There is a little known secret about the east coast of Costa Rica, south of Limón – it actually belongs to Jamaica! The rumour floated by the rasta-wannabes is that the Jamaican navy will be arriving to make good their claim as soon as their stoned sailors remember where their ship is… not to mention where Costa Rica is.
This photo of Puerto Viejo is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Seriously, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. I have no idea how it happened, something to do with slaves and the water I think. All I know is that coming from the Alajuela area was more of a culture shock then arriving at Alajuela from Canada. That said, it takes very little time to slip into the 1/2 time beat, even without the aid of the mighty leaf. It helps that this is a culture of bikes so it pushes you to gear down, especially since none of them even have gears!
The coast is strung with little communities curved around beaches, full of ex-pats that just forgot to leave – no really, it is true, I met some of them. It is not just a urban myth. Industries include cacao, coconuts, coffee (oh the coffee is soooo good!), yoga (freaks drop and down-ward dog-it everywhere!) and tourists/travellers. The general rule of thumb to tell them apart is the former has money and the latter has stories and a startling lack of luggage! I asked one how she does it – she smiles and shrugged, but I was careful to stay down wind from her. This further fuelled my obsission with luggage. I collect the stuff like Carrie Bradshaw collects shoes. I am constantly trying to put togather the ultimate system. sigh. I hate taking so much stuff – it tends to bury me and steals lots of opportunities like taking local buses. I went to Fortuna for the weekend when I was at Asis and it was rather traumatic, mostly because of my luggage – and I didn’t even take all of it! GAK!
There are a lot of restaurants – some good, some not; more bars and hostels – so many hostels. The reining monarch being Rocking J’s, an amzing monument to what can happen when a hippie becomes a capitalist without a suit. It is huge and right on the beach. They rent everything from a hammock in the compound, tents, dorms to the cabin where the “king” lives. Being further down the road from Puerto Viejo, at Playa Chiquita, meant the party noise was dialled low and the dog/howler monkey’s cranked up. There were still restaurants but much more subdued, but no less good. Dinner is late, for me anyway, 7/8 and you spend the whole evening lingering over the meal and the wine until it is time for bed.
It is such a diverse area with so much going on that no one gets bored. I will never forget sitting with a friend after work, having a coffee at a cafe and looking up at a noise, saw a group of Howler monkeys up in the trees rattling around. No place is without its problems and challenges and this place is no different but it seems like a good place to hang one’s hammock for awhile… easily becoming longer as you sink into the life.
So here it is, Chapter 2. Let me know how you like it, I’d love to hear any feedback you might have. Just leave a comment.