SANTA TERESA: Surfer’s Paradise
One of the many attractions of Costa Rica is that you have TWO bodies of oceans to choose from: the Pacific on the western side or the Caribbean to the east. Both have their charming offerings as well as vast differences I have been informed. After my stint in the rain forest I wanted to get off the grid, really off the grid, to finish my time in this beautiful country. I booked a shuttle (too many connections to make via the bus/ferry system) and headed to Santa Teresa on the Pacific coast. Who doesn’t want to finish off their trip by the beach with a cold beer in one hand a good read in the other?
The roads are HORRIBLE getting to Santa Teresa and when I say horrible I mean DON’T SIT DIRECTLY OVER THE AXLE OF YOUR SHUTTLE. I was bouncing around worse than a racquetball during a heated match. The road trips anywhere in CR takes a long time because of how narrow and unpaved the roads can be. Sometimes this mean sharing it with an oncoming fully loaded semi truck and not knowing if their brakes function. This can get your heart really going.
A few hours later from my window in the back of the shuttle I can start making out the Pacific Ocean and got super giddy. With the recurring theme of dumping my stuff off at my hostel, Casa Del Mar Surf Destiny (these guys were SUPER chill), I ventured off to find that taco stand packed with patrons I saw on my way in.
Dusty dirt roads, no sidewalk, people buzzing up and down the street on ATVs, dirt bike and bicycles can make you wonder was this paradise promised? But I LOVED IT. Santa Teresa reminded me of that same rawness I felt back in the capital city. Deep inside it’s this grit that I really enjoyed the most. This is the stuff they rarely glimpse at on travel shows.
TRAVEL TIP: If you need money from an ATM there are only TWO in the entire city so prepare to walk to and from every time you need cash. Psst THEY ALSO ONLY ACCEPT CASH HERE. No cards. No exceptions. You have been warned!
Leaving the dirt roads behind you will be greeted with THE MOST PRISTINE coastline of beaches I have ever seen. When I say pristine I MEAN IT. With each step I took I can feel the warm sand sifting through my toes, the ocean breeze kicking up on my weathered cheeks and the salty ocean smell that I love so much lingering in my nasal cavity. I found the perfect spot on this vast beach to read a few chapters from my book all the while watching life slowly pass by, it was a great start to the last few days in this amazing country.
Oh did I mention I booked my very first surfing lesson in Santa Teresa too?! Aside from a great beach to lay about on the breaks here provides the perfect conditions for surfers near and far from pro to newbies like myself. I hooked up with Del Soul Surf School and in no time they got me fitted with a wet suit. I ventured out with my instructors and jumped right into the warm ocean water.
After a few tumbles I channeled my inner Johnny Tsunami and finally was able to stand up for a mere few seconds, but to me a glorious eternity. It’s one of those things you just got to do when you’re down there and I highly recommend Del Soul for the experience. A few more passes and I was really started to take to surfing, maybe this could become the next hobby. *Adds to list of more things one does*.
Exhausted from the beating mother nature gave me I hauled ass back to my hostel dreaming of that hammock swaying on the second floor. Cleaned up of the salt water and with a cerveza in one hand I let the rocking motion take me away. I reflected on the last few days of my trip and what has transpired since leaving Boston.
Heading out onto this adventure I had but ONE goal in mind: get out of my comfort zone. This sounded simple enough, but it’s a culmination of personal things I’ve been working on in recent years. Striking conversations with total strangers, handling traveling snafus, taking joy in the art of doing nothing, but most important of all I wanted to meet other travelers with like mindedness.
In Santa Teresa, on the roads less traveled, I felt immensely accomplished in all I set out to do. Here in this humble two story hostel I was able to chop it up with some awesome cats from all over the world. Some were winding down their journey while others were just diving into theirs, a few simply on the search for inspiration. Their stories allowed me to peer into their lives, experiences and was shown a bit of their souls. They all varied from different perspectives, but their end goal was always the same: to see and experience our big world. That’s a life motto I can get behind.
We all set off later that evening to watch the sunset on the beach nearby. A few new friends, a few cold drinks and the salty air brushing by our faces. You really couldn’t ask for more. There are sunsets and then there are COSTA RICAN SUNSETS. Just trust me on this one.
Keep your mind open, but most importantly your heart to new experiences. You never know who you might meet on your journeys. Let the universe do its magic and trust the process. Go with the flow, it’ll create unforgettable perfect moments like the ones above. This spur of the moment trip was something I really needed. By the end of it all I was filled with to the brim with excitement to finally start on my Southeast Asia backpacking!
Another sun soaked season fades away — until the next adventure!