Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kiteboarding and the wilder side of Costa Rica at the Nicaraguan border

Every year in February my husband and son head to the very North West corner of Costa Rica to go kite boarding at Playa Copal. There is a kiting spot in Baja Salinas where the bay is wide, the wind howls, there is a kiting instructor (Bob) on the beach to help with equipment challenges and so a handful of kiteboarding addicts litter the beaches with every size of kite and every style of board.

Not wanting to be left behind again, this year I went with them and, with a few other kiting friends, we rented a house with internet (but no cell coverage) so I could work part time from Costa Rica but hang out with them in the evening.

The reason we came - Bret on the water at Playa Copal

Sebastian launching his Dad - wearing a full body suit (and his Senior class Tshirt) because of the fierceness of the sun on his very white skin.

Wanting to keep up with my swimming every day, I found a cove to swim across and get my mile in - until the day I misjudged the pull of the tide and had trouble getting back in. Sebastian asked me what I would have done if I had not been able to get back - I told him I would have had a Mai Tai in Tahiti!

The cove at the bottom of our road - yes it's deserted so no lawn chairs or cabana boys with drinks with little umbrellas in them.

The alternative cove I found with less current once I realized I was seriously risking ending up in Tahiti if I kept swimming in my first cove

Every evening our rag tag band met up at the top of our hill to celebrate the sunset. Recreo is a collection of houses on a hill up a winding dirt road that advertises a "Mountaintop Cantina" on the sign at the bottom.

So the first day I went looking for some semblance of civilization and, thinking there might be a bar at the top, took a golf cart up to explore. The joke was on me. What is at the top is two high wooden cocktail tables and 6 stools. Nothing else except wind. But it is an invitation to sit, drink and contemplate the beauty, which is exactly what we did every evening. And then, once the sun went down, we rolled down the hill and drove the half mile of dirt road to go to "Bob's" for dinner. I think I had fried fish, beans and rice every day.

Looking South West along the Guanacoste coastline at sunset

Looking North West up the Nicaraguan coastline

Looking North East over Baja Salinas towards Nicaragua where the guys
kited every day
- yup lots of bougainvillaea

Putting it all together using the Photosynth app on my iPhone

And once the sun is below the horizon Nicaragua looks misty and dark like Mordor. There are no buildings, so there are no lights. Except there is one house high on a cliff and a cell dish pointing from our hill to this house - someone wants to get cell coverage from the Nicaraguan jungle I think

The sky rapidly changed from saturated orange and blue to pastel then
to grey
once the sun set

Our motley crew would converge every night at the top of the hill with wine, chips and salsa to celebrate the day. Sebastian and Judy.

Bret still has zinc oxide on his face - he just made it for sunset this evening.
Bret, Mike, Sebastian, Erric and Judy.

One day mid week everyone took a break from kiting and we headed down the Pan American Highway (that's the big road: one lane each direction, lots of trucks, people and dogs, only one traffic light in the Guanacoste province) to explore the Monte Verde rain forest. Little did we know it was going to take us 4 hours each way, 2 of which were on brutal dirt roads. Climbing up to the continental divide, winding though steep river canyons until we found the bustling touristy town at the mouth of Monte Verde - and ice cream. The beauty is extraordinary and so it was worth it, but next time I'll stay a few days there.

One of the many dirt roads between Tileran and Monte Verde. By the time we made it back onto tarmac late in the day I had lost my sense of humor.

The long and winding path we followed to explore the Monte Verde rain forest from the floor

Every inch is thick and profuse with trees, ferns and flowers
My camera simply cannot capture the scope and size of the layer-upon-layer of canopies. Here I am 500 feet up on a hanging bridge and that tree top is at least the third layer.

My boys were of course chasing adrenalin and zip lining on the longest zip line in the world - 1km long and 500 feet up. I had to choose between that and trying out my new camera with one of our friends - who also had a new camera to play with - and just this once the cameras won but next time I want to zip.

Life is growing on life everywhere you look

And several days later, on our way to the airport, Bret, Sebastian and I decided to get wet on the Upper Rio Tenorio. We drove South and met up with our guides at the Rincon Corobici Restaurant in Canas. More dirt roads to get to the head of the section of the river we were rafting, the requisite safety briefing, and then it was white knuckles interspersed with monkeys, toucans, butterflies and glorious flora and fauna for two and a half hours.

Our first class 4 rapid -- note we are not yet soaked and delirious

The 12 foot drop - and for this one I chose to get off beforehand and climb over the rocks to meet Bret and Sebastian on the other side. Yes chicken, I know, but they did capsize when they hit the bottom so while I am sure it was exciting I was happy to be on the rocks laughing.

1 comment:

Steve Cooper said...

This is a nice place to stay too. I really love it when I see places I've never been through before.Cool.
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