Kind of a weird place
04/05/2010 - 04/10/2010 90 °F
I set up quite a comfort zone for myself in Quepos. I was living with a great Costa Rican family who really made me feel like I was one of them. Example: One day at the home stay Carolina snuck up behind me and smacked me on the ass hard with a belt ... the little shit. I yelped and the rest of the family started laughing. Nothing will make you feel like part of a family quite like someone smacking you on the ass with a belt just for laughs. I left that family and at least fifty inside jokes on Monday morning headed North for Montezuma on the Nicoya peninsula.
I’m not one to plan the crap out of everything when it comes to travel. I usually come up with a general plan and just figure things out as I go with pretty good success. I decided to take the 9:30 bus from Quepos to Jaco and then catch the water taxi which runs four or five times a day up to Montezuma. Turns out the bus leaves from Quepos at 10:30 and there is only one water taxi to Montezuma per day (it leaves at 11:00 AM) and it doesn’t leave from Jaco but from playa Herradura, a little North of Jaco. By the time I got to Playa Herradura the ferry was gone. Kind of a breakdown in the ‘plan’ there.
There were a couple of guys waiting at the beach for ... tourists. The kind of guys that look like they don’t do any work but somehow make money by acting as agents for people who do work, the kind of guys that make things more expensive. They gave me no information but injected themselves into the ‘reservation’ process and added 10% to the cost of the boat from Herradura to Montezuma. There was a nice beach side bar/restaurant at Playa Herradura near the ... uh ... taxi stand/bus stop/boat landing bench. I sat down and got some lunch and a couple of beers and waited for my brain to kick in and come up with a plan. I started talking to a lady at the restaurant, told her about my predicament, and soon had a place to stay. No, not at her place, at some little cabinas about two hundred yards up the road. Private room with bath and ... cable TV for $18. I watched TV all night. It was awesome, especially since the NCAA National Championship game was on that night ... and Good Fellas.
The next morning I got up, got some huevos rancheros and caught the water taxi ($41) over to Montezuma. The ride was a little rough, not too bad, just enough to give my kidneys a good beating. I hauled my gear over to a little hostel called Lucy about two hundred yards up the beach and paid for a dorm bed (less than $10/night). The rest of the day was spent walking around the town. Montezuma is pretty much a two street town. It’s very clean with lots of interesting shops and restaurants. During the day the streets are lined with artisans selling mostly hippy jewelry ... and a guy selling cigars out of the trunk of his car. There’s also lots of people selling cocaine and pot but they don’t set up stands. They just walk around whispering at the tourists. I bet they sell more stuff than the hippy jewelry crowd though. I was thinking that the hippy jewelry crowd should take down their stands and just walk around whispering at the tourists ... “Hey ... psst ... hippy bracelet?”.
Hotel Lucy is about twenty yards from the water. It has a big long deck with lots of chairs and a hammock. I read about fifteen pages of a book and got around four hours of sleep while in the hammock. When I wasn’t napping one day I walked up to the waterfalls. There are three of them. The first one is a cascade over a sloping rock formation. The second fall is around 75 feet tall and dumps into a nice cool pool to swim in. The third fall you really have to work to get to but it looks like all the work would pay off if you made it there alive. I didn’t make it there at all. I got close. Here’s a tip for making it to the third waterfall pool ... don’t wear flip flops. The climb to the pool is a very steep scramble up rocks, followed by an easy traverse to a point above the pool, concluded by an insane climb down to the pool using a rope. I started down the rope, nearly lost one of my flip flops, decided I was an idiot for trying this, climbed back up, and then decided I was a wimp. Tough day for my ego. I was successful in my walk along the beach earlier in the day although I don’t know how I could have failed at walking on the beach. I didn’t fall down or anything so that was good.
The night life in Montezuma is unusual. There are a couple of clubs around town but nobody goes into them. Instead everyone buys a couple of beers from the super market and then sits on the curb across the street from the clubs and drinks beer while listening to the club’s music. One night I went over to Hotel Lys with some of the people from my hostel. Hotel Lys hosts the hard core backpacker crowd. The people there looked like the cast from the movie “The Beach”. There was a little three man band (guitar, flute, and ... another guy) that was actually really good. Maybe it was a two man band. I had more fun hanging out on the deck at the hostel than I did trying to find some action in town.
Now that I think about it this is the first time on this trip (aside from day one in Fortuna) that I’m actually traveling on my own. It’s been ten years since I last travelled around backpacker style. I’m definitely shaking off some rust right now. I’m heading to Samara next. There is supposed to be a nice beach there where I can learn to surf without getting the crap beat out of me. I’ve been trying to book a shuttle to Samara but nobody else is going there and the shuttle won’t run for only one person. I’m going to have to go the long way ... bus, ferry to Puntarenas, bus again to Samara. Should be fun.