Playa Hermosa R&R

Road Trip: 5 Beaches, 400+ Miles

Beaches, Beaches, Beaches.  Since we had a car, we decided to drive along the west coast of Costa Rica up toward the Northern beaches.  Matt mapped out our route with the goal to hit 5 beaches along the peninsula.  Pretty aggressive journey as the average speed is 60 kmh (40 mph) on a single lane highway.  This trip should take us about 11-12 hours not including stops.

Yesterday, we drove from Manuel Antonio Estates to the Southern border and across to Panama.  Today, our trip will take us almost to the  Northern border of Nicaragua (the gray line in the image below is the border) – a short hour away.

After this trip, we pretty much drove the entire western coast of Costa Rica.

Beach adventure along western Costa Rica coast.

Beach adventure along western Costa Rica coast.

We were back on the single lane highway (one lane each direction), traveling through beautiful scenery, palm tree farms, small villages, lush greenery and cultivated fields.  There were periods of heavy down pour and bright sunshine.  If you weren’t trying to pass a slow 18-wheeler, you were focusing on the curved roads and bicycles, motor bikes, horses, pedestrians.

On the way to Guanacaste, we traveled through Liberia which is a pretty large town with an international airport, a modern church, an authentic colonial atmosphere, a rich history, and a central park.  The other really spectacular thing Liberia had was a Walmart!  I know, I know, not a big deal in the states, but in Costa Rica it is a huge score.

We had planned on driving to San Jose the next day (since we still had the car) to hit the Walmart and Mas y Menos stores.  That is 1.5-2 hour drive one way.  So, by stopping at the Walmart in Liberia it saves us another 3-4 hour drive.

The prices were not discounted, but the variety of products was huge.  We were able to stock up on paper goods and various supplies that we have not found locally in Quepos.  Win, Win, Win!

It took us quite a while to get to Playa Hermosa.  There are several beaches called “Playa Hermosa” in Costa Rica, but the one we visited was the one in Guanacaste.   Playa Hermosa has idyllic beauty and lush surroundings. A two-kilometer long grey sand beach, encircled by tropical forests and ridges of volcanic rock.  We took a lovely walk along the beach which was not very crowded.

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Our lunch stop was at Aqua Sport, where we sat on the beach and enjoyed the cool breeze.

Aqua Sport Lunch Stop. One of our favorite beaches.

Aqua Sport Lunch Stop. One of our favorite beaches.

After the last few stressful weeks, it was a joy to just sit and relax at the beach.  We decided we needed to get a move on, so we headed to Playa del Coco.  It was a very vibrant little town with lots of little shops and eateries.  It was raining a lot so we just did a drive by.

A friend told us to stop by Playa Danta while we were in Guanacaste.  It is a calm bay good for swimming and stand up paddle boarding.  We tried to get there following the local signs, but turned around.  Then we tried again using maps.me and got turned around again.  We were on a deeply rutted dirt path during a rain storm and decided that we should move on to the next beach.

It was sunset by the time we made it to Playa Potrero.  The beach was part of a national park so we did not drive in since it was close to closing.

Playa Potrero Sunset Shot

Playa Potrero Sunset Shot

Our last stop was Playa Grande.  Another super cute touristy surfer town.  We stopped in for a cold brew, then hopped back in the car to make the long journey home.

Beaches Visited:

  • Hermosa
  • Del Coco
  • Danta (missed this one)
  • Potrero
  • Grande
Escapades with the Lembergers

The Lemberger Escapades

A jammed packed 3-day weekend full of frolicking under waterfalls, a zip line tour, beaches, parks, monkeys, and crazy escapades with our good friends John, Missy, and Carl.  They happened to visit over Costa Rica’s Independence weekend celebrations and during one of their biggest, organized labor strikes.

Most of the major cities have road blocks preventing passage to and from the main road.  It caused massive delays and problems for those traveling in the country.  They open the road blocks for 15 minutes every two hours.  Luckily, it only delayed our guests 75 minutes, but it still made it a 4.5 hour bus ride.

For those of you interested in reading about the strike: Costa Rica Shaken by rare and unruly unrest, labor strike, Celebrity Cruise Cancels Arrival due o Labor Strikes, & Local Publication: Tico Times Reports No End in Sight

Fortunately, Quepos decided to move forward with the Independence Day celebrations despite the strike.  Missy, Carl and I walked around town while Matt and John took luggage up to the apartment.

We caught the very electrifying Luz de la Noche (light of the night) parade where kids make all sorts of artwork then decorate them with lights.  If you look closely, you can see a giant ship, a marlin, a house, and many other creative designs.

Quepos Independence Day Night Parade

Quepos Independence Day Night Parade

MANUEL ANTONIO NATIONAL PARK

We got up early, made a light breakfast and headed to Manuel Antonio National Park. My nature loving friends had a field day with all of the local flora, fauna, and natural habitats.

Manuel Antonio Estates with John, Missy, Carl

Manuel Antonio Estates with John, Missy, Carl

Of course, the monkeys put on a fabulous show for all spectators. Their escapades were enjoyed by all!  If you look closely, the monkey in the lower left corner has a baby on nursing, we think she was only a few weeks old.  Also, check out the faces of John, Missy, and Carl as the monkey family approached them – pretty funny.

Monkey Madness at the Park

Monkey Madness at the Park

We even got to witness a thieving raccoon trying to steal some lunch.  That would be the photos below Matt and Missy showing off their coco logo (they didn’t steal that) 🙂

Coco Loco with Matt and Missy

Coco Loco with Matt and Missy

It was a big exercise day, we climbed 48 floors and walked 17,000 steps which is 7.1 miles.

