No Water for Whitey
After taking the ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya, we headed South towards Dominical. Both having been to this coastline before, we were stoked to check out some of the places we had stayed before. However, when we arrived in Playa Hermosa, we found that the beach was all built up and the place we had stayed at didn’t exist anymore. Feeling bummed, we decided to continue South and try to find a place to stay along the way. We found ourselves pulling down a dirt road towards Playa Bejuco. We knew nothing about this particular beach but wanted to check it out.
As we puttered along the beachside path, we noticed that there was not much going on. There were a couple of cars but no people in sight and one hotel/restaurant. The road came to a dead end so we spun Truck around and headed back the way we came. It was getting late and we needed to find a place to stay. We were just about to pull onto the beach and pirate camp when I spotted a cardboard sign that said “Se Alquila Para Acampar.” Perfect! We pulled up and were greeted by Stephanie who graciously opened the gate and told us where to park. She showed us where the toilet and shower was. The shower was a chest high, palm tree shack right on the side of the road with a clear curtain. We shared our camp that night with a group of construction workers who slept on patio furniture pads on the ground under a tarp. Needless to say, I took a “midnight mission” shower 😉
The next morning felt like Christmas to us. We packed up early and were getting ready to pull out when Stephanie’s son, Nathan, ran over in his diaper and no shirt and handed us a plastic bag filled to the brim with mangos. This isn’t the first time that we have stayed at a place where they give you fruit as you are leaving. It is such a nice gesture and yet another reminder as to why we like it down here so much!
We had one week before our good friend, Sean, was coming to visit so we spent it going surfing in the mornings, swimming in the pool, running hills throughout the jungle and relaxing in the hammock. We also made a new friend who we named “Little Dude.” Little Dude showed up on our porch one day and decided that this was his new home. He slept on my surfboard bag on the porch (which he later chewed a hole in) and greeted us every time we came home. We felt bad for him and actually grew very fond of him. He would try to come into the house through the gate any chance he could. He was completely malnourished and needed someone to take care of him. He hung around for four days before we had to leave to go pick up Sean.
Originally, I decided to stay at the house with Brady while Nate drove to San Jose to pick Sean up from the airport. However, as Nate was packing his bag to leave, we ran out of water and the electricity was out. Nate didn’t want to leave me behind like that, so we quickly packed a bag for me and Brady and I hopped in for the ride!
The road from Dominical to San Jose winds through the highest mountains in Costa Rica. We went from hot and humid down by the beach to driving through a cloud forest in 50 degree weather. At one point, we had to pull over to grab sweatshirts from the back! We had just barely made it to the outskirts of San Jose, when our GPS decided it was going to completely delete all of our maps and leave us with no idea how to get to our hotel. We pulled into a parking lot, not knowing what to do. Sean’s plane wasn’t landing until around 9pm that night, but we still had to check into the hotel and figure out how to make our way to the airport. Good thing we brought the computer with us and just happened to have a cord that fit the GPS in the center console. Nate plugged it in and reloaded all of our maps and got us going on the right track again.
The San Jose airport is one of the easiest airports we have ever been to. We parked in the parking garage and walked over to wait for Sean to depart his flight. We were so excited to see someone from home, especially Sean. We have known Sean for many, many years and he and Nate traveled throughout Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama together ten years ago. Also, when we originally started planning this trip, Sean and another friend of ours were supposed to get their own rig and join us on the trip South. As soon as we saw our pale white friend walk through the door, we were stoked! We walked over to Truck and drank a celebratory Imperial in the parking garage before taking off to find some grub.
We were so overjoyed to have Sean with us that we totally forgot about the no water or electricity thing at the house. We broke the news to Sean, who seemed to care less. He was just happy to be here visiting us! We made the windy trek back to Dominical where we stopped at a soda for lunch. When we arrived home after being away for 36 hours, guess who greeted us in the driveway? Little Dude! We were happy to see him but were kind of hoping that he moved on since we left. He hung out for a couple more days before we found him a home with a nice young Tico man that lived up the street. We were sad to see him go but were happy that he was going to have a nice home. Good luck Little Dude!
