Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Playas del Coco

Playas del Coco is a beach town on the Pacific coast, north of the Nicoya Peninsula (home of Montezuma, Santa Teresa, and Mal País), almost all the way to Nicaragua. This weekend I joined a group of all girls to make the trek. Janelle, Ashley, Elyse, Kelley, Anjela, Byung, Cat, and I met at the Super Zhen on Friday after our Spanish exams (mine went well – hooray!) and took a “direct” bus to Playas del Coco. Here in Costa Rica, direct does not that the bus doesn’t stop, only that you don’t have to switch busses. Thus, we got on the 2:00 bus and were delivered in Playas del Coco cerca de 9:30. This semester really has been a semester of bus rides. Every weekend it’s at least five hours on the bus. I don’t mind though, the scenery is always great and people-watching is interesting, especially when people are standing in the aisle. En realidad, usualmente I pass out tan pronto como I sit down. When we got off the bus there were the usual group of ticos competing for your attention: “Taxi?” “Hotel?” “Hola babies” or whatever they may come up with. [“I am NOT your baby!” Ashley replied to us rather than the men.] We started walking and one particularly persistent one kept telling us about a hotel which he claimed was $5 – it was actually 5 mil ($10) per night per person but the place which I think could best be described as a pensión was fantastic: huge room with a bunch of beds (bunks and doubles) and also a sitting area, then another room with more beds and a kitchen, then a little dish-washing room and then bathroom. It was perfect – traveling in a group of 8 we could not have found better. The woman who ran the place was really friendly and sweet and we loved it immediately. We got burgers for dinner (the cheapest food in town).Saturday morning we split up: some of the girls headed straight for the beach while the rest of us scouted out breakfast (green tea smoothie and breakfast sandwich on a bagel), and then joined the others. At breakfast we met two cute girls from the states who just graduated from college and are doing volunteer work in Costa Rica for a few months. Sounded like fun to me. The beach was a little dirty in spots but still pretty and the water was very refreshing. There was a strong breeze that pelted us with the dark sand and before long we all looked like we had been having dirt fights all morning but we persevered and enjoyed the time chatting anyway. The funny thing about traveling with all girls is that you really do talk about girl-talk all the time. I can count on one hand the conversations we had over the weekend that a boy would have enjoyed. (Hair, clothes, boys, boyfriends, you name it). When we couldn’t take the heat/sand any more we headed back to the hotel for delicious cold showers. We explored the nearby super and found that it carried everything. Literally everything. Coffee, food, alcohol, clothing (ugly), jewelry, souvenirs, and it even had a DVD rental section. We put on dresses for a sunset photo-shoot and then returned to the super to buy pasta, wine, and salad-makings with which we had quite the feast. Saturday night dinner was probably the highlight of the weekend. Sleeping that night was tough because of the heat and the mosquitoes, but a few rounds of cards got us tired enough to try again.
Sunday the die-hards went back to the beach and those of us who felt the need to cover up wandered town (I had some AMAZING french toast with banana sauce and bananas on top). We had been told on Saturday that the bus station was closed so we tried again and to our chagrin we were told that the direct bus home was sold out. Luckily, busses to Libería run on the hour and from Liberîa to San Jose every 2 hours. (Read, “LEE-bah-REE-ah”, not like the country Liberia). We shopped around a little and then regrouped and got on the 1:00 bus. We arrived in Liberîa just after 2:00 and found the next bus with seats available was going to be at 6:00 so we hunkered down in Burger King’s air conditioning (it was H-O-T HOT outside) and played cards and ate french fries and pb+j’s for a few hours. (We had bought the sandwich stuff on Saturday for lunch). The time passed surprisingly quickly and then we took the very long bus home. Finding a cab in San José proved to be the hardest part of the trip.

For more photos: Costa Rica 11: Santa Teresa and Playas del Coco
Costa Rica 12: Playas del Coco and Saprissa soccer game

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