Day two in Costa Rica looked a lot like day one. Another day, another beach. I had my eye on a beauty called Sugar Beach. How can one go wrong with a name like that? Brings to mind a beautiful expanse of beach with nary a person on it. And, it lived up to its name.
There is a small resort on Sugar Beach. In fact, they graciously allowed us to park in their lot and walk through their property to the beach (and lounge in their chairs whilst on the beach, but they may not have known that part). One notable thing about Costa Rican beaches, at least the ones we visited, is the silky softness of the sand. Gorgeous sand. Excuse me whilst I pause and remember the sand. Eyes closed…goofy smile on my face…I can still feel it sifting through my toes.
One thing that we learned in the few short days on the Guanacaste Coast is that there really is no direct route to anywhere. A beach that is only a few miles away can take longer than expect to get there. Add to that the confusion of kilometers vs. miles and, well, it’s an adventure. So, when I put Sugar Beach into the GPS and was told it was 30 km away and would take 50 minutes to get there I thought little of it.
Allow me to break that down for you. 30 kilometers is 18.6 miles. When is the last time that it took you 50 minutes to drive 18.6 miles? Right? Well, we were clueless…and on vacation…and headed to Sugar Beach.
Things went fine, initially. Paved road. A little narrow. No big deal. Then we hit the area recently hit by fire. As in still smokin’.
It’s the end of the dry season in the Guanacaste. It’s very dry. Very. Very. Dry. As a result, fires happen. Many probably human-related. In fact, as we pulled out of Playa Hermosa we saw a fire back in the brush, blazing merrily. We were alarmed. We slowed down. Gaped. Looked around. No one was responding. No fire trucks. No fire brigade. Nuthin’.
The more we looked around, the more burn areas we noticed. Which led us to conclude that a) fires are common this time of year and b) unless the fire is threatening a structure no one pays them any attention. They are…casual…about fires. Seems to kind of fit with the Costa Rican personality. So, we, too, attempted to be casual about fires.
We remained casual as we drove to Sugar Beach. As we drove through that still-smoking area I commented to the husband that it was a good thing that we’d not attempted to come through the day before as it was obvious that the fire had jumped the road. I continued looking to my right out the window when the husband suddenly yelled, “Oh, shit!” I jerked my eyes to the road, expecting to see a large iguana facing imminent death. Instead, I saw downed power lines immediately in front of us…and then behind us as we drove over them.
Should one be casual about power lines downed by fire? We weren’t feeling very casual. Hearts pounding, we chattered nervously in raised, high voices about the possibility of the lines being live and if our own death had been imminent.
Then the pavement ended.
Gravel. No big deal. We have gravel around here. And, I had known ahead of time that some of the roads in Costa Rica were…rustic. Well. There’s US gravel roads…and there’s Costa Rican gravel roads. This one, in particular, seemed to involve a lot of steep hills and a lot of large (large) potholes. The combination of the two resulted in a white-knuckled husband who occasionally rolled his eyes accusingly in my direction (note: I would have just gunned it. Better to fly over the potholes at a high rate of speed than crawl through each one. Ahem. Love you, honey).
We bumped along for quite a while (30 km = 50 minutes, remember?), before finally finding our way to Sugar Beach. We actually ended up asking the resort if we could park and access from their site because we couldn’t find a public access site. I’d done my research…to an extent.
We gathered our things and walked down to the shore and….the husband sighed happily. The drive was worth it. Before us stood a beautiful beach, shared with 4-6 other people. To our right….beach. To our left…beach. We dropped our things, kicked off our shoes and strolled along the shore. I discovered shells, the husband simply meandered, spellbound by the crashing waves.
The humidity was pretty high that day, driving us into the water. Unlike Ocotal, which had baby waves, Sugar Beach had bigger waves. We imagined ourselves to be world class body surfers and road those waves like champs. Which means there was a lot of giggling and flailing around.
As we left the husband requested that we not return the way we came (read: gravel avoidance). Which, initially, didn’t seem like it would be a problem. But, as previously mentioned, there are few direct routes in CR. So, we ended up taking the long way back, adding probably an hour to our drive. When all was said-and-done there was general consensus that we should have done the gravel (though, the downed power line was still an object of great concern).
We arrived back at Playa Hermosa hungry and a little grumpy (me), but snacks and beers on the balcony quickly refreshed us. Afterwards, we waded into the ocean for a cool-off. One thing that I loved most about our time on the coast were the brown pelicans. We spent a great deal of time watching them bob, fly, and crash violently into the ocean in their pursuit of breakfast/lunch/dinner. So, it was a lot of fun being out among them that afternoon. Every time one would dive we would yell, “Kapow!” Because, really, a bird with a dive like that truly deserves some sound effects as they hit the water.
After enjoying another sunset on the beach we strolled down the way to a beach side restaurant. Sitting at a table in the sand we enjoyed grilled snapper, fresh from the sea, steak and a couple of large pina coladas. An end to a great day with the anticipation of our first transition the next.