When last we left off, Ramona and I were hopping a Grayline shuttle on a Friday morning, heading to Tamarindo, the second stop on our year-long tour in Costa Rica. Shortly after we arrived at our rented condo, we encountered El Horno Loco (the mad oven).
But first, the rest of the week.
Tamarindo is a popular beach town located in the Nicoya Peninsula, in the Guanacaste Province. Now when I say Tamarindo is popular, I mean it is popular almost exclusively with a few groups of people: American and European tourists, and Tico surfers. In particular, there are a lot of small shops and properties owned and operated by Americans. On average, my feeling is that the typical Tico that lives elsewhere in the country probably doesn’t care for the town too much.
One may have to leave their sensibilities at the door in this location. As gringos, it was rare to set foot in town for more than a couple of minutes without being accosted to purchase touristy knickknacks, tropical drinks, or drugs. A simple “no gracias” ends the conversation, but interactions like these can get old fast.
The town’s main drag run right along Playa Tamarindo (Tamarindo Beach). The beach has some pretty epic waves, and the width of the shore varies widely with the high and low tides; at different points during the day there may be only a few feet of shore with which to place towels or other gear. Early on in our stay we took a long walk around the outskirts of town, in search of a coworking location that was listed online. The coworking place no longer seemed to exist, but Ramona and I did take in some great sights, including circling back to an adjacent beach (Playa Langosta, or “Lobster Beach”), and spotting a family of howler monkeys crossing the road. Last summer during our honeymoon we had heard the howler monkey’s distinctly loud wail while out in nature, but had never seen one in person, so this experience left us rather giddy.
The beach was less than a quarter of a mile away by foot, but the pool in our complex was just down the stairs from our condo. We took advantage of it’s proximity to frequently take a quick swim in the morning, during lunch, or in the evening after dinner. Again, with this being the low season/off-season in Costa Rica, there are fewer people traveling here, so the pool was virtually ours alone for the entire duration of our stay. An aspiration both Ramona and I had for our experience abroad was to read a lot more, and wading in the pool while perusing a book on a Kindle became a pretty easy way to meet that aim.