After settling in to a comfortable routine on the coast in Costa Rica, we were fortunate to be able to get together with some fellow gringos and take part in some of the more touristy activities in the area. First up is horseback riding. There is a wonderful gentleman with a place on the road into Playa Matapalo, Angel, who does horseback tours. He arrived at our neighbours house at the agreed upon time with three horses in tow and sun hats for everyone.
After making sure we knew what we were doing with the horses and giving us a briefing, we were off. Angel provided an entertaining monolog of the sights and points of interest as we went along. Angel’s english is limited, but his ability to make himself understood was truly impressive. Whether it was speaking slow enough so we could interpret in our own minds or hand gestures and even drawing in the sand when necessary.
Angel had a wonderful spot for us to rest about halfway through the 3 hour tour. He put on a wonderful show, demonstrating the different types of coconuts and their tastes as well as the mangroves and explaining their importance. On the way back we detoured into the trees and had the opportunity to sample cashew fruit, mangos, star fruit, and an interesting little fruit that looked like a plum but had a huge seed. Quite tasty. Imagine just riding along and being able to reach up and pick fresh fruit from a tree. It was very cool.
I would highly recommend Angel for horseback tours. He is very reasonably priced, the horses have a great temperament (they just ignore the dogs when they come running at you barking), and he puts on a great show.
Next in the set of adventures was a trip to find some newly opened hot springs. Some would say, “What’s the adventure?” and that is a fair question. But let me set the context. Our neighbour says to us, “Would you like to come along and see if we can find a new hot springs everyone is talking about, but no one has been to yet?”. We look at each other, shrug our shoulders and say, sure. The “tour” consists of a taxi driver, Leo, showing up in a 4×4 Ford Nasa with the gringos and Leo piling in the front of the 4 door truck and our tour guide and his helper jumping in the box and us setting off for 50 minutes on a brutal back woods track to a home just outside of Las Bocas. Leo seemed to know where he was heading but is so casual about it it actually starts to make one a little nervous. However, the fellows delivered in style. We arrived at a homestead where they have just completed putting seats in the hot spring pools.
After relaxing and enjoying the springs and creek we were taken to two other waterfalls in close proximity. We were able to swim in both and only saw 4 or 5 locals at one of the falls. Other than them we had the place to ourselves.
We had a full day of touring around the local waterfalls and getting a peek at what the locals are able to enjoy everyday. We count ourselves as very fortunate to have been included in this adventure.
The last trip was to go diving off the coast of Manuel Antonio Park, just outside of Quepos. There is only one dive shop operating in this area and they are Oceans Unlimited. The rental gear was adequate and the boat we went out on was great. The dive master was a young lady who certainly knew her underwater creatures well. There were only 8 of us in the group, including the dive master and assistant dive master so that made for a nice sized group.
The diving itself was not the best. The visibility sucked (3 metres, 12 feet at best) and the terrain is not terribly inspiring. However, having said that, any day under the water is a good day in my books. We did see some nice fish and a cool little eel with lots of attitude. Once you got close enough the plant life was colourful as well.
It is fun once in a while to play the tourist. Kind of like taking a holiday from the grind of house sitting on the coast. Oh well, back to work.