Tag Archives: Quepos

Matt walking along the Reto Mae Hike

Reto MAE Hike

Liming the days away as landlubbers is hard for us.  We miss the water, we miss the motion of the ocean, and we miss our home.  As we try to resolve our lightning strike claim, we wait…and wait.  So, we try to pass the time with hikes like Reto Mae Hike.

One Sunday, Matt and I decided to go on a exploration.  We had a general idea of where we wanted to end up but we weren’t sure how to get there. We walked into town, behind the marina to a beautiful little park.  Don’t you love the free gym / exercise equipment?

Paradero Park

Paradero Park

We knew there was a trail that led to the beaches, but we did not know what it was called.  Later, found ourselves on the Reto MAE Hike.  We did not plan to take this hike, but we stumbled upon it and it seemed to go in the direction of the beach.

History of Reto MAE Hike

A couple of years ago, Manuel Antonio introduced a new extreme race to Costa Rica: The Reto MAE. The acronym ‘MAE’ stands for ‘Manuel Antonio Extreme’, and it quickly rose to become one of the country’s most challenging races.

The Retro MAE Hike is a 10-kilometer trail that winds along the dramatic coastline between Quepos and Manuel Antonio national park, snaking through the rain forest, over bluffs, along cliffs, and visiting seven beaches along the way

The hikers start the Reto Mae hike in Manuel Antonio and end up at the marina.   However, our route was the exact opposite as we started at the marina and ended up somewhere in Manuel Antonio.

Reto Mae Extreme Hiking trail

Reto Mae Extreme Hiking trail

The Trail:

The trail started on a small, single, dirt path and we quickly came upon a fallen tree that we scurried over.  Along the path we found some guides.  These two dogs stayed with us for several miles.

It was a lovely trail, albeit a bit muddy since it had rained a lot the night before.  Everything was green and glistening.    The trail had several overlooks to beaches below, but we could not find the paths down.

We continued on and caught the trail after losing it – we came to a river crossing and debated whether or not the trail crossed the river or went around it.  We went around the river to look for the trail as opposed to getting wet. Later found out that we should have gone through the river.

Reto Mae Extreme Hiking Trail

Reto Mae Extreme Hiking Trail

Ronnie’s Place for a Reward:

We ended up at Ronnie’s Place and ordered a beer and Fresca.  The beverages were expensive, but they had a “captured” market.

Several of the trees were shedding bark. I had never seen anything like it, so beautiful.  See above photo.

We were exhausted.  Even though we wanted to make it to Playa Biesanz we were going to have to do it another day.

Return to Reto MAE a Few Weeks Later:

Fast forward, we decided to try to make it all the way to Playa Biesanz.  We tried to do the Reto Mae hike and take it across the river this time.

These crazy beach goers were blocking our trail.

Cows blocking the Reto Mae tral

Cows blocking the Reto Mae tral

Shoe Surgery On the Run

We were able to go around them and continued up the hill, down a muddy path and POW – my flip flop exploded.  Bummer.  Luckily, we had some line with us so Matt was able to give me a temporary fix and we continued on.

Blown flip flop with repair

Blown flip flop with repair

We were not heading in the right direction, so we hopped off the cow path and headed up hill across the grassy field.  It led to a tall barb wire fence that stopped us cold.  We walked along the fence until we came upon an “opening” that we squeezed through.

Now, we are on a decent dirt trail, continuing up only to encounter a huge security fence with a young lady on the other side.  I decided the friendly route was the way to go.  We weren’t sure who was on the public side.


We discovered we were on private property owned by a rancher which explained the cows.  There was a small opening under the fence, that we belly crawled through.  We are now covered in dirt, mud, and leaves. But we carried on through a pretty resort called Tulemar Resort.

We cooled off for a bit, before hitting Howard trail where we encountered a small waterfall.  Sweet, a quick opportunity to clean up and cool off.

Water falls at Tulemar Resort

Water falls at Tulemar Resort

The Animals

The wildlife came out to greet us – we found an Agouti which is a cross between a rabbit and a squirrel and a few monkeys.

Agouti and Monkeys at Tulemar Resort

Agouti and Monkeys at Tulemar Resort

We hiked up and down hills, through fields, rivers, beaches, over trees and rocks, and under fences.  We finally made it to Manuel Antonio, but the elusive Playa Biesanz is still calling us – so maybe another time.  Our health app logged 5.2 miles and 144 flights!

Reto MAE Hike

Reto MAE Hike

Cold Beer, Pizza, and this Amazing View

We stopped for lunch at La Lambretta, mostly for the view, cold beverage and pizza.  They had a local IPA called Grizzly and Matt said it was the best IPA he has had all year.  I think it is the only one he has had, but either way he was happy.

La Lambretta Pizzeria

La Lambretta Pizzeria

Reto Mae Hike

We will have to come back to explore the beaches further, perhaps with a better map?  Or perhaps we will wonder again just to see if we can get lost.

