Off to Tamarindo

8:30 by the time we made our way to breakfast. This time loading up on a bit of granola in addition to the fruit and Tica tipico breakfast. Stuffed to the gills, we did our final packing and bid adieu to our Swiss friends that were making an earlier start to the beach today.

At 11, we dragged our bags from the room and paid the bill. Considering we skipped dinner that first night due to the restaurant being closed that night, it is amazing at how quickly that total ratchets up, rivalling the cost for the room. All paid up, the lady at the front desk also offered to call us a taxi. She figured about $25 for the ride to Tamarindo, and much simpler than the bus. I had to agree with here there, but the cab fare was something I had to confirm myself.

Seeing drivers hanging around the park the last two days we walked down to the beach I figured I could head down that way and secure a ride. My spanish still sucks, but I can still make a few points clear. I had in mind that 10,000 colones was going to be my maximum for haggling…which would be about $18USD. I got down to the park and two cars were there, doors open…not a driver between the two of them. The drivers were hanging out with their buddies at a bus stop in the shade, so with me standing next to the cars…with my arms up in the air…one came running over. I asked how much to Tamarindo and he countered with 8,000 colones. Done deal. So much for my haggling…I should have countered with 7000. I hopped in and clarified that my bags and girlfriend were up the road at Conchal Hotel. He understood and we were off. His buddies started yelling at the guy as we got in the car…apparently he forgot his shoes. He stopped, grabbed his lonely footwear from the sunny grass…then we were off.

We picked up Melanie and started the drive. His name was Charlie. Not very Spanish sounding, and I had no means of mentioning that. We chatted a little though. His English was limited to ‘Hello’ and ‘Baby Girl’ which are probably the only words he needs to know for catcalling the scantily clad bikini girls that find their way to Brasilito. I was also able to extract a few basics like gasoline being about 6USD a gallon. His rent being about 800 per month. And him also saying that Costa Rica is very expensive. We thought so, but when the Ticas are also complaining…something has to give. Gringo dollars have driven up the prices in these touristy coastal communities to the point where $10 for a pina colada looks like an OK kind of deal. The beer is rising in price as well, with a bottle in a restaurant approaching $5 each.

We arrived in Tamarindo about 90 minutes before check in. Had we tried the bus, we could have saved a few bucks and stretched out travel out a few hours to jive with check in time. We dropped our bags with the cleaning lady and headed into town for a bite to eat. Lots of options, which was great, however every one of those options was pricey. We grabbed a couple smoothies and split a Casado plate…still $20USD. I like me a good happy hour, but it is hard to get around these high prices. After nursing our smoothies and watching the rain soak the dogs running around the street we headed back for check in. Viktor was kind enough to show us our very new, and tiny, room along with the essentials like wifi and their expensive breakfast and laundry offerings. He then outlined that payment for the room was only in cash, which would annihilate our reserves… Cash payments always make me a little leery.

All is good though. More rain later today, but by 4 it let up and the sun was shining through the clouds. We made our way down to the beach to see if there might be some kind of sunset here to enjoy. Yep, and our timing was perfect. Just as we walk onto the beach and look around at the hoards of people all snapping pics of the pink and orange sky, that English gal and Hungarian guy we met in Coco walked by. This running into people in different towns is becoming a bit too regular to be coincidence. We walked with them down the beach back to where they were returning their body surfboards, getting caught up on their travels for the last few days, then parted ways. Surely we will see them again somewhere.

Five minutes more down the beach, and a couple more sunset pictures later, the notes from an electric acoustic guitar spilled out on the beach with a guy spouting his very melodic rendition of an Arctic Monkeys tune. This drew us in as we are suckers for live entertainment. We have heard far to many elevator version covers of 90’s rock songs to last us a while. Some live music would be a nice change. Happy hour was still on for another 30 minutes, so it was only one drink at whatever bargain price they might be offering. Yes we could pound back two or three, but we aren’t lushes…yet.

I cant recall the name of the restaurant, but some damn fine ceviche. Fried polenta with sun dried tomato and a cheesy dip…fantastic, but needed many more little crispy corn nuggets. We split a sesame tuna sandwich with watermelon salad…delicious! Finished all that off with a beer and a full price pina colada, which probably put us over the top. That sugary drink was disappointing. When all of the food came out excellent, a poor drink for a high price took a little of the shine off the experience. No more pina coladas for a while.

We swung by a grocery store for a few basic breakfast items on our way back. Breakfast, plus snacks as we tend to get hungry at times. A bag of peanuts is always good to have, but no big bags of nuts here. We will just have to make do. So now we are in. An excellent guitar player is ripping it up at the restaurant next door and we can hear the entire show from our room.

Tomorrow is a new day. We can spend some time enjoying the surf and beach, then where to go next. I never thought I would say this, but maybe it is time to find us a place with some more churches and museums.