On our planned last night on the beach in Nicaragua another overland truck turned up with John and Betti. We had been in touch with them over the internet so it was great to finally meet them. So now there were four on the beach. Over dinner we were persuaded to stay another night. John had built the truck himself so there were a lot of notes to compare.
The following evening we were easily persuaded to stay yet another night. It was a beautiful spot, Alisha was loving body boarding and it was great to have good company from people doing the same thing.
Finally after 5 days on the beach we left and drove to the Costa Rican border. The border crossing was pretty normal and took the usual 2 hours. Most of the time was taken with getting the truck out of Nicaragua and then temporarily imported into Costa Rica. In Nicaragua this meant getting 4 stamps from various officials who were randomly scattered around a car park. They needed to be all obtained in a certain order which you had to guess. Everyone was pretty friendly so we worked our way through it.
On the Costa Rican side there are 2 customs offices 300m apart and you have to walk back and forth between them as certain things are done at one, and others at the other.
Gilly and I had been to Costa Rica 18 years ago and really enjoyed it. On crossing the border the scenery changed and it was immediately clear that the country was more developed with better infrastructure and much wealthier. This was confirmed when we stopped to do our shopping as everything was much more expensive than the rest of Central America (except perhaps Belize).
We headed to Santa Rosa National Park which is a dry hardwood forest. As it is the dry season the trees are losing their leaves and it almost looked a little like Autumn. In the park there was a campground the first proper one we have had in ages.
Just after we arrived a troop of White Faced Capuchin Monkeys crossed through the campground very close to us. This must have been part of their regular route as they crossed the campground at the same time the following day.
While there we also saw some White Tailed Deer. The National Park was also set up to preserve part of the Costa Rican heritage. There is an old Hacienda in the park which was the place where Costa Rica successfully stopped an invasion from Nicaragua. We walked around the museum and up a small hill for fantastic views across the forest.
The following day we drove back to the beach at Playa Grande where we found a spot to stay in a small car park just next to another beautiful beach. At the edge of the beach were a strand of palm trees which gave good shade from the fierce sun. We were sitting under these when we got talking with a Danish/American family who were holidaying in one of the villas along the beach. They were interested in our trip and as we were talking they told me they were going deep sea fishing the next day and there was a spare spot in the boat. If you know me, I could not resist.
As always on the Pacific the sunsets are spectacular and we never tire of watching them.
The next day I was up early to go fishing. The girls were happy to stay and play on the beach. We were on a beautiful boat and set out to sea on a cloudless sky, with a flat ocean and high hopes. After 4 hours fishing for bill fish though we had not had even a sniff of a bite. Although we had enjoyed the dolphins jumping and playing by the boat.
The captain decide a change was needed and we did some bottom fishing to make sure we at least caught something. This was much easier, everyone caught some Grouper, although I was the only one who had to have 2 goes to catch something. This also meant we had some nice fish for supper.
After this we went back to bill fishing. This became more exciting in the afternoon as two sailfish approached the boat but they did not bite. Then just before we turned for port one hooked up. It was fantastic to see it jumping out of the water. It was Stefan's turn on the rod so he got to enjoy an exciting fight before finally landing a 70lb Sailfish. It was unhooked in the water so it could be safely released.
It was a great end to the day with a lovely family.
The next evening we had arranged to go to see Turtles nesting as that was the main reason we had gone to Playa Grande. Unfortunately we had just missed the giant Leatherback nesting season but Black Turtles were still nesting nearby. So after an early dinner, just as it got dark, we were driven to a nearby beach. The tour was all a bit chaotic. We thought we would just be on the beach but first there was a 1km trek over a headland in the dark and no one was wearing the right footwear.
We did get to see 2 turtles though and they were impressive. The first came up the beach but then decided not to nest and returned to the water. The second started to build a nest and we all waited some distance away. Then at the right time the guides moved us in closer. We were able to watch the turtle dig her nest but the spot she had chosen was too dry and the nest kept filling in. In the end she decided not to lay and returned to the sea.
Whilst it was great to see, I do feel we were intruding and really the groups were too large and no one really knew what was going on.
Sorry we do not have any photos of the turtles as you can not use torches or a flash and it was too dark for anything to come out.
I think we have had enough beach time recently so now it is time to head inland and up to the cloud forests.