Guys we made it! It was actually a remarkably easy day of travel. No marital spats, kids slept the ENTIRE trip – the car rental guy was there to meet us at the airport and before you know it we were in our little Suzuki compact 4×4 and on the road to Walmart. Yes I’m not proud of it but there is a Walmart directly behind the San Jose airport where we could get money changed and some basic groceries. Surprisingly they also had some pretty good tamales ready to eat. Setting up a little kitchen for a few weeks is a tricky proposition – and it is always so much more money than you would expect and then when you go to cook you realize you forgot to get salt. These next two weeks of home cooking are going to involve a lot of avocado, tomato and corn chips.
Finally with the Suzuki crammed with walmart bags, luggage and us we hit the road guided by google maps and myself – there were a couple of roundabouts we had to have two attempts on but no squabbles, no feeling like I was ruining everything. Maybe we were just too tired or maybe we were just too excited or maybe we are settling into our own way. Also the highways are great – I don’t know what everyone was talking about needing 4×4’s for the dirt roads – aside from having almost no official signage but lots of hand painted directions the roads were paved and easy. The colours are deep and vibrant and the air is hot but not as heavy as I was expecting. The highway was lined with little towns spaced about 10-15kms apart. Each have the big dark covered bar – cavernous inside, some little food stands, fruit and vegetable stalls, a school and a soccer pitch lined with old tires dug into the ground . There are mountains and jungle and as we move down towards the water the heat increases, the air becomes heavier and we become stickier. I can’t keep from falling asleep my head bobbing – well more like whiplashing front to back. I have no idea how Chris managed to stay awake but he did – although he did eat trail mix continuously for the middle hours. Yes hours. Four hours. And soon we discover why we needed a 4×4. We turn off the highway onto a dirt and gravel road. It’s predictably bumpy and slowly becomes more bone jarring but google says we are only ten minutes away so we are fine to ride it out and then four minutes away we see the sign for our place and we turn onto a dirt “road”. It’s red dirt dug deep with high muddy sides and giant ruts the size of small cars and NY city apartments. It’s no longer bone jarring more roller coaster with steep inclines and deep ruts – the kids LOVE it. The sky is tinged pink behind the jungle complete with hanging vines and howling monkeys. We pull into our place and are waved further up the hill by a couple with one naked three year old peaking from behind the man wearing a baby in a front carrier. The owner has given us a new place – it’s somewhat confusing at first but when we go inside we find a much bigger layout, a master bedroom with en-suite and a balcony overlooking the jungle complete with a swinging couch. The couple are Alejandro and his wife Melena – their two children, Nairobi, the naked golden haired bronze skinned three year old, and Siwanee the dozing three month old. We chat with Alejandro while Sabine and Nairobi play. I love how three year olds’ language is play. Alejandro is a spiritual healer – he and his wife had their children on the Eastern coast because it had a more feminine energy for birthing but then they moved here because it was too hot and jungly and they like the vibe here better. We chat while the sun goes down – finally I start bringing our bags in – I need to make dinner and get us all to bed since we have now been traveling for almost 24 hours. But I am getting a good understanding of the vibe around Ca Di Roc (the property we are on).
Then a larger man rides up on an ATV and it’s Niko the owner. He is Italian and bought the land 30 years ago – he has developed it – built ten houses and roads or as I like to call them “roads?” – there is a huge communal pool with a covered bar/deck – tables under grass roofs and lounging mat covered benches and, of course, a hammock. It’s a ten minute walk to the beach Or a 3 minute drive.
On the downside there are also scorpions – one of which flew out of an oven mitt that Anderson wisely shook out before putting his hand in. The baby scorpion disappeared under the fridge – when we moved the fridge we discovered two geckos but no scorpion – we are hoping the geckos ate the scorpion. Apparently scorpions are just like wasps – you want to avoid them (shaking out your shoes, towels and clothes before sticking any body parts in) and the stings hurt but they aren’t deadly. Luckily the snake Anderson accidentally stepped on while we walked back from the beach wasn’t deadly either. The iguana that went strolling up the road in front of our place is only dangerous to bugs and the papayas hanging from the trees. We are settling in nicely. Getting up at 5:30am to sit on our balcony on the swinging couch to watch the sunrise and listen to the howling monkeys, braying cows and waking birds.
Chris booked a “local” surf lesson – the instructor informed us that we were only 35-40 minutes away but then we discovered the lesson was in Nosara – which is actually 1 hour away along what we also discovered was an other crazy dirt road – oh that’s why we needed the 4×4!
Nosara – we were told by Holly, a masseuse and yoga instructor who lives in one of the houses at Ca Di Roc, is a Mecca for wellness. We arrived to find a town about to explode in size with construction around every corner. The dirt road filled with tourists, some on bicycles with surf board carriers, some on ATV’s and golf carts and more strolling past smoothie stalls and little surf shops, beach wear shops, bars and restaurants and super minis (convenience stores). We didn’t see the world famous yoga centre but I’m sure we will on our next trip down. The wellness Mecca is more of a commercialism Mecca. The beach is stunning – it runs as far as the eye can see – wide and smooth. Luckily we snag a little grass covered shade at the entrance to it. We were only planning to stay for the lesson but we met an other couple on a year long sojourn with a six year old so we ended up spending the day – getting some great inside tips on Thailand and other spots and trading the ups and downs of long term travel.
We end the day stopping at The Tiki Hut, a beach side restaurant, in the sleepy town of Marbella twenty minutes from our place.