THE BEACHES OF COSTA RICA

On the Lapa Rios website it talks about the beach and the fact that it is not a highlight .. in other words, you are not going there to hang out at a beach cabana. On our first day (they did not warn us), we went down late in the day (it is a hard 10 minute walk – as Lapa Rios is on the top of a hill) and arrived at high tide.

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The waves were random, it would appear calm like this and then a big one would come in. The ground was rocky and the boys took a bit of a beating (falling in the surf lead to a few significant scratches). I personally didn’t like the power of the surf and the under tow.

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So in the end, we spent the time walking the beach and found a few coconuts. I was convinced to go to work on one and after 15 very long minutes, finally broke it open where we tried the coconut milk and the meat. A definite first.

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Over the next few days, we learned that the best time to hit the beach is during low tide. It is the time when the boys took a surf lesson (very cool) and where we joined the guide for a starfish hunt. During low tide, the beach is very welcoming with little crabs everywhere.

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You also get to see what lays under the aggressive surf. Wear shoes.

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Amazing to see the camouflage. Spot the crab.

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We spent a few hours hunting for starfish. Simply lift a rock and your would find 10.

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The resort is a way up the hill.

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In the end, they should have mentioned low tide. Once we found that out, the beach took on a whole new level of enjoyment.

LAPA RIOS

We arrived at our destination in Costa Rica after a long journey – the ecolodge Lapa Rios. The statement on the website says it all:

We have no Internet or phone access on the Lapa Rios property. In fact, we don’t even play music at dinner! Instead, we ask that you listen to the sounds of the jungle at night, the crickets, the cicadas and the kinkajous.

All this is very intentional. Lapa Rios is in a wilderness setting 12 miles from the office communication center. We aim to take full advantage of this isolation to concentrate on the peace and wilderness experience that can be appreciated. Communication between the office and the hotel is by marine radio for emergencies. We have several trips daily by car between the two locations to transport faxes or messages. To make a personal telephone call it would be necessary to take a 45 minute taxi ride to the office.

After your stay at Lapa Rios, you will thank us for not providing internet nor phone service.  It’s a feeling we all need to experience more often.  Disconnect and decompress!!

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Set on 1,000 acres in the remote south with a beach below and a view of the ocean … the adventure began. They welcome you with fruit drinks, the sounds of the jungle surround you and for as far as you can see .. it is ocean or jungle. And with no communications, it seemed very remote.

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2010 March 16 Around Lapa Rios_-7

2010 March 16 Around Lapa Rios_

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In the main dining area there is a staircase to a viewing platform 15 meters up – which gives you this view of the jungle.

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Our first close up jungle inhabitant was this Golden Orb spider and his/her friends. We passed them every day.

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We headed to the pool for a swim before dinner. I noticed these fellows hanging out. It explains why in 10 days we saw a grand total of 3 mosquitoes.

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And so we started to settle in.

OSA and LAPA RIOS

Our ultimate destination in Costa Rica was an eco resort about 45 minutes from the closest town, Puerto Jimenez. A small town in the gulf on the Pacific side.

A quiet remote town in the 1960’s, Puerto Jimenez has grown to become one of the largest towns on the Osa Peninsula today. Located in the southern part of the Puntarenas province, this laidback town is one of the main gateways to the beautiful Corcovado National Park. The last town before one can enter the park premises; a main ranger station is situated here with many tourists using this town to stock up on supplies before they trek their way through the gorgeous and diverse wildlife that the Corcovado National Park has to offer.
Situated in the Golfo Dulce, Puerto Jimenez has a wonderful beach where one can relax while taking in the superb beauty of the Osa Peninsula. This tiny ‘frontier’ town has a good number of hotel and resorts, both affordable and luxurious, with many rental tour companies and travel agencies in the area from where trips around the region can be arranged. Transportation can also be organized from Puerto Jimenez, while if you get bored you can head out to the lovely remote village of Cabo Matapalo, which is famous in the region for its awesome surf breaks.
With a history of being a key gold mining and logging town before the Corcovado National Park was created, the locals in the area still log and mine gold here, but in much smaller numbers as this entire region is now a protected habitat. In and around the Puerto Jimenez, there is much to see and do. Sport fishing excursions can be arranged, while for the more adventurous, hiking, rappelling, mountain biking and kayaking tours are on hand. If you prefer a more tranquil relaxed holiday, take a dolphin watching tour of the lovely Golfo Dulce and the Pacific, or simply sit on the beach to view some of the most amazing sunsets in all of Costa Rica.
You can get to Puerto Jimenez either by bus or car. However, it can be as long as a 10-hour drive so, it is better to fly in to the domestic airport out here from San Jose International Airport. Flights also come in to the airport here from Pavas as well.

The airport itself has a short runway right beside the cemetery … I saw a few cemeteries in Costa Rica with the most notable feature being the huge ceramic above ground boxes. Many of them were shattered on the end and empty.

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The roads are what you expect, requiring the right vehicle.

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The town itself is what you would also expect for a small rural location. Fishing, tourism, agriculture, a few run down shops.

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And about half way to the resort, we saw our first monkey …. Really glad I brought my 70-200.

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