Costa Rica 2023, Playa Avellanas and Tamarindo


We rose late on our first morning at Vagina Beach. I was up before Mickey, and I let him sleep in. His body needed it. I prepared our lovely fresh fruit breakfast and wrote some more. Then I lay in the hammock trying to get a sound bite from the howlers but they were just not loud enough. So went for a short walk to take pics of flowers. I was startled by one hibiscus bush when a large lizard was startled by me and bolted out and across my path. We both let out a little gasp.

It was not yet 8am and the heat was stifling. That’s not a complaint, it is a fact. By noon it would be unbearable, and my skin was already getting a little lobster hue to it. At breakfast, I made the suggestion we should do some exploring while the sun beats down on the earth and head to the beach around 3pm. With this plan in mind, Mickey suggested we go shopping in Tamarindo. Excellent idea!, because I had not yet found a dress or sandals I like and I had people to buy gifts for. To my surprise, as we wound down the road into Tamarindo it was like driving right back into Santa Theresa but the roads were paved and in good condition. The air of commerce was all around us, it felt even more American than Banana Beach and most of the people who owned quaint little shops were not Costa Rican. The local people could be found working in chain stores like Maxi Pali, akin to Loblaws. We had to stop in there to stock up on water and necessities. Another first, underground parking for the Maxi Pali. It was in a mall that had lots of restaurants, furniture stores and opticians, among others. I fell in love with a partition wall made of blue glass bottles and a food court with a sand floor. So fun !

First stop was for coffee. We hit up this cute little vegan café. It was very good espresso and of course Mickey had fresh juice. That down our hatch, we ventured into the multitude of gift and clothing stores. I finally found the dress I wanted (seen in the picture with Alfonso) and a pair of sandals that didn’t give me blisters between the toes. The ones I bought in Arenal, I left for someone to have at the Banana Beach Cabin. I’m sure I’ve had the same reaction to sandals that go between your first two toes before but I didn’t learn from it. I have crossed this type of sandal off my list FOREVER.

I also bought for myself a chorreador (coffee maker) because I had used Mickey’s back home, used one when we stayed with Alan and Luis and I liked the quality of flavour you get from it. Personally, I like my coffee cold, but this is a nice change of pace.

Shopping was fast and efficient, so we now had time to explore the rich and the poor of Tamarindo. The differences in dwellings from one end of town to the other was obvious and clear. I often wonder how the extremely poor, anywhere cope with having to live next to opulence and privilege. I know I am privileged to live where I live and it’s true that when you travel, your perspective shifts. I am now more profoundly aware how privileged I am and look to the homeless of Ottawa. I will do better to treat people with kindness.

This is the first time since being in Costa Rica that I have seen anything above 2 stories. There were hotels here that were 10 to 15 stories high. I wouldn’t want to be staying in that place during earthquakes or volcano eruptions.

After checking out the overcrowded beach of Tamarindo, we were hungry. We drove around until something spoke to us. Up until now, I had consumed casados, chiccharonnes and many other traditional dishes and I was just craving a good burger. The aroma from an Argentinian Restaurant named La Boca beckoned us. They had burgers! They had delicious burgers! And I had my first french fry since landing in Costa Rica. I was also pleased to see a pepper grinder on the table. If you know me well, you know how much pepper I put on my food. All of the places we’ve been so far had salt but no pepper. Instead, I spiced up my food with the hot sauces that were always next to the salt. Funny thing too, the Sodas also have packets of mayo at every table. It’s a very popular condiment here. The burger and fries were exactly what I wanted. I love when that happens.

Mickey spied the wood oven off to the right of us and we went over to check it out. It’s just like the wood stoves my mom used to cook on when we lived on the farm. Beside it was an open, round bbq with a pig and a pineapple roasting, I imagine, for the dinner rush? I kind of wish we could come back for dinner. Mickey and I had started to eat perhaps twice a day now because we were constantly on the run and, being sick, Mickey didn’t have much of an appetite. We ate more out of necessity rather than hunger. I’m happy to say that with all the carb rich meals we’ve eaten I have not gained any weight. With all the hiking and swimming being done, I actually lost a few pounds!

Lunch down the hatch, we drove back to Avellanas and got ready for the beach. We had 4 hours of sunshine left so we parked at Lola’s and swam for an hour. A couple of beach loungers opened up so we grabbed those and a couple of drinks. Beach loungers are $10 for the day which I found very reasonable. Mickey had a raw tuna dish as a snack and then we just relaxed in the sun until we needed to go back in the water to cool down.

This swim was the most enjoyable one so far because Mickey took more time to teach me how to swim in the ocean. I was getting the hang of it finally but never get too cocky when it comes to those massive waves. I was still knocked on my ass once or twice, but I learned to dive into the white water and let the wave bring me back up the other side of it. I was really enjoying the pirouettes I was using on the rolling waves. I felt like a ballerina. We danced in the water for another hour, and I decided to get out and say goodbye to the ocean from the shore. This would be our last swim because tomorrow we are headed to Santa Cruz to visit Alex’s (a colleague and friend of mine in Ottawa) parents. I got to know them virtually but meeting them in person is not something I thought I’d actually ever do.

We took in another stunning sunset with children climbing trees and waving at a drone, dogs playing in and out of the water, trying to capture the perfect picture of Mickey swimming in the sunset, crabs of all sorts picking up scraps left behind by humans, the Great-tailed Grackle whooshed just above our heads from tree to tree and singing a sunset song. Ahhhhh yes, this is paradise.

We headed back to our paradise cabin. We each took to our own corners to catch up with family and social back home and then settled in for a great long sleep. Tomorrow we would leave this, my favourite beach and cabin so far, but tomorrow would be epic when I finally get to hug Theresa and Alfonso!

Pura Vida


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