After leaving Arenal we headed to the Nicoya Peninsula to visit Nosara and Samara. We saw several HUGE cows along the way in the countryside.
When we travel we try to stay off the beaten path, away from “touristy” places and especially all-inclusive hotels (not our cup of tea, but I know many people that enjoy them). We are currently staying at a working horse ranch where they have horses, goats, dogs, cats, sheep and chickens.
Jungle and really huge trees surround the ranch, which house howler monkeys. Howler monkeys are said to be the loudest land animal and I believe it! We could hear the howler monkeys every night before bed and early in the morning. I would joke with Dave that they sounded like “grumpy monkeys”. We had a few of the smaller females and juveniles in the trees right off our patio/balcony. I was able to get a few shots of them really high up in the trees. The babies sure are cute.
It is just a short 10-minute drive to the beach where we can walk on the beach, play in the water, search for seashells and when our skin is sun-kissed we head back to the ranch for a change of scenery to be with nature and animals. This has been the perfect retreat that is not our “norm” for a Costa Rican vacation.
Nature makes my troubles go away and fills my heart with happiness. We were able to visit the beaches of Nosara, Guiones, Pelada, Samara and Ostional.
Those that know me know that I absolutely love turtles. Although it is not turtle hatching season, we had the pleasure of visiting Ostional, the black sand beach where the olive-ridley turtles come to dig and lay their eggs during rainy season in the rich, volcanic sand. That would be a sight to behold and some day I hope to be able to witness the turtles laying their eggs and then watching the hatchlings race to the water. With it being close to 100*, the sand was super hot and we did not stay long. I snapped a few pictures as my feet burned on the hot sand, even though I was wearing flip-flops.
The Nicoya peninsula does not get a lot of rain and since it was dry season it was super dry and the roads around town were not paved and the town was super dusty. We found a fun Mexican restaurant that had funky décor called El Chivo, which means the “goat”. The story goes, that the owners drove their camper van down from Canada to Costa Rica, but had car troubles in Mexico were they stayed for several months learning the local culture and cuisine. The food was decent, but they sure served a mean margarita that had quite the kick.
After a day of sun, surf and fun it is time to relax. We are finally starting to feel better.
On our last night in Nosara, we had another unwanted visitor, a vampire bat, which is pretty common in Costa Rica. We tried hard to get him out of the bedroom as it was flying erratically all around the room. It finally flew up high on the ceiling near a wood beam and was hiding in a hole. I was so freaked out that it would come out if the hole in the middle of the night that I went and got our host who lived down stairs to see if they had any ideas or solutions on how to get the bat out. The host came up and got on a ladder (that was way too short) and managed to get a piece of tape over the hole. I was still freaked out thinking that it could totally come through the piece of tape, so I went into the other bedroom and closed the door. I could hear the bat moving around in the rafters and in the wall, and then guess what happened? It somehow made it into my room through a hole in the rafters in the second bedroom. It was flying around like crazy and missed hitting my head by an inch or two. I screamed and ran out of the room super fast and slammed the door behind me. I read that these bats not only fly, but also can crawl and hop on the ground. Thanks for the memorable last night, Mr. Bat.
We left Nosara and headed to one of our favorite places in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio. Most of the hotels are perched on a hillside so the views are breathtaking. People ask me all the time “why Costa Rica?” Here is my “WHY”. This is my view from the pool, drinking a fresh piña colada. It doesn’t get much better than this. Pura Vida indeed.
Manuel Antonio is known for its monkeys (howler, squirrel and white-faced capuchin). They actually boast that they still have more monkeys than people. We ran into a troop of white-faced capuchin monkeys while walking on the path to the pool where I took some photos and video while keeping my distance. Don’t let their cute faces fool you because they are super-aggressive. I had one run up to me and swipe my leg with its nails and then showed me all of his teeth. I was in no way bothering them or trying to get too close. I respect nature and never try to disrupt the balance and harmony.
We had a fun three days going to the beach, swimming at the pool and relaxing.
We had dinner at a restaurant called Avion, where they took an old C-123 cargo plane and turned it into a restaurant. There is still a cockpit almost fully intact and you can climb in and check it out.
We visited the local marina and we saw a few boats that we wouldn’t mind owning (ha ha).
No trip would be complete without me buying a new hat (I have a slight addiction).
Off to our next destination, stay tuned…..