Morning came and we were not ready to leave. We had so much fun in Monteverde. Amber and Billy were ready for some beach time, but I could have stayed in the hills. As we took one last look at our place, I felt like I was leaving a little piece of myself behind. We packed up our stuff, and headed out of the mountains.
One final photo in front of our rain forest cabin
The view driving down the mountains
Driving down was much easier than going up. Even so, I still had to get a running start to get up a few of the steepest parts because of the loose gravel. We hit a small village, and came around a corner to find a Tico on horseback waving at us. It was a warning to slow down. As we made our way slowly around the next bend, we realized what the warning was for. They were herding cattle through the middle of the village. I pulled over and let the procession go by.
Travel Tip: When descending mountain roads, make sure to be cognizant of blind curves and use your brakes liberally while also stopping to let them cool off as needed.
About 3/4 of the way down, I had to stop and pull over to let my brakes cool off. We could all smell them by then. I made sure to find a big shade tree to park under. Those mountains are no joke on brake pads. Thankfully, the steepest parts were behind us.
As we descended the mountains, we traded our rain forest views for views of the coastline. Playa Hermosa looked like a postcard coming off the mountains. This region is known as the Central Pacific and Southern Nicoya region. I am not a surfer by no means, but the sight of the waves made me want to jump out there with a surf board. Their timing looked surgical as they crashed on the beach. It was awesome!
The coastline was dotted with soda and surf shops. It had a total beach bum vibe. Somewhere along the coast, we crossed a river called the Rio Tarcoles full of American crocodiles. There were many tourists, and it was very crowded. We opted not to stop here except for a quick bathroom break. Looking on the map, we decided to stop in Jaco for lunch. After combing reviews, we decided on the Taco Bar. It was an open air place with a buffet in the middle. The chairs were swings that lined the bar, and the portions were huge!
After we got overloaded on tacos (and still had leftovers) we continued down the coast. There were many surf shops south of Jaco, and some high end houses up the mountains overlooking the water. It was very beautiful. In a little while, we hit an area that was overloaded with African Palm trees.
Later I did some research in our travel guide. I found out the name of this area is called the Valle del Rio Savegre, Savegre River Valley. It is full of African Palm Plantations. Beginning in the 1970’s, African Palms overtook bananas as a main export. Costa Rica has some rich history with railroad tycoons and banana dynasty’s.
Soon enough we hit Quepos. We did not know what to expect. It was a bustling tourist town with paved steep, narrow, winding hills. I had to drive extra cautiously here; it was busy! Using our trusty GPS, and following the few signs that were posted, we made our way to our resort. The driveway was very steep.
The Parador is one of the most expensive resorts in Quepos, and was definitely not my first pick, but Amber was not budging on this one. It is okay to splurge every now and then, and we only were staying a few days. It was nestled away on the very end of Punta Quepos, a small peninsula that jutted out from the coast. I read somewhere that the whole peninsula had been cleared off to be used for a farmers cattle back in the day, but eventually, they realized the value of letting the rain forest have it back.
When we arrived at the Parador, we checked in and were taken to our room by golf cart. On the way, our driver stopped underneath some trees to show us some of the local wild life. There was a tiny little monkey hanging out in the tree that I did not have time to snap a picture of. It was so exciting to have wildlife living so close to our room. Later on I came back and snapped some pictures of some other lazy wildlife lounging in the same tree.
Two toed sloth taking a nap in a tree
Iguana hanging out by the Parador courtyard
As soon as we got to our room, Amber and Billy immediately wanted to walk to the beach. There is a “hidden” beach just down the hill from the Parador. We noticed many cars lined along the road on our way in–other beach goers parking near the path. The path to the beach was steep and rugged, but it did not take long for us to get to the beach. This beach is called Playa Biesanz.
Everything we had read about this beach, and all of the pictures of the beach we had seen looked like paradise. Unfortunately, the beach did not live up to the hype. Maybe it was the time of year, or because the tourists had ruined it, but either way, it was not at all what we expected. The beach was black sand, as are all of the beaches on the Pacific coast, but as soon as we arrived we were heckled by solicitors, people wanting to rent us umbrellas, paddle boards, kayaks, you name it.
Also, it was packed! There were so many people there. The beach had potential, and I am sure at one time it truly was the paradise I had seen in books, but after it got famous, it went downhill. I did not bring a camera with me because I did not feel like carrying it, and trying to keep it secure while swimming. I did bring our snorkel gear, which turned out to be useless because the water visibility was zero. I got stung a couple times by smaller jellyfish, but it wasn’t enough to scare us off. I would highly suggest to avoid this beach.
Even though it was not what we expected, we made the most of it, and burned off some of those tacos swimming. After wearing ourselves out, we hiked back to our room and got cleaned up. That night we ate at Don Juan’s, a restaurant inside the resort. The food was good, but expensive. We spent about $80 for three meals. We had just come from the beach, and eaten a good dinner, but the pool was too inviting to not go for a dip.
We had no trouble falling asleep, and needed the rest for tomorrow’s adventure… horseback riding!