Welcome to Cocal

Barrio El Cocal: Costa Rica

There is a peninsula just off of Quepos that we have wanted to visit for some time.  We ventured to Barrio Boca Vieja a few times where spotted the ferry that would take us across.  However, we just never made it to Barrio El Cocal located on the other side of the peninsula.

The small grid area is downtown Quepos and across from Sueno Tranquillo is the peninsula and Barrio El Cocal.

Barrio Cocal

Finally, we decided we were going to explore Barrio El Cocal and the peninsula, and took the ferry across for 300 colones (or $0.26 each).

It is not your average ferry.  They have these open ended boats powered by a small outboard to take you across.  Very uneventful and as an added bonus you really feel like a Tico.

Ferry to Cocal

Ferry across the river

We decided to have the ferry drop us off on the village side as opposed to the beach side.  We wanted to explore the small town – one road.

Welcome to Cocal

As you enter the town on the one road, you pass a few homes, a decent market, and a huge park area just off the beach.

As we continued down the road this town continued to surprise us.  We were pleasantly surprised at the beauty of this spot.  On the left is the beach and on the right were small palm tree farms and banana plantations.

Cocal Plantations

We passed the local church

Church on Cocal

And kept walking. We passed some locals who seemed to think we were lost.  I take it they don’t get many gringos.

Cocal Beach:

We eventually decided to cut across to the beach so we could walk back toward the ferry dock.  It was a beautiful day on the beach with the blue sky reflecting on the water.

Beach at Cocal

Huge, beautiful trees and large ponds line the beach.

Beach at Cocal

We turned around after we had walked nearly 7 miles.  We were very tired and still had over 2 miles to go to get back to the apartment.  After rounding the tip, we hopped on a ferry, and rewarded ourselves with a cold beverage and an early dinner.

Hike to Barrio El Cocal

New Adventure:

  • Ferry across the ba
  • Visited a new town, Barrio El Cocal
  • Walked the entire peninsula
  • Almost hit 24k steps.
Oven in our apartment

Baking in Costa Rica

Ovens are not very prevalent in Costa Rica which makes baking a bit of a challenge.   Cooking is done on stove tops.  They have cook tops, small refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, and blenders.  We looked at several apartments and shied away from them because they had no ovens and I love to bake.  I had lofty goals of baking for our boat workers each week.

All of the apartments at Manuel Antonio Estates have ovens, but they are all a little different.  When I asked the two lovely ladies who keep the apartments ship shape how to work the oven, they smiled and said that they don’t bake.  They don’t have ovens in their homes.  So, why did I need help with the oven, let me explain.

Back in America – most ovens have gauges that have temperatures starting around 200 and going up to 550 in increments of 25 degrees.  So, if you need your oven at 325 you have a pretty good idea where to set the gauge.  And unlike the rest of the world, everything in the States is in Fahrenheit.

Here, like other parts of the world, everything uses the metric system and reads in Celsius.  Conversion is easy enough to figure out with google.  But, then you need to figure out how to read the actual settings.

The first apartment we stayed in had 5 settings for the oven.  Minimum, 175-200, 200-225, 225-250, and Maximum.  It is a wide range when you are trying to figure out 182 Celsius.

Our current apartment is a complete mystery.  It has 1, 2, 3, 4 and then a bunch of dots….

Image: Top is American Gauge, middle is one gauge here in CR and the bottom left is my current gauge.

Cooking in Costa Rica

Cooking in Costa Rica

Luckily, I had an oven temperature gauge from the boat and was able to get the oven within 25 degrees of my desired temperature.  What a funny experience.  Took nearly all day to bake banana muffins and my mini raspberry cheesecakes (click for the recipe).

Mini CheeseCakes

Mini Cheesecakes

I think I finally got into the baking groove after a few burnt and under cooked batches…luckily you all won’t be subject to eating these baked goods.  That was really hard to admit as those who know me know I am an excellent baker.  Maybe not a great cook, but certainly a great baker.

With our good friend Wayne coming, sugar cookies were a must.  Managed to bake several dozen without incident.  They just came out small and fat rather than larger and flat.  Tasted ok, but not my best.

Sugar Cookies For Wayne

Sugar Cookies For Wayne

Everything is just a wee bit smaller than back in the States.  The fridge will not accommodate a standard pizza box, but it does manage to keep things cold and make ice!  Dad modeling our Frigidare.

My dad posing by the fridge - which won't fit a pizza box

My dad posing by the fridge – which won’t fit a pizza box

May be small, but it works…

Oven in our apartment

Oven in our apartment

Our visitors also find it “unusual” or “weird” that when using the bathroom they have to put the toilet paper in the trash can and not the toilet.  All of Costa Rica is on the septic system.  So, restaurants, hotels, public and private bathrooms are like that.  Not a problem for us as we follow the same process on the boat, but our fellow Americans tend to have a hard time.

I will spare you the photo of the trash can 🙂  I wonder how many people will read all this way down on the blog.  If you did, send me a funny comment.