Costa Rica Day 4 by Michelle Mantor

I’m writing Day 4 of my adventures in Costa Rica on the morning of Day 5 because I had a little too much Cacique Guaro on the evening of Day 4 and fell asleep with only thoughts of blogging. So here I am at 6am, sitting outside on a beautiful morning. There is a cacophony of bird sounds, a fantastic sunrise on the gorgeous Pacific ocean and the temperature (according to my handy iPhone) is a breezy 73 degrees. It’s such a perfect morning that I’m thankful for my insomnia which helped me get up at 6am, unlike my normal vacation habits!

Day 4 included a beach walk/run in the Tamarindo area (the various beaches have different names and I’m not sure which beach I was on). The beaches here are interesting. I’ve traveled to two different areas and the beach is fairly different even though the distance between them is only about 60 miles. Further south, the mountains came right up to the beach and the shore was rocky, with dark grey sand, some cove areas for actual walking but you would quickly run into the harsh shoreline and not be able to go any further. In the Tamarindo area, the terrain is more flat, although no completely flat, with a more traditional beach that you can walk longer distances but you will still come to a rocky shoreline at some point. The beaches are very swimmable but the surf is stronger than I’m used to. The big thing to watch out for is the rocky bottom that is often covered by surf and are only exposed at low tide. If you don’t know where these areas are, you can get seriously injured.The shoreline itself has a combination of mangrove type areas, lots of driftwood, rocky “cliffs” and the sand in the Tamarindo area is somewhat white but not “Destin white”.

At noon, we went into the town of Tamarindo for shopping and lunch (which turned into shopping, drinking Guaro (see photo below), eating, shopping, drinking Guaro, eating. Not a good idea to shop at that point. It seemed like a great idea to buy a King-sized hammock, which I have no earthly idea how I will get it on the plane and have no good place to hang it when I get back!). The town of Tamarindo is the largest town I’ve encountered and I was happy to see an actual “town” because I’ve been perplexed as to the lack of infrastructure in this country. Until now, I had not seen a doctor’s office, dentist, veterinarian, hair salon, bank, etc. and I was perplexed how people live without all of these services. Even in the more populated areas, the local housing and standard of living is meager but the locals are very nice and seem happy and satisfied with their lifestyle, with a very easy-going attitude. Most speak English and certainly appreciate my lousy attempt at Spanish.

We had lunch oceanside at Copacabanas restaurant where we had an average Ceviche (I’m a Ceviche critic and tough on my evaluations:), a grilled Langosta (small, clawless lobster), rice, mixed veggies and gilled Mahi Mahi with two asian-ish sauces. Good but not great. All washed down with Guaro. I will NOT be having Guaro today. Next we hit the street for shopping. There were approximately 30-40 shops along one street, intermixed with restaurants and other service businesses. Most were souvenir oriented and had similar products. I always shop for souvenirs whenever I travel without my kids because, well, I wouldn’t be allowed back the house without any! I was surprised by the quality of the products. No “junk”! The products were for the most part locally made with incredible craftmanship. Jewelry from local resources including bone, shell, wood, rock and semi-precious stones. The majority of the quality items were made of the many types of wood found here (there are about 7 beautiful wood specimens including teak and I can’t pronounce the other 6)…from serving bowls, cups, candles holders, cutting boards, incense burners, vases and more. I was totally mesmerized by their wood working abilities. I would love to watch them make these beautiful goods!

Other than my brilliant purchase of a King-size hammock, I bought two feather/jeweled strands worn as a hair embellishment or earring, made by the shop owner; a beautiful cutting board striated with different wood grains and polished to shiny finish, a ring made of bone, a leather bracelet and a handmade journal made of hemp with a design in shells. I’m very tempted to buy more of the wood products but at this point, I’ll be lucky to get on the plane without my suitcase costing more than the trip in weight fees.

I don’t think any trip south of our border would be complete without the ever-expected kid selling jewelry  (see photo) on the beach and guys offering everything from cigars to weed as you walk up and down the street and Costa Rica does not disappoint in this area.








I snapped many photos of dogs (and the only cat I’ve seen since I’ve been here…hmm???) which I will feature in a photo essay  (with other animals I hope) in the March issue of Houston PetTalk so watch for that but here is a sneak peak below. Lots of shop dogs in Tamarindo, all friendly mixed-breeds.






We ended the perfect day with another spectacular sunset (which Tamarindo is famous for….see main photo just after sundown). I’m off to an adventure today…an exursion to a melon farm, a trip in a boat to finally see monkeys! and a stop at a local pottery making area..some true “local” stuff and I will try hard not to fall asleep before blogging tonight!