Costa Rica 2023, Puntarenas and Paquera


After all the pampering we received at Los Lagos and the late fun night in San Jose,it was hard to leave it behind for our next leg of this amazing journey. Puntarenas? At long last I was about to check off swimming in the Atlantic Ocean from my bucket list.

It was about a three hour drive from the city to the coast. I have to admit that I felt guilty and helpless about how sick mickey was. He just wasn’t his bright, kind self at all. He was quite miserable so I kept pretty quiet and let him process his pain.

The stark and heartbreaking picture of Puntarenas as you come down to ocean side was hard to grasp. This is an ocean town that should be rich with tourism dollars but is sadly and obviously impoverished.

Mickey seems to have some sort of recall going on. We’ll be driving along and then all of a sudden he’ll veer off to the left or right like a sudden flash back is steering the car. This time it was for a super sweet iced drink at a seaside sugar shack. He didn’t explain or describe what we were doing there, he just ordered something like he was in a dream. It turned out to be, mounds of shaved ice with mega pumps of sweet syrup, followed by scoops of ice cream, topped with condensed milk. My teeth ached just looking at it but Mickey slushed it around and he actually ate/drank the whole thing. I was in awe.

All sugared up, we were ready to take on the coast! We spotted a large Ferry and then Mickey went for his phone and exclaimed, “Oh! It’s free!” Almost immediately we pulled into a long line of cars which he instinctively knew was for the ferry. A man came to our window to write down our license plate and give us a ticket to board the ferry. He told us it would leave in two hours so we decided to walk around the town, take in the local flavour. It really was not tasty. Pretty depressing and a tad scary. We dodged into a restaurant named Coco. It was time for a cool drink and real food. Mickey ordered a fish ceviche and I ordered what I thought was a plantain ceviche. My Spanish is horrible and l ended up with an oyster ceviche. I had promised Mickey before we left Canada that I would keep an open mind and try new things, including food and drink. So, in I dove and was pleasantly surprised at the taste.It wasn’t anything like the smoked oysters I love at home. It was similar in taste but a completely opposite texture. I ate the whole boat! The crispy plantain was sheer joy in my mouth.

It was timed to board the ferry which would take us across to where our

accommodations were. I was impressed and worried at the same time

when I saw 4 tractor trailers being loaded on with all the cars and hundreds

of people. I resolved not to fret and to enjoy the ride and the views. We were

almost all boarded when a security guard asked a man to leave because he had dog, that was not permitted. They argued for quite some time but

ultimately they were allowed to stay.

The day was rather dull and cloudy so the trip was like a hazy river voyage.

Lots of mountain ranges, a few oddly shaped islands, but all in all, meh.

Across the ocean in Paquera, life is quite different. Tourists are fucking everywhere! And right behind them are locals providing goods and services on a large scale. Farming and tourism exist side by side.

And everyone and their abuella drives a motorcycle! In fact, I wager that dirt bikes out number cars and trucks in Paquera! As well, these 2 wheeled riders take the road as their own. They’ll pass you on the right, they’ll pass you on the left in between on coming traffic, they basically weave their way to where they need to go. Watching them do so with no fear was a nail biting experience. Kind of like waiting for the jack-in-the- box to pop out.

Finally we arrived at our cabin at Banana Beach. As soon a we drove into Santa Theresa we knew we were not in Kansas anymore. It was like a chaotic circus complete with ATV’s, dirt bikes, jeeps and us in our Rav4 rental ! People were everywhere, there were no sidewalks and the road was not anything more than a logging or camping road infested with pot holes and boulders. But there are shops , restaurants, and surf stores as well as super mercaditos and a few Ronnie’s Licor stores. It is a rustic Venice Beach!

I could see the instant shock and disappointment in Mickey’s face as we lugged our bags up a flight of stairs to our very rustic but charming cabin. I had gone back down the stairs for the last bag when something the size of a large bullfrog scurried past my feet. By the number of legs, my mind registered, TARANTULA!, but after a flashing second I could see, in the dark, that it was a small crab. They move pretty fast!

I really liked the place but my buddy did not. I could tell he was just going to bide his time here but I was determined to help him see something good about Santa Theresa.

First order of business is a night dip in the ocean. I must admit, I was a little nervous swimming in the dark in such a vast body of water but I trusted Mickey and he really wanted to swim. He told me to take the waves standing sideways and I would be fine. I followed his instructions but no matter what I kept getting knocked on my ass and had a hard time gaining my balance because it’s wave after wave after wave! We finally just sat closer to shore and took in the stars and waves, and knowing my buddy has done all of this with and for me and, the tears came. I was utterly aware of all that Mickey has done to get us here and I was deeply grateful. I never ever thought I would do half of the things I have done in the time that I have been in Costa Rica.

It was late, we were tired, Mickey was still sick so we tucked ourselves into bed shortly after our swim. I stayed up and wrote for a while but by the time my head hit the pillow I was out like a light. We must have been dead to the world to have not heard the symphony of motorcycles below our windows.

Pura Vida


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