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Free Public beaches, monkey on my back and a fond farewell

Stopping at Jaco Beach for a photo op

As we get ready to end our amazing month in Costa Rica, the sun greets us with gusto. When they told me it that I’d be traveling in the rainy season I guess I thought it was Jamaica’s rainy season or even Florida…afternoon storms preceded and followed by sunshine. Wrong. When Costa Rican’s tell you its rainy season believe them.

In 28 days we’ve had seven sunny days (and I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.) Even the Howler monkeys are tempered by the downpour. Despite that, we’ve had the time of our lives.

On this spectacular day, the capuchin and squirrel monkeys decided to bid us farewell in fine style. They are everywhere this morning.

Mothers and babies, literally a monkey on the back. Old one, tailless ones and then some. Tourists are out in full force as well. Along line stretches down our street. People from all nations coming to hike the Manuel Antonio National Park. They are delighted by the wildlife they are already seeing outside the park.

We make our last purchases of beautifully handcrafted items, including a "bong" "chillum pipe" "kutchie" or whatever you want to call it...I call it an incense burner, then pack all the fruit, sangria and drink we have left in the apartment and head to the beach!

Unlike Jamaica, the entire beach belongs to the people of Costa Rica. We make camp alongside a host of locals within 10 feet of the Buena Vista hotel and no-one can or will tell us to move! All around me locals have made camp. To my right a family has cooking pots, massive cooler, 10 x 10 canopy tent and chairs. Another has a big-A grill. I’d love to beg them some food but instead we order fish from Buena Vista. The waiter has been patrolling the beach. Just marvelous.

The tide is out which means an additional 100 feet of perfect, ultra-fine, deliciously soft, volcanic dark sand to enjoy and just enough waves to slap you silly but keep you standing. After seeing the underside of too many waves and super silly from being slapped too many times, I opt to chill in the hammock and write under the watchful eye of a Capuchin monkey looking for something to steal.

We’ve seen waterfalls, climbed rapids, hiked through the rainforest, soaked aching bodies in hot springs, eaten over 15 kilos of Rambutan and Mangosteen, had yummy casados from Sodas (mom and pop roadside restaurants), posed for pictures on hanging bridges, had many close encounters of the wild kind, lived like a local, painted a few masterpieces, survived harrowing route 713 and now I’m hiding my food from the monkeys over head.

As we head out of the town towards the hustle and bustle of San Jose and the airport, we stop for a photo op in Jaco. Three brightly colored parrots are chilling in the tree above us, waiting for their photo op too. Snap! Snap! Snap!

Two hours later, at our favorite roadside spot in Belen we enjoy our last and best casada as our Costa Rica adventure winds down.

We’ll be back next year. If God spare life as we say in Jamaica. We leave here content and feeling blessed beyond measure to have been given this opportunity. This year one month. Next year three?

Walk good til next time.

Barefoot Island Girl JA

ps. When (not if) you visit Costa Rica, look out for the sign SODA. This is a family run restaurant(small or large0 that charges a fraction of the price of established restaurants where you get home cooked Costa Rican food. A Casado is a plate that has some protein, carbs, veggies and surprises that can be ripe plantain, avocado pears or all of the above. Well balanced, typical Costa Rican food.

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