Costa Rica Photography scuba travel

Playing the Tourist

Getting ready for a trip up the beach on the horses.
Getting ready for a trip up the beach on the horses.

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.

The view as we went down the beach. Absolutely gorgeous.
The view as we went down the beach. Absolutely gorgeous.

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.

Half way point rest stop. Parts of my body were needing the break by now.
Half way point rest stop. Parts of my body were needing the break by now.

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.

Angel showing us how to open a coconut.
Angel showing us how to open a coconut.
Nearing the end of an awesome morning.
Nearing the end of an awesome morning.

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.

One of the beautiful waterfalls we got to swim in.
One of the beautiful waterfalls we got to swim in.

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.

Karen enjoying the hot springs. Not super hot, but comfortably warm considering it is about 30C out.
Karen enjoying the hot springs. Not super hot, but comfortably warm considering it is about 30C out.
Enjoying a hydro massage in the creek that runs right below the springs. It was a natural slip and slide that made you want to play like a kid again.
Enjoying a hydro massage in the creek that runs right below the springs. It was a natural slip and slide that made you want to play like a kid.
The owners dog checked us out after he finished sitting in the creek to cool down.
The owners dog checked us out after he finished sitting in the creek to cool down.

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.

Our guide showing us how to get a massage from the falls.
Our guide showing us how to get a massage from the falls.
Wonderfully secluded waterfall about 200 metres off the track. Something was nibbling our toes in this pond.
Wonderfully secluded waterfall about 200 metres off the track. Something was nibbling our toes in this pond.

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.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

2 comments on “Playing the Tourist

  1. Adams, Dianna

    The last picture just makes me thinK – “ MARCO POLO” AND WILD HOGS

    Dianna Adams, C.I.P.
    Senior Claims Adjuster
    City of Calgary – Law Department
    Risk Management and Claims
    P.O. Box 2100 Station M (Location Code 8055)
    Calgary, Alberta T2P 2M5
    Phone (403) 268-5423 Fax (403) 268-8257
    E-mail: dianna.adams@calgary.ca

  2. Great blog guys. It’s almost like your on vacation with all the stories. Love the dog. Oh and the hydro massage.

    The hat (Peter) still gets my goat. Dam you for stealing my thunder.

    Tried to ring you guys a couple times today but no answer. Will try again tomorrow

    Happy Mothers Day Karen

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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