Tamarindo, Costa Rica: Day 2

At 6:00 am, Hannah and I jumped out of bed to make some breakfast at the Selina. We each had a fit full night of sleep as the air conditioner had made the room ice cold. With living in Costa Rica for roughly two months without air conditioning, cold air at night led to little sleep with only a little top sheet for warmth.

By 7:00 am, Hannah and I were waiting out front of the Selina to wait for our guide to pick us up for our sea kayak and snorkeling tour at Captain Island with Native’s Way. We chitt-chatted in Spanish for the short drive to the parking area near the beach.

While walking to the beach, our guide ran into a couple from New York that he knew. From what I could gather, the couple had purchased a hotel/bed and breakfast and seemed to have been completing renovations. The couple assured Hannah and I we were in good hands with our guide.

After having some water with lime in plastic wine glass (complimentary service), Hannah and I suited up in life vests. Our guide explained where we would be paddling too and the best route to take to avoid getting beat up by the waves. With paddles in hand, we walked to the ocean while our guide’s assistant carried the double-kayak. Once in the water, I hopped into the front seat and Hannah into the back. With a push from the assistant, she and I were off and paddling in the ocean following our guide who paddled on his paddle board.

The whole kayak experience was entirely relaxing and very fun! I typically kayak at the lake during the summer so I knew what I needed to do. However, I expected sea kayaking to be more difficult and different. Really, though, kayaking is kayaking as I found out!

Eventually, Hannah and I made it to Captain Island. We disembarked and were then given a tour of the small island. From the island, the guide pointed out the different areas of the coastline and named the beaches in the area. He also pointed out the different wildlife and explained their eating and living habits. I was most surprised to see and learn that the crabs on the island will push the bird eggs (cannot remember the name of the bird) out of the bird nest and try to roll them off an edge to crack the egg to eat them. Based on the size of the crab, I could not believe they have the strength to do so!

After a brief wildlife tour, the snorkeling portion of the tour began. Hannah and I were each given snorkels that covered our entire faces. With a snorkeling “headset,” you are able to breath normally while snorkeling. The masks make a person look absolutely bonkers, but even a normal snorkel set looks silly on a person. Hannah and I followed our guide around for a little bit and he picked up starfish for us to hold and pointed out specific species of fish and other sea creatures. Once he wrapped up showing us around the area, Hannah and I had free reign to snorkel to our hearts content. I had a fun time swimming around in my flippers looking at the fish and crabs. This was the first time I had snorkeled since studying abroad in Australia (5 years ago) on the Great Barrier Reef. For me, the activity took me back to seeing sea turtles and vibrant coral found along the Australian coastline. It’s crazy to reflect back to all of those years and look at my life now: three study abroad experiences, lots of adventures with exchange students and their families, and the acquisition of a second language.

Eventually, we had to wrap up our snorkel time. Hannah and I headed back to the island and our guide explained our path back to shore. But before paddling back, would we want to stop at the floating playground to go down the water slide and jump off the super high diving board? Of course! Hannah and I paddled through the water to the playground where our guide helped pull us and our kayak up out of the water.

For 15 minutes or so, Hannah and I went flying down the water slide and jumped off two different diving boards. Neither of us could muster up the courage to jump from the platform, to the trampoline, and then to the water. I felt like a child again while in the middle of the ocean going down the water slide and had an absolute blast!

Once we had our fill of jumping off and swimming around, Hannah and I got back into the kayak and paddled to shore. With a lot of “thank you’s” to our wonderful guide, Hannah and I walked along the beach to head back towards the Selina. Our plan for the rest of the day was to pack our lunch and head to a nearby beach, Playa Langosta, that my mama tica had recommended. For her, Playa Langosta was the most pretty in the area and her absolute favorite.

With peanut butter sandwiches and fruit packed, Hannah and I with the help of Google Maps, walked the short distance to this beautiful beach. When we finally arrived, we pleasantly surprised to see there were no people in the area! This meant both of us would be able to leave our personal belongings near the mangrove trees that lined the sand without having to worry too much about pickpockets.

So that’s exactly what we did, we found a great shaded area with a log to sit on, plopped our stuff down, and ran into the ocean. Unfortunately, we quickly realized this was an EXTREMELY rocky area with huge waves. Together, these can make a deadly combination. Hannah and I found ourselves swimming for a while, but also cognizant of diving down to avoid getting taken out by a huge wave.

We hung out in our little area for a while talking, relaxing, hopping back into the water for a few hours. Eventually, Hannah suggested we walk the length of the beach to explore for a while longer. We came to a spot that was super rocky where the tide had gone out and each of us took a turn to walk out.

Once we had each walked out to the rocky area, Hannah and I continued our walk. I screamed at the sight of a snake on the beach and Hannah screamed in response. Because Playa Langosta has a ton of resorts boarding the shore, a gentleman working for one of the hotels looked over and laughed at our frightened faces. Don’t worry, I won’t post the snake photo.

Eventually, Hannah and I discovered an even better spot with a larger log to sit and chat on together. Once again, we went in and out of the water, talked, and took seaside naps. Since we had spent the whole day at Playa Langosta and had found a perfect spot, Hannah and I decided to take in the sunset here, which was a fantastic decision.

When the sun slipped below the horizon, Hannah and I walked along the beach only to discover Playa Tamarindo connected to Playa Langosta. We realized we could have avoided the dirt road walk in the morning Google Maps had directed us earlier in the day. Oh well!

Hannah and I swung by the grocery store to pick up dinner supplies. What did we cook you may ask? Pancakes! We laughed while making everything because an Italian gentleman at the hostel was cooking a full-on homemade bolognese sauce, while Hannah and I were cooking pancakes from a box.

We spent the rest of our evening relaxing and chatting with our hostel friend who had attended IU and had friends near my hometown in Indiana and currently resided in Pennslyvania (where Hannah is from). It’s a small world! Hannah conducted research for a concrete plan for the following day, which was quite the adventure! More details in my next post.

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

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