The first part of the week was filled with making delicious dinners, splashing around in the pool, catching up and going surfing. Sean even rented a longboard for a few days! We asked Sean to bring us some sunscreen because of the outrageous amount they charge for it down here. Sean would religiously put sunscreen everyday, multiple times per day to preserve his Powder-like appearance. One day, we drove a half hour south and visited Playa Ventanas- a beautiful beach that has two caves which stretch from the sandy beach to the open ocean. On low tide, you can walk almost all the way through them. It was thrilling to be inside the tunnel when a wave would come crashing through pretty much sweeping you off your feet. We picked fresh limes from the tree on the property and made homemade margaritas one night. They were delish!
With all this fun, we still had an ongoing problem at the house. We had no water in our holding tank which meant no water for showers, washing dishes or toilets. The system for the house is fed by runoff rainwater from the top of the hill. There was a serious drought at the time and we were not the only ones without water. Nate and Sean spent hours figuring out how to feed a water tank with run off from the gutters when we would receive the little rain that we did. One day, they pumped the water they gathered from the rain gutters up to the main tank. It took all day to fill it, a total of about 700 gallons. We all went to bed that night feeling hopeful that we would not have to haul water from the pool to flush the toilets and do dishes. We were also really looking forward to taking a shower. We hadn’t showered since our hotel room in San Jose, six or seven days before. We awoke the next morning to find that the entire water tank was empty. Bone dry. We had no idea where it went and felt completely defeated. Did someone steal it? Did it leak on the ground? Where the hell did it go?
Feeling bummed about the water situation at the house, we decided to hit the road and go camping in Drake Bay for a couple of days. After packing up the truck we headed towards the Osa Peninsula. After a little over two hours of driving, the road turned to a pothole filled dirt road. Shortly after that, we had our first of eleven total water crossings. One particular water crossing looked fairly deep so Nate threw on his bathing suit and walked through it to make sure it wasn’t too deep. After deciding we were good to go, he floated Truck across the river and we continued on our way. We had a couple of leads on places to stay in Drake Bay but when we arrived, we found a very crowded, small town with not much luck on camping. We decided to continue down the road and ended up at a dead end at Playa Josecito.
When we arrived, we asked around to see if there was a place to camp. We were sent to a man’s house who said we could camp on his lawn and use his bathroom. It was right on the beach so we spent the rest of the day swimming in the ocean and playing pictionary in the sand.
The next day, we headed out unsure of where we were going to go. We figured we would drive about halfway to San Jose, where we would have to bring Sean for his return flight home in a couple of days. We got a little bit of rain the night before but it didn’t seem to effect any of the water crossings we had done the day before. We splashed through three or four before we got to the big one. We pulled up and Sean asked if we should check it. Nate shrugged and shook his head no. He figured that if none of the other water crossings had changed, why would this one? Well, we were wrong. The water level had risen a little over a foot overnight and we didn’t realize it until the truck was in the middle of the river. I was standing on the other side taking pictures when I saw my home sinking underwater. Nate and Sean did not say one word to each other, they were in shock. I threw my hand over my mouth which was hanging open in disbelief. Truck is a champ, though. She swam through the river like it was nothing!
We ended Sean’s trip with camping one more night on a trout farm at Truchas Selva Madre. It was absolutely beautiful and we would have spent more time there if Sean didn’t have a plane to catch. We hiked to two different waterfalls the next day before heading to San Jose. We went out with a bang for Sean’s last night here. We stayed at a hotel which has a casino attached to it. We went there for a free happy hour, compliments of the hotel, and gambled our money away at the slot machines. We had a lot of fun and were sad to see Sean go. He was probably relieved to go home where he could take a nice long shower and flush the toilet without worry. We don’t know many people that would come on a vacation and be as easygoing about flushing a toilet with pool water and not showering for over a week. We dropped him off at the airport bright and early. As we drove away, we both realized that this was the first time on this trip that we have felt this homesick.