Monday, 10 June 2013

Puerto Viejo and Playas

Life in Puerto Viejo and the beaches is pretty chill. I can see why there is a large ex-pat community and younger backpackers scene here. There is a also a Jamaican population here too which adds to the Caribbean feel - reggae music coming from the bars, rasta people, and even groups of men playing dominos in the afternoons with creole talk sprinkled in there. And then there is the Latinos and the indigenous groups that live further inland. So, it's quite an eclectic mix of people here. The beaches seem quite unique and varied too. There are a few right in town that are shallow and great for splashing around (on the weekends it's full of families and kids enjoying life). Then you head south and there is Playa Cocles which is a long beach with some surfing waves (I just don't put Caribbean and surfing together but I guess there is some good surf here!) and good Skim boarding. We watched this one guy playing around on his skim board and he made it look so easy.. so when Liam wanted to try it, he was a bit surprised at how hard it was.. but he managed to get a few good glides in there. Our favourite beach, the next one down, is Punta Uva, which is just a beautiful natural beach with tropical forest hanging out over the bluff and then the coconut palm and almond trees lining the beach. The day we headed there, we found a great spot in front of a restaurant (Arricife)  so we could enjoy their reggae music and a few drinks too (and the Rasta barman knew his reggae music.. it was a fine selection to listen to.. not the normal Bob Marley that we are now really sick of listening too!) - it was like a poor-mans resort! Further south there is Manzanillo town and beach but we didn't spend anytime there, just drove down to check it out.. it's sort of the end of the road on the coast (there is another road further inland that hooks up with Panama). We had a rain day that kept us pretty much cabin bound but the after the rain the skies in the evening were amazing.

Today, we are hitting the road and are going to the nearly opposite end of Costa Rica! Seriously, we are almost as south on the Caribbean side as you can get. We need to drive up the coast, then west to the central plateau (Mesa Central), then back south along the Talamanca Range were we get up into cloud forest and we'll reach 3300 meters on the PanAmerican highway.  Then we head down off the Range, towards the Pacific coastal plains and go to one of the most remote points there on the Osa Penisula (the link above gives you the google map version). We aren't trying to do it in one day, so we'll break it up and stop somewhere.. maybe along the Talamanca Range to experience a cool night before we go back down into the tropical heat. 

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