters and toucans!
Nature fix satisfied we ride the collectivo back to town, ferry to Golfito and bus it to the border. Choa Choa Costa, Olah Panama!