The following photojournal was taken by me in Samara and Montezuma. Click on the images for a larger view.
The Pacific Coast is a wild and beautiful place. The sun blazes from 5 to 18:00 and the tide is either really close or very far away. Palm trees and bushes line the shore front. No building is allowed to be above two storeys. A single hotel smudges the natural beauty of the vista. Humidity approaches 80% during the day and drops to somewhere near 60% in the evening. Around the beach, the jungles grow high and deep.
Tans are requisite accessories. Sunburn is a rite of passage for the paler tribes of the world – the Celts, Anglo-Saxons and Germanic peoples being especially prone. That’s right, this place is full of Yanks, Brits and Germans (incl. Swiss), adding competition to the tanning/burning. Thankfully, I escaped much torment with a combination of prudence and sun cream. Factor 15 served adequately while reapplication was only needed after sufficient intervals in the sun. I did redden up a bit while surfing, only for it to return to normal later. I did not expect my paltry German to be put into use here, but it has served me… adequately.
…Did I just mention the surfing? Oh, yes, there was surfing. It was a beginner’s beach by most standards, the rocks about 2km from shore calming the more violent moods of the Pacific. Surfing is a great way to impress the shore-bound with ones style and physical prowess – important indicators of one’s personal strength. Unfortunately, I was a noob, so the opportunity to show off was replaced by the desire to simply not embarrass oneself too hideously.
On the less showy side, the showers gave us electric shocks, warm water is a luxury, sand in your pants is as bad as it sounds and the fact that we got robbed on Tuesday morning prove that no place is truly perfect. Thankfully, I didn’t lose enything in the robbery, only the American and Cypriot lost their cameras and some money, it could have been worse (I know that’s not really much consolation considering we were pretty damn unlucky to be robbed in the first place, but it’s better than: “yeah, we were very unlucky and a bit stupid, but at least we weren’t really unlucky and really stupid). The American wrote on the form the police gave her that her Cosmopolitan was also stolen, rationalising with “it might not sound important, but it is.”
If one ever gets thirsty and doesn’t wish to pay, one can simply twist a coconut from a tree, smack it against the trunk and drink its milky goodness.
…And In Paradise I Am.
The Pacific sunset over Samara beach allowed the night to slowly darken the sky and let the socialising begin proper.
The local mode of transportation in Samara was primarily this very Dutch bicycle. The perched beauties of the area were thankfully frequent.
Rocky sections often separate charming little coves from each other; the result of millions of years of erosion dominating this coastline made immediately obvious.
A local dog, eyes ruined from years of smoking ganja, sits in the tire tracks in Montezuma. Rastafarian culture extends even to the local wild dog population - probably the most important social movement in recent canine history.
Hammocks line most porches and balconies, adding much colour to the streets. This was one of many souvenir and clothing shops in Montezuma. If you need trinkets, Costa Rica has no shortage of trinkets.
Sweet early morning waves soon change from a pleasant paddle to surfing primes. The beach at Samara curved for several km all the way out to this island, but the bridge disappeared after low tide.
The locals' beach towels, like their clothing, is usually indistinguishable from the tourists' due to lack of vendor choices. It does have the advantage of minimising the clothing differences between the two, but as a result, the tourists in Lacoste and Polo stand out as potential victims of crime.
In Montezuma village, trinkets are the visible goods; ganja is the hidden - but not exactly subtle - primary income source for many street vendors. Considering a necklace sets one back $10-15 max, but a small bag of weed costs $20-30 (and a large amount for a few hundred). Combine that with a tolerant police force that has little reason to aggravate the locals, a quiet atmosphere, sweet reggae and you have a thriving underground economy.
The locals sit, drinking and smoking, on the shorefront rocks in the early evening.
A little rock stack overlooking the Pacific. Close to the sign designating a National Park and about twenty metres away from a turtle conservation project, these little stands sometimes serve as wards and guardians of protected areas.
A little shrine to tranquility garnished with local flora in Montezuma.
This picture speaks a thousand words. Half the fun of a good picture is interpretation, the rest is almost purely aesthetic.
You may have to forgive the pose, but I think I just earned at least ten year's worth of bragging rights.
The Iguana. Man, I still dream of riding a dinosaur, but these iguanas are just far too small to saddle up and tear through the jungle. Where's mad science when you need it? Off inventing cures for AIDS or something equally as useless? Bloody science.
Organicos restaurant offered all the best in local food, but vegan only. The rest of the group refused to eat once they found out it didn't do beer over dinner. I took some Germans there the next day instead. It was still beautiful without beer.
The ATV is the best way to get around in Montezuma. Only the village itself is paved or tarmacced, so a quadbike is almost required for those a short distance out.
A soccer game in the evening. Football and Coca Cola are seemingly infested in most parts of the world.
Montezuma's womenfolk sit on the sidelines as the men stand or play. There weren't many tourists around, so my camera was a dead giveaway.
The locals climbed the sides of waterfalls like we go up stairs. These daredevils did what few dared to do and jumped 25m waterfalls with ease.
This waterfall, coming in somewhere around 10m, was the somewhat easier, but no less entertaining jump. Once we,the gringos, jumped the waterfall and made it clear that survival was indeed possible, we got this group of people crowding round to share in the glory.
Just to clarify that last image.