On a recent surf trip to Costa Rica I was reminded of an important lesson… if you really want a feral experience you’re going to have to travel a bit further than most. Perhaps not a further distance, simply a different compass bearing. When the guidebook says, “go right” I’ve learned I’m better off going left… or, perhaps, splitting the difference.
Just north of Malpais, Costa Rica, the coastal town of Santa Teresa smells of ripe mangos. It’s a clean little beach community with a dank, jungly rainforest backing up to la playa. And yet, it’s a bit too discovered for my taste. Just a few too many dudes strutting in their skull & crossbones trunks, stylee-branded sunglasses and rooster attitudes. Santa Teresa’s once dusty thoroughfare is now paved.
But, despite my quips, this zone on the southern Nicoya peninsula catches a spectrum of swell angles and the sandbars are known to produce hollow waves when the wind blows offshore. Sure I wanted culture, but I really wanted surf.
Doing our best to settle into an “insta-local” groove, we ‘d gotten word of a farmer’s market held every Saturday afternoon under a sprawling banyan tree. Rolling in search of fresh veggies on my rusty rental cruiser bike, I came upon a real estate sign that distilled my conflicted thoughts. “Want to own a piece of paradise?” it read in a bold, sales-guy font. Below, the spray-painted tag — El paraiso no se vende!!
Travel serves up those aha moments.