6AM and construction was underway. At the “In the Shade Hotel” they are currently adding on another few rooms directly across from our room. These guys don’t work on the weekends, or even Mondays, considering we were able to sleep until 8AM undisturbed for those days. Tuesday’s though must be different.
Our simple breakfast and final packing was done just before 8 then we were ready to depart. The place didn’t accept credit cards, cash only, and for some reason USD is their default currency. The bill they handed us had an arbitrarily high number of colones to USD. I argued with the owner for a few minutes about the outstanding $10 we owed him, when i only wanted to give him $2…and after 5 minutes of explaining i was not happy with the exchange…we paid the balance and departed. If he would just accept credit cards and work that into his price, there would not be the added complication of collecting cash.
We departed looking for that 8:30 bus. Maybe it was a 9:00 bus…i found two different schedules and yesterday i saw the 2PM bus leave 3 minutes early…so who knows what we were in for. We rolled our bags down the dry dusty road, which only yesterday was muck and goo, and past eager cabbies looking to score a fare. $100USD was suggested the other night, which was way too high for a 2 hour ride. We waited. 8:30…no bus. Two buses headed the other direction that had to come back around at some point, but not yet. 9:00…only a bus to Liberia…none yet to Santa Cruz. The cabbies started circling like sharks. They have likely seen this play out many times before. A guy in a 2015 Accord rolls up to the bus stand. A nice looking car and now that fare was 80USD. In colones, he was willing to take 40,000…which works out to about 70USD…tempting.
While waiting for a bus that would get us to Santa Cruz, a woman with two very large backpacks walked over and sat down. She asked when the bus was coming, and we really didnt know. Where might she be going? Samara. She too was looking to do the 3 bus trip from Tamarindo to the smaller town down the coast. From the Northwest of Germany, she was an English teacher just getting away for a few weeks. She also mentioned she was not very good at haggling or numbers, but she was open to the idea of sharing a cab to Samara. With Melanie already in love with the idea of a private ride, AC, and 2 hours less travel…it made it hard to say no. 40,000 colones and the three of us were in the spiffiest taxi we have encountered down here thus far.
Our driver, Heido, was a Colombian fellow. Not a word of English, which gave me a bit of a chance to try some conversation. Melanie got more of a story from the German lady, travelling solo, on her home stay visit in Nicaragua and her helping out at a school outside of Leon. I attempted discussion of the price of cars, how long our driver has been in Costa Rica…and if he had any family here. Unmarried and a couple kids back in Colombia. A brother here in CR and he goes back home once in a while. If we are to ever go to Colombia we do need to see Cartagena, Barranquilla, Cali, and Medellin. The last on that list is his hometown, and for any of your Narcos fans out there…he was never associated with Escobar. He insisted on that.
We drove through Santa Cruz and saw the bus we probably could have caught if we made it out the door a few minutes earlier. On to Nicoya and the road we were on skirted the center, so we didn’t get to see any of the heart of that little place, maybe if we bus our way out of here. From Nicoya on to Samara, new pavement, little traffic, and beautiful green hills. Lots of little haciendas dotting the hillsides. A really nice stretch of country out this way. Before long we were in Samara.
Our new German friend kicked in 15,000 colones for the ride and got dropped off first. We were all of three doors down from her, but the cabbie turned around and dropped us at our door. 2 hours travel time. It was now just after 11 and when we walked up to reception they were more than glad to check us in. Now a full day in this little town. We dropped our stuff in the room and sought out the beach.
A much smaller beach than Tamarindo. Flanked by rocky cliffs on either side, the low tide makes for a really vast stretch of beach for walking or a run. We like to walk. A stroll down to the far end and back was then punctuated with a beverage on the beach. Slow, low key…watching the afternoon slip by with a beer in hand. This is more what we had in mind for beach towns. We couldn’t let the afternoon completely disappear on us, so we did a little window shopping and exploring.
We found a big grocery store. Nothing yet for us to buy, but always good to know what is offered. As we walked the aisles, we ran into that German lady again loading up on breakfast items. We have breakfast provided in our place, so I am hoping what we get is something better than what we might forage for on our own. There was a little rain, we waited that out before wandering back to our room for a costume change into something more ocean ready.
A dip in the ocean, then dip in the pool, another change back into drier clothes and we were off to find another beachfront table to have a snack at. As we step onto the beach, familiar voices greeted us. A couple from Alaska that had the room right next to us in Brasilito was relaxing in those beachside chairs we were eyeing up. Apparently they departed Tamarindo at 11 this morning, also with the plan to catch a bus but jumped in a taxi instead. Same price. Same destination. With some people it seems like we have almost fallen in sync with. They also pointed out our Floridian acquaintance from Flagler Beach was perched at a table a little higher up with beer in hand. A small world indeed.
We found our own table to enjoy the waning daylight. We ordered a bowl of ceviche and Casado con pollo. As dusk was merging into complete blackness, the outlines of those rocky cliffs were fading quickly to grey. A couple droplets hit the table, then the staff quickly started gathering items off the tables. Big rain on the way. We grabbed our drinks and moved inside just in time for the downpour. A good 30 minutes of intense rain that would not have been good to be caught in. Our waitress found us at a vacant table next to the LED lit bar and dropped our appetizer. This was an amazingly large bowl of ceviche and when followed up with the very tasty second plate we were stuffed. Now our bodies are trying to digest all this great food from just across the road.
We might have found that perfect little beach town. We will assess further tomorrow, over another order of that ceviche and walk along the beach.