This weekend was the perfect example of why I came to Costa Rica. Traveling alone is wonderful, and you’re never really “alone” if you don’t want to be. Just one simple “hey what’s up, where are you from?” can spark a friendship, even if it only lasts for a few days. You may never see these people again, but it doesn’t matter. You were all in the same place, at the same time, with the same intentions and you all made each others time that much better.
I had a few days off this week so after my shift on Thursday I hopped on a two hour bus ride to Jaco (from San Jose, head to the Coca Cola Terminal – ticket office is perpendicular to where the buses are – I had to ask bc I had no idea so figured I’d throw that bit of info in there). I check into a hostel there across from the beach called Beds on Bohio. I think within 5 minutes of being in my room my bunkmate started smoking. They really really love weed over here.
I head out to the common area which is a bunch of hammocks and a seating area outside and met my friends for the weekend. My bunkmate J, a blonde Texan surfer who looks like he came straight out of Cali; B from Chicago, a tall dude who has been to like 60+ countries, and has the coolest passport I’ve ever seen; and C, the resident tico* surf instructor. We end up at some local outdoor bar, Clarita’s or something like that.
That’s what I love about hostels. You can just walk outside, sit down near some folks and then you guys are friends for the next couple days.
(***Tico = another word for Costa Rican)
About an hour away from Jaco, is Manuel Antonio National Park, which is known for it’s beautiful beaches and hiking trails. (Side Note: It is NOT open on Mondays). One of the others staying at the hostel mentioned he was going to rent a motorcycle to head down there Friday and asked if I wanted to go with him, so obviously I said Hell Ya! Maybe not the best decision to hop on the back of a bike with a dude you just met, but yolo? My instincts/gut said it was ok to go, so I went.We head out for about an hour ride along the pacific coast of Costa Rica Friday morning. I felt like a badass, except for the part where we had to wear neon yellow vests and helmets.
We spend the day walking around, did not know how much walking/hiking this park entailed. We finally made it to the beach, and immediately headed for the water. It is so hot and HUMID there, you could just be sitting doing nothing and you’d be pouring sweat. Not the best I’ve ever looked, but everyone else was a shweaty mess so it’s all gravy.
As we were cooling down enjoying the cold water, these two raccoons attempted to steal our bags. At first there was just one, he was kind of laying back. I think he was trying to assess the situation and figure out his plan of attack.
Eventually he made his move and mosied on over to our stuff on the beach. The girls next to us were trying to scare it away with a stick so my amigo ran out and made some loud noises to scare them off, then hung our stuff on a branch while I just watched from the water making concerned faces. A little bit later the raccoon came back with his friend, a little tag team action. That was their final attempt, fortunately they stayed away after that …probably moved on to another beach for their next victim.
Made our way back to the center of town to enjoy some refreshing batidas (smoothies/juice drink), then made our way back to Jaco. We stopped at Playa Hermosa for food. Every Saturday at 4 pm they have a big surfing competition on Playa Hermosa, sadly I couldn’t see it because my bus was at 6 pm that next day. Womp, womp. We get back to Jaco Beach just in time to watch the sunset, a few of us sat while others surfed. I was taking pics of the sunset/surf action with someone’s Nikon. I felt like Nigel Barker. It was a beautiful sunset to end a great day.
It’s rainy season in CR right now so it rains a few hours every day, more so in San Jose than in Jaco. Since it was downpouring, we all ate dinner together in the hostel, this time we were joined by a few Aussie’s, three lawyers from Amsterdam who were bored at their hotel so they checked into our hostel knowing there’d be more social activity, and a kid from Colorado. We started the night of at Le Loft, they were having a Free Drinks special from 9-11 so obviously we went. Not the best tasting booze, but whatevs. They extended the free drinks til midnight, then we bounced to Orange Pub (on the same bar strip) to continue the night and bust a move. We finished the night at the hostel. As we were walking in, I see three naked dudes on the balcony of the hotel next door. It definitely took me by surprise. I just pointed up at them and yelled “I can see your wiener!!” then giggled and ran to the lounge area. I heard some loud splashes so I’m assuming they were jumping from the balcony into the pool.
Sadly, I had to leave on Saturday because I had work at 7 am the next day. I bought a ticket for the 6 pm bus. Spent the morning at the beach with the Aussie’s and Colorado, then the afternoon walking around town and grabbing some drinks. Everyone was leaving for the surf competition so we all hugged it out and said bye, it was like leaving summer camp or something. I have always wanted to be on Bug Juice, but that’s neither here or there. I had a few hours to kill before my bus so I grabbed some coffee and dessert.
It’s now time to go, so I hop on the bus back to San Jose. These buses are like coach/greyhound buses with very little leg room, and not as nice. You buy your ticket, and it’s all assigned seating. I take my seat thinking I’d have a nice quiet ride back where I’d be staring out the window thinking about how awesome my weekend was, but that was definitely not in the plans. This 30 something year old Nicaraguan man (late 30s) takes a seat next to me, and we start chatting. I notice he has some paintings with him, turns out he’s an artist. We spend the two hour bus ride talking. He’s telling me all about his life: his art, his playboy days, shows me pictures of his wife and daughter, etc. He then goes on to say that he draws nude paintings and how he would like to draw me. I literally broke out in laughter, and immediately pictured Jack and Rose on the titanic. I don’t think I could ever do that, and also what the F would I do with a naked painting of myself? ALSO way to be a creeper.
It was one of those weekends where random things continuously happened. I think when you open yourself up… like really keep an open mind and be as much of a “yes man” as you can be, say F it with no set plans/expectations and just go with the flow, things/opportunities/people are more likely to come your way. They kind of just gravitate towards that type of attitude.