It’s the weekend, so that must mean it’s time to travel again! Welcome back to Costa Rica, where it’s hot and humid, the monkeys never stop hollering (but eventually you get used to the sound, and then miss it when you leave), and everything is pura vida.
Today’s post finds us on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica: the Nicoya Peninsula. I spent about a month in this region, couch-and-dorm-hopping so many times that I’ve lost track of how many roofs I slept under. All in the name of a good story to tell, right? Let’s start with the scenery as we drove westward from Monteverde:
The next few photos are from a spiritual community called Pachamama, where I stayed for about ten days:
The lure of friends further down the coast took me away from Pachamama, and marked the end of my time as a mother’s helper. The beach became my respite, my therapist and my sustenance: what better for an ocean loving SAD sufferer than to spend the month of December alongside the Pacific? Included in that respite, of course, are the friends that unfailingly supported me, the omnipresent fresh fruit and seafood (I hadn’t gone full vegetarian yet), and the abundance of Wifi hotspots with which to connect to family back home.
Here, I enjoyed the best restaurant meal of my stay thus far at the Gilded Iguana in Nosara:
My lovely friend Monika was generous enough to let me stay with her for a week in Playa Pelada, which is one of the four beaches that make up the larger community of Nosara. Here is a typical salad that she would prepare:
The next beach over, Playa Guiones, held the weekly organic market. It was such a nice community gathering place in the morning sunlight and under the palm trees. The best part? All of the free samples:
Nosara is one of the oldest expatriate communities in all of Costa Rica, so here there are more English speakers and people of American/European descent than there are locals. This also means that it’s one of the more expensive places to stay: I found many of the prices when eating out to be comparable to those in the United States, but on the flip side, I enjoyed some comfort foods I never expected to find in Central America. At the Beach Dog Cafe in Playa Guiones, I’m not ashamed to say that I ate this banana chocolate chip muffin several days a week:
One of the more popular dishes you’ll find in Costa Rican dining establishments is called a casado (literally “marriage”): meat or fish, fried plantains, a salad involving cabbage, and of course, rice and beans. Most meals from this point on were some variation on this dish (more shots of these to come in the Nicaragua post!).
And finally, this fruit platter the day after Christmas cost me $1:
It’s true that I was depressed throughout my two months in Costa Rica, but I was simultaneously in awe of the generous people I encountered, and grateful for all the blessings I received. It was on this trip that I truly came to realize how to accept help from other people– without that help in all its forms, I would not have survived. And though my situation continued to be difficult in a financial sense as I traveled north to Nicaragua, my mood lifted dramatically.
I can’t wait to share photos from one of my favorite months of travel in next weekend’s post 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
We are sad at home and blame the weather and the ugliness of the buildings, but on the tropical island we learn… that the state of the skies and the appearance of our dwellings can never on their own underwrite our joy nor condemn us to misery. –Alain de Botton, “The Art of Travel”
An adventure is never an adventure while it’s happening. Challenging experiences need time to ferment, and adventure is simply physical and emotional discomfort recollected in tranquillity. –Tim Cahill