Leaving Nicaragua and entering Costa Rica is not a challenge, despite being full of people, the border is quiet. With no one wanting to “help” and with all procedures very clear. The roads that follow are good and the landscape, despite being more rugged with mountains and volcanoes, retains its shades of green. The difference is that Costa Rica was smart from early on in positioning itself for tourism. The fact that it did not emerge from a civil war in the late 1980s like its neighbor Nicaragua also helped.
When we think of Costa Rica, we think of greenery, nature, volcanoes, waterfalls and beaches for surfing. And all this exists. It is a country that promotes sustainable, ecological tourism. That preserves its species, its nature, raises awareness.
We went straight to Jacó beach because we had an appointment there, which later failed us. From there we went the next day to the capital to have the wedding and only on the third day we went to see this village. Much noisier, with a different vibe that we don't like so much: more massified, strip clubs, ... but on the other hand also with more facilities like a good supermarket that was enough to quench some food cravings.
It was Sunday, the town's beach was full of locals enjoying the sun and Pura Vida, lots of people surfing in the sea, a large sandy beach, cafes and restaurants full of people who speak both English and Spanish. There is a large community of Americans who come to live here.
At night, at the campsite, we are joined by a family of overlanders from Canada. We're cooking, and we're watching a series when someone starts shaking our van. It must be two people swaying from side to side for almost 6 seconds. From inside we scream to stop. There is a moment when they disconnect our cable that gives light to the van. The Dune is calm. Ivo goes out to see what they want with us to be rocking the van, maybe someone drunk. And when we leave, it hits us: earthquake. At the same time the Canadian gets out of the campervan and they both scream: earthquake. Go back, we are right by the sea and you should go see if there is any threat of a tsunami. We are talking to the camp guard and we feel the riposte. 2 seconds, and a noise came out of the earth. My legs were shaking at this point. We went out for a walk in the village, who was sleepy after this adrenaline rush? We see on the television of a cafe that the epicenter had been 20kms away. The known victims so far, four, had died of a heart attack.
I went to sleep with a light sleep and whenever the van was shaken by someone moving I was already feeling an earthquake, a bit dramatic, I know!
The next day, Ivo took the opportunity to surf and I went to a beach. November is the rainy season in Costa Rica, no big deal, and the temperature is always pleasant. We went to see some beaches: hermosa for its extensive sand and Biesanz were the ones we liked the most. Biesanz requires a 5-minute walk, there are no waves but it is peaceful and in the middle of the vegetation. We spent the following days in indecision and ended up staying in Jacó and surfing for a while. On this tour we also went to an unusual bar inside a plane that was used in the Nicaraguan civil war.
The waves are great here, perfect. Ivo surfed for almost a week straight, Dune ran after giant iguanas in a farewell to wildlife and when he arrives to catch them, he slows down, the squirrels go on top of the mammoth and we enjoy that corner.
Costa Rica, Pura Vida.