One thing that we've discovered since getting into Tamarindo is that wildlife can sometimes surround you without actually having to search for it. We've also found that some monkeys can be a little intimidating. I'm not talking about their body size (though some of those male dangly bits look downright painful to have while hanging onto a 30 foot branch) but rather their sound.
The male howler monkey is known for two things out here. One is those afore mentioned dangly bits and the other is for the loud howling it does. It's a bit of a unique sound and the closest I can approximate would be a cross between a Tarzan howl and a loud, deep guttural growl. They say that the howlers cry can reach almost 5 km's and is one of the loudest land animals. After hearing it firsthand, I can believe it.
Now imagine this scenario. It's five am the second morning after getting into Tamarindo. You're feeling quite comfortable and secure in your 3rd story condo knowing that thieves or any "bad" people would need to jump the 10 foot high razor blade covered outer wall then perform a spiderman feat of climbing nearly 30 vertical feet to get to your balcony. Now imagine being woken up with superhuman loud guttural screams only feet from where you're sleeping...
Because of the heat in this area, we've made it a point to stay out of the sun from 12 to 2 each day. Tamarindo is crazy hot and walking out of an air conditioned place into the afternoon sun is like walking into an oven. If you're out and about at an earlier time and stay outdoors (preferably in the shade unless you like to punish yourself) it's not so bad. Just like the boiled frog parable, if you slowly roast yourself you won't realize how hot it is as the day wears on but if you jump into a boiling pot (or the rolling heat in this case) you'll quickly realize how much folly it is.
That being said, the few times we have braved the elements at a neighboring beach club called the Langosta Beach Club and it's about 2 blocks from our condo. It's owned by a French company and everyone there seems to speak French, English and Spanish. They have a nice little pool, beach loungers, a few hammocks and one of the nicest stretches of beach (at least in my mind) right in front of the place. They also have a little bar and restaurant in the pool area and serve great food at somewhat reasonable (at least for this area) prices. Their bacon and avocado sandwich is quite delicious. Smoothies aren't the cheapest we've seen but their strawberry one is heavenly on a warm day.
Over the course of the past few weeks we've had the opportunity to really explore the Guanacaste Province. After leaving San Jose we jumped on a shuttle bus to Tamarindo where we were staying for the month. The 6+ hour bus trip was quite the experience. We didn't realize how hot and dry Tamarindo could get but after being here for a while we've learnt a few tricks.
In my previous post I talked about ziplining being popular in Costa Rica. That's probably a bit of an understatement considering there are literally dozens of places to do it all over the country. We were really hoping to be able to go before we got to Costa Rica but realized that it would be near impossible with Jordan along. That was until we got into a long chat with one of the tour operators out here. It seems that kids can indeed go ziplining. The only caveat is that they need to either go with a guide or a willing parent. In our case, it was both. We were picked up at...
While we were in San José last week we decided that we were going to go take a tour or two. Most people that come to Costa Rica fly in to San José, stay a few days, go on a bunch of tours then get their arses to the coast and the beaches. Though San José doesn't offer much to do in the big city proper, there are some of the best sights in the country within an hour or two of the city limits. To be more exact, San José is in the center of the country and because of Costa Rica's smaller size, almost anything in the country can be reached and experienced in one day. Of course, some of those days will be excruciatingly long but they can be done nonetheless.
Since we have a two and five year old with us, a lot of the more common day trips weren't going to cut it. As much as I would have enjoyed rafting class 4 and 5 rapids, rappelling down a majestic waterfall, galloping horses through a jungle or even ziplining down a 1/2 inch wide cable a mile long while precariously hanging a hundred feet in the air those just aren't in the books for us this go around. Cole could probably do a few of them but Jordan is just too young.
This led us to going on a lengthy day trip to some quintessential Costa Rican areas. There are literally three things that pop into my head when I say the name Costa Rica: jungles, volcano's and coffee. We were lucky enough to stumble on a day trip that encompassed all three. We booked our trip..
Our story starts on a quiet flight heading to Central America. Imagine that it's New Year's Eve, only a few minutes before 2011. After 2 months of lounging around the beach on the Caribbean Sea side of Mexico it suddenly dawns on us that we were about to land in a different world. Out either side of the airplane we could see fireworks going off at regular intervals all across the valley of San Jose.
As we jump off the plane and into the SUV of our driver and hotel owner Jose we were quickly whisked through lively neighborhoods filled with young Ticos preparing for the New Year. As we checked in at a quarter to midnight we found ourselves glad to be out of Mexico. Nothing against Playa but the place was starting to get a little too busy for us and we needed something new to sink our teeth into.
It wasn't until we were unpacking our things in our room that the gong struck midnight and the city exploded in fireworks...