Tamarindo is a sleepy little surf bum town on the Northwest cost of Costa Rica. Nobody is in a rush to do anything in this place, and once that get-it-now sense of urgency melts away from your New York frame it’s a really nice change of pace. There’s a sense of calm that embodies the Pura Vida ethos of this small Central American country. It’s no wonder why so many European and American tourists flock here during the colder months.
Tamarindo is a dog lovers paradise. They run free all over the place. The old saying of “It takes a village to raise a child” applies to pooches here.
Locals weren’t scared of the huge waves
Free to roam
Ready for the act
Running on the beach every morning was great. The sand wasn’t too soft and the water was like a bathtub
Iguanas are like the squirrels of Costa Rica, they own the place
Feeling the heat
Parts of the beach were covered in old lava flows that met the sea thousands of years ago. It looked like a different planet from some vantage points
Looking from the sea, it was incredible seeing the immense waves roll toward the shore
Cat’s eye view
Ben the boatswain
A yellow bellied sea snake washed ashore. Apparently there’s no antivenin for its bite in Tamarindo, so one needed to be careful walking the beach
The sunsets here are off the charts. Every evening you’re treated to a display of color so vibrant you can barely believe it’s real.
Sunset over moonscape
The surfing is also incredible here. Huge barrels are common here with long even breaks.
top o’ the world, Ma!
The estuary that leads from Tamarindo Beach is teeming with wildlife. I waded across it a couple of times on morning runs not knowing what kind of creatures inhabited these brackish waters. After seeing this fella about a hundreds yards from said point, I decided it was best not to wade through anymore.
The locals call these rock kickers
Red mangroves are the lifeline of the estuary
Emilio led our troupe onto a path off the estuary. Did I mention he’s the man?
The path opened up into this enchanted forest with horses roaming free amongst the ancient trees
In the forest, there was a family of howler monkeys hanging out. The baby on the right was adorable..
I see you
This guy just stared unfliching the whole time. He was either enthralled or really scared of humans
The Catalinas Islands lie about 40 minutes off the coast. They’re known for their amazing diversity of sea life beneath the waters surrounding them. Humpback whales, dolphins and eagle rays crested the surface on the way out. Underneath white tipped sharks, huge schools of snapper, 10-foot long manta rays, moray eels, grouper and octopi were present.
Fishing boats loomed in the distance. The divemasters noted their distaste for the nets these boats use.. they dredge the ocean floor, destroying coral and killing all sea creatures with impunity
They call this particular island “El Sombrero”
Frigate birds and Brown Boobies fighting for limited nesting space
En route to Monteverde
Stopping off at a bird sanctuary along the way. These Macaws were free to fly around the courtyards.
They were quite social..
Call me Samuel
Climbing the bumpy dirt roads to Monteverde. The ocean can be seen in the distance.
They called the roads “free massages”
Costa’s presidential elections were held on February 2nd. The election is headed to a runoff as neither of the top two candidates got enough votes to win outright. A finely decorated Johnny Araya is one of the two candidates in the mix..
The thick jungles of the cloud forest
In most places, trees’ ages are measured by their rings. Here, scientists measure the amount of soil present at the tops of trees to determine their age. Such is life in the canopy..
The cloud forest is famous for many things, but one is its hanging bridges. There’s a series of over 15 bridges that rise above the jungle floor. They’re impressive to say the least..
You have to stay in between the lines when walking across as the bridges tend to sway
The view below, over 100 feet down
The average tree lives only 20-30 years in this extremely moist climate. The floor is littered with decaying stumps.
Darwin would love this place. Everything seems to have evolved to this isolated ecosystem, including these flowers that await the long bill of a hummingbird..
The smallest avocados in the world
Christian, the guide, made Quetzal mating calls for nearly 45 minutes before this pretty male showed up
Nasty little millipede
My favorite sighting.. El Perezoso (the lazy one). They’re extremely rare to see, so this was definitely a treat
He looked like a little werewolf
The sunsets in the mountains were no less spectacular..