3. puerto viejo, costa rica

destination: puerto viejo, costa rica

reason:

i had some friends come to visit me, so i took another break. this was after three months of minimal contact, so i was ready to talk to some other people for a change. we decided on puerto viejo because it seemed like a pretty chill place, with nice beaches and plenty of wildlife refuges and national parks nearby for some nature. plus, in all my time in costa rica i had never been to the caribbean side, so i was eager to check it out.

how to get there:

for me, it involved a bus to san jose, then another bus from there to puerto viejo. costa rica’s bus system works on a hub-and-spoke model, meaning you have to go to san jose to switch busses to go to your destination in most cases. not many direct busses between cities.

fun facts: you can break a fucking rib surfing, but only if you’re really inept.

notes:

this was another break from writing, so this will be more of a travel post. and since we didn’t do much strenuous travel, it won’t be much of a travel post. in the interest of keeping this brief, i’ll just go into some of the high-lights and low-lights of the trip.

those amazing beaches? they’re fine. nothing special. then again, we missed the peak season, so it was probably our fault. still, they were perfect for drinking beer on, getting a good buzz on, then swimming out to the large rock formations off in the distance. that’s always fun. not safe, but fun.

we met a talkative spaniard who operated a bar / restaurant / hostel outside one of the national parks (note: this story is true, but i’ve changed some details that could be used to identify him and left others vague, for reasons that will soon be obvious). as we drank cold beer after our trek through the neighboring nature preserve he gradually became more talkative, telling us stories about how he first settled in costa rica and set up shop.

then he moved onto telling us about how he went spearfishing for langostinos in the protected waters inside the national park. then how he grew weed on his neighbors property in the months when his neighbor was away (so that he wouldn’t get caught), before insisting we smoke a joint with him and try some of his homemade edibles. our taxi came soon after, otherwise i was pretty sure he was going to go into more detail on other illegal shit he was wrapped up in. i was waiting for him to casually ask “so, you ever killed a man?” as a segue into his own story on the subject.

also, i tried surfing for the first time. as a snowboarder, surfing seems like it’s slower, shorter, and less fun than snowboarding. because it is (come at me). then again, maybe it’s just sour grapes on my part. because in my hour-long session i managed to scrape the skin off my hands and fingers, smack myself in the head with a surfboard, and break a fucking rib.

seriously. i broke a fucking rib learning to surf. in shallow water. during a beginner course. i would have had a good laugh at myself over the whole situation, but after that it hurt to laugh (and breath, and move …), so i just sat there quietly hating myself.

i didn’t seek medical attention, because the nearest hospital was a two-hour bus ride away over bumpy, windy roads. and from a previous broken rib, i knew they would just tell me to take pain killers and relax. really not much you can do for a broken rib. so i started smoking a lot of pot from that point on to kill the pain. frankly, it would have been irresponsible of me not to smoke a lot of pot at that point.

recommendations:

eat at stashu’s con fusion curry joint in puerto viejo. holy shit, this place was so amazing we ate here twice and asked if we could import their sauce.

don’t break your fucking ribs.

if you do break your fucking ribs, smoke a lot of pot. you’ve earned it.

go snorkeling at playa cocles. but do this before you break your fucking ribs. it’s still doable afterward (i did it after), but a lot less pleasant.

find that crazy spaniard if you want some good weed and illegally poached seafood.