Playa Ocotol

Published: January 10th 2018
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Costa Rica HighwayCosta Rica HighwayCosta Rica Highway

Approaching bus in what is actually one of the better parts of the road from Monteverde to Liberia
We drove from Monteverde to Playa Ocotol on Sunday, traveling once again the exciting Costa Rican roads. I figured if tourist buses can do these things so can I.

We arrive at Villa Casa Blanca in 90 degree temps and headed straight for the beach. Being a Sunday both Playa Ocotol and Coco were full of local families (Liberia is only about an hour from here) enjoying a day off. Fires cooking fresh fish, kids playing soccer and laughing in the waves, cold beers, just the best. We finished the day off with fish tacos and more on the beach. Then back to the Villa for another evening of cards shared with the owner of the place and her friends.

John and Katelyn were the first ones out on Monday, down to the beach to rent a sea kayak for a tour. They were so early no one was at the stand so they just liberated a kayak and paddle and paid for it after they returned. We all spent the rest of the day on the beach, along with a group of Howler Monkeys and two Giant Iguanas locked in some sort of battle over territory. A relaxing day reading books, napping on the beach, and checking out the tide pools for sea urchins and walking the beach.

Monday night we dropped off John and Katelyn in Playa Coco for dinner and we headed to Playa Hermosa to see what was there. Both of us found restaurants on the beach and enjoyed fish dinners--what else?

On Tuesday we met Captain Jose and mate Ricky for a morning of fishing, snorkeling, and a beach cook out. We had to leave before breakfast at Villa Casa Blanca so had stocked up the day before on fruit and some baked goods from Tico Bakery--some terrific pineapple stuffed pastry!

The fishing was not so good, trolling for tuna or Mahi Mahi yielded only one Skipjack Tuna who had the good fortune of being released. But the ocean life sightings were great. We first spotted a Manta Ray with a span of well over 10 feet. Add to that porpoises romping and leaping around the boat, all sorts of ocean birds including Frigate Birds, sea turtles, schools of fish, everywhere we looked, life. Including interrupting two sea turtles mating, who
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Lis with the two parrots that rule the roost at the villa
saw no reason to cease their activities as we drifted by. We then anchored at a small beach for some swimming and lunch.

John and Katelyn were much more accomplished than us at snorkeling, they found lots of urchins some reef fish, Puffer Fish, and interesting rock formations. There was also a cave that as the tide went out we were able to climb into as the surf splashed in. Lunch was grilled chicken and fresh fruit, and we were joined by a herd of Coatis who had learned that humans bring with them food. It was like a picnic at a park full of raccoons. John has affectionately renamed them trash bears.

We were back around 1 and took the afternoon to walk around Playa Coco, picking up some coffee at the grocery store to bring home. Dinner that night again in Playa Hermosa, Jose on the fishing trip had told us that the commercial fishermen at Playa Coco sold their catch to the local restaurants so the Red Snapper and Mahi Mahi we had that evening had probably been swimming off the coast earlier in the day.

Departing the
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I could eat here every day! This is where we stopped for lunch after fishing.
restaurant Marcia had the pleasure of spotting the one thing she had not yet found but wanted to--a snake. A photo of the snake and reference materials established that the damaged snake in the road was a Lyre Snake, while often mistaken for a venomous reptile it is harmless to humans. The mistaken identity had probably been the cause of its demise.

Today we have enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and walks on the beach, saying good bye to Costa Rica.

Our final impressions include being stunned by the diversity of ecosystems here--cloud forests to beaches--as well as the range of wildlife and birds. No matter where we turned there was another monkey, sloth, bird, reptile, butterfly or fish to see. There is also the pace of life here, in the evening porches and patios are filled with Ticos talking, enjoying the evening and one another. And people here clearly love their country, and love sharing it with others. They are open and gracious, work hard to speak what English they know and support us in our halting efforts to speak Spanish. No telling if we will ever return here, but it would be an easy trip to make.

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


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Lunch chefs

Jose and Ricky, our captain, first mate, and cooks
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Playa Hermosa

Nice spot to have dinner

Proof I did not get skunked

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