ZIP LINING ESCAPADES

Carl talked us all into going on a zipline tour.  And not just any tour, but the longest zipline in Central America with El Santuario Canopy Adventure Tours.  Flying over 3.6 kilometers across 10 zip lines that are both above and through the tree canopies.  We ascended 14 tree platforms, climbed up airstairs, scrambled over 6 hanging bridges, and rappelled down a tree.

It was a fabulous adventure!  We were all impressed with all of their amazing safety measures, professional guides, and beauty of the entire experience.

Crazy air-stairs, bridges, and walkways built into the tree canopies.

Zipline Tours with airstairs, bridges, and more

Zipline Tours with airstairs, bridges, and more

After we all got suited up, we joined the other 18 people on our tour.  It sounds like a huge tour, but we only saw the other people at the water stops, otherwise it flowed really nicely.  Look carefully to see John, Missy, and Carl flying through the air.

Getting ready for our zipline tour

Getting ready for our zipline tour

A little craziness ensured.  Carl decided to go upside down on one zip.  Matt and Missy both needed to be hauled in on the longest zip – they focused on enjoying the scenery instead of tuck and roll 😊

Zipline Craziness

Zipline Craziness

The super cool thing about this tour is that we did not have to worry about anything, including stopping.  They have a proprietary mechanism that stops all participants at the platform.  Takes a lot of relief off of you when all you have to do is hold on and enjoy the ride.

LITTLE TOURISTY PICS

We always find time to take a few touristy photos.

John, Missy, and Carl around Quepos

John, Missy, and Carl around Quepos

BAHIA COCAL

We took another long walk to the small fishing village just outside town.  Then, we hopped on the ferry to Bahia Cocal and walked the beach.  It was a great hunting expedition for sea treasures.  Top photo with Lemberger’s in front of ferry dock.

Bahia Cocal and a Long Walk on the Beach

Bahia Cocal and a Long Walk on the Beach

Another full day of exercise with 51 floors climbed, and 12,120 steps walked or 4.8 miles total.

HIKE TO WATERFALL

We were hoping to send John, Missy and Carl on the Monkey Mangrove Tour with Chino, but because of the strike, the roads were closed.  So, plan B was a hike to the Manuel Antonio Estates waterfall.

Our gated community at Manuel Antonio Estates consists of 9 apartments and about 15 homes.  Each are independently owned and used as rental properties.

As you can see from the map below, the apartments are on the opposite side of the waterfall.  We walked up and down many steep streets before arriving at the end of the road.  We made a left at the large dirt pile and an immediate right at the first water run off which leads down to the “cascada” or waterfall.

Manuel Antonio Estates Property Waterfall

Manuel Antonio Estates Property Waterfall

We had the place to ourselves for the first hour and enjoyed frolicking in the refreshing water.

As we were about to leave, 3 people arrived and showed Carl and Missy a hidden ledge under the falls where you can stand and get the perfect photo.

Manuel Antonio Estates Waterfall Hike

Manuel Antonio Estates Waterfall Hike

On property, 83 floors, 11, 989 steps, 4.9 miles

There were these super cool walking palms that we saw on our zip line tour.  Our guide told us that the palm tree is constantly striving for sunlight.  They grow new roots in the direction of where they want to go and then let the back roots die off so they can move.

Walking Palms

Walking Palms

We had such an amazing time with John, Missy and Carl.  Wonderful stories made, lots of laughter shared, good food, and long-lasting memories.  It is desperately hard to put into words how much it meant to have them visit us in Costa Rica, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Realtime Passage to Galapagos #03

50 Hours in and still trucking tho, not on the shortest / direct route. As Sugar Shack was refitted with new pointy things on top of her mast, we took the opportunity to upgrade those pointy things that normally only show which direction the wind is coming from. We upgraded them, as all things on a sailboat must serve dual purposes or there is no room on board. The new pointy things we settled on not only show the direction the wind is coming from but also the destination we are attempting to get to. They worked perfectly over night. Pointed straight to Galapagos and right at the wind that was coming from there. Now we just need a power boat. We now have traveled close to 100 miles out of our way to get to where we were going. The rain squalls kept it very interesting.
Just before sunset, some sea birds decided the shack was a perfect resting place to prune their feathers, it started with one. That was cute and fun to watch, but not a very pretty bird. Then another and another all competing for the princess seat on the bow. A quick look and those darned birds don’t get up to use the restroom. So an hour or so of swatting and washing down the dirty deck almost caused dinner to burn. In the end, we tied 2 t-shirts up there and that seemed to scare off all but 1 persistent little &&%# guy. Finally we were victorious and and didn’t see them after dark, and since it rained, I probably have 2 clean t-shirts to show for it. Tho the did use the solar panels as target practice, good thing it rained hard last night so there wasn’t much to clean up this morning.
Broke out the pressure cooker and made a Chipotle Chicken Rice bowl, tho might have been a bit spicy for Christine since there is some left-overs that we will roll up into a burrito for lunch today.
Sun is coming back out this morning, hopefully that will dry the cockpit out and some of our wet clothes. We tacked back this morning after being 50 miles off course and got a slightly favorable wind shift, still not quite able to make the course. Still light winds, but with our course change we are now also heading into the waves too, so slow going. But we will get there.
Keep on Keeping on. 459 miles to go (as the crow flies)
On 11/5/2018 @ 2:20 PM Our position: 04°58.97’N, 084°42.87’W Traveling 5.9 heading 251T
Google says we are here www.google.com/maps/place/4.98283,-84.71450
At 11/5/2018 @ 2:20 PM Our position: 04°58.97’N, 084°42.87’W Traveling 5.9 heading 251T
Google says we are here www.google.com/maps/place/4.98283,-84.71450