Back in Paradise

Nov 9th, 2019, 07:00 PM
  #1  
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Back in Paradise

Almost four years ago to the day, my wife and I stood on Playa Ocotal, outside of Playas del Coco, and said, “ someday we are coming back here for a month.” That day is today. I recently retired, grew my hair long, dyed it gray ( two of those are true), We’ve been here for a week, so I’m not reporting in real time. Flew from Los Angeles to Liberia, easy flight, direct on Alaskan. 5 and 1/2 hours.
Got in at 8PM, kind of late so we stayed at the Best Western El Sitio. Taxi ride was $20, not bad, and check in was a breeze. Recently rained and you can feel that tropical heat.

Day two, got our rental car stopped at Walmart, and stocked up. Every Tico in Liberia was in Walmart. As we left we saw a sign that said “Best prices of the year Sale”

1/2 hour drive to Playas del Coco, left turn in the middle of town and two more KMs to Ocotal. Staying in a Condo up on a hill looking at the Ocean. Time to unwind.
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Nov 9th, 2019, 07:10 PM
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Saturday morning, down to the beach for some snorkling. Fairly good fish, but mostly rocks although nice coloring. Water was very clear. We were happy though, CR is not known for great snorkling.

Sunday, after the Sunday market, drove to some neighboring beaches, Playa Hermosa and Playa Panama. Not a great plan, the locals flock to the beach on Sunday, hard to park, roads packed. Word of advice, find a nice pool and save the beaching for Monday!

Today is Monday, and we are off to Las Catalinas. I had read about this place. It’s a car free development on Playa Danta. It’s beautiful although it’s pretty Disneyland. It feels like you are walking through an Italian village. You better bring plenty of lire because it ain’t cheap, but the beach is free! Best place to snorkel is Playa Dantita, right around the corner. We saw some small coral and a lot of fish. Well worth the hour drive or so from Playa del Coco.
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Nov 10th, 2019, 06:01 PM
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Wednesday night - Bingo at Hotel Puerto del Sol. Bingo is free and the drinks are reasonable, so it’s filled with expat retirees. Kind of crowd that you can say, “ does anyone have a spare hearing aid battery “ and ten people raise their hands. We sat next to a couple who just moved here from Montana. CR has that effect on people, they come for a vacation and end up moving here.

Thursday - Beach cleaning day. About ten of us walk along the beach and pick up trash. All Americans. Actually the beaches are pretty clean here , its mostly an excuse to have coffee afterwards and hear everyone’s story. People here fro 4 months, 6 months, we are the babies only staying one month.
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Nov 12th, 2019, 04:46 AM
  #4  
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Sunday Market - There is a Sunday market in the Las Palmas area. Las Palmas is about 200 condos, consisting of individual condo developments of about 24 units each. Most have a pool and a small garden. They are nice but get really busy in the season. It’s my understanding that over the years the same people come back and have established roots. So one condo group may be all French Canadians from Quebec, another one all from Toronto! They stay until it’s warm back home. Very similar to Arizona and Palm Springs in the States. Snowbirds.

But I digress. There is a market every Sunday. Last week it was pretty small but this week it was bigger. A guy named Rob makes these incredible breakfast sandwiches, but he runs out so everyone has to get there quick. We run into about 10 people we have met since we got here, so it’s a real Social hour.
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Nov 12th, 2019, 06:05 PM
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Monday - Anyone who’s has ever read one of my Trip Reports know it’s essentially me releasing my inner Hemingway, but this is a true tip. Today we decide to head out to the Papagayo Peninsula. It’s where all of the real upscale resorts are for your Madonnas and Stings etc. However the beach’s can’t be private so there has to be access. When you get to the end of the road you will hit a roundabout, if you take road marked Visitantes a Playas, it will take you to a dirt parking lot with a shuttle bus that runs every 25 minutes or so and will take you to 4 different beaches. We opted for Playa Nacascolo. A fantastic white sand beach that is shaded and the water is super clear and flat so you can sit on the shore in the water and max chill! A mile away, people are paying $1,000 a night at the Four Seasons but you are at one of the best beaches on the Peninsula for free. I’ve never seen anything about this in a tour book. Our neighbor turned us on to it. Pura Vida!
stopped at Matiss at the El Mangrove for dinner at Playa Panama on the way to Ocotal. Good view, great food.
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Nov 14th, 2019, 04:35 AM
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Tuesday - Today we headed toward Rincon de la Viejo., but specifically Hacienda Guachipelin. There is one thing Costa Rican’s excel at and that is tourism. Every adventure tour or guided tour I’ve taken here is run like a professional business, designed for max enjoyment and safety. Guachipelin is no different. First of all getting there. There is a turn off, off Hwy 1 north of Liberia. It is only about 4 KMs past the Roundabout but easy to miss. Look for the sign to Curabande. After that it’s not to hard to follow the signs but the turn off signs are partially hidden by tree branches.

We opted for the Tubing/ lunch / Hot Springs option. I’ve hung up my Tarzan loin clothe a few years ago so I’m not going to repel or canyoning! Tubing was so much fun. Great tubes, sturdy, you will need that because you are going to be “bumper carring” down the river for the next hour. Went down the river with about 25 tourists from England. So much fun. 1 & 2 class rapids but some nice series.

Great buffet lunch, many choices.

Then you drive to the hot springs. About 3 KMs from check in. As we walked toward the entrance to the hot springs, a young guard showed us a boa constrictor sleeping in a tree. Hot springs is a accessed by a hanging bridge. About 9 pools, first your open your pores in a pool and then cover yourself with mud. Real nice way to end our adventure day.
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