Earthquakes, Crocodiles, Beaches, Oh My!

It has been a crazy couple of days! I am exhausted, sunburned, and homesick.

Sunday afternoon, Nick started talking to another poker pro who lives across the street. How they have gone this long without meeting is beyond me. This pro, Zach, asked if we had been or wanted to go to Arenal volcano, where, at a really great restaurant, he left a pair of very expensive sunglasses and wanted to retrieve them. We were pumped, said we wanted to go, and began following his lead in this spur-of-the-moment two day trip. Our plan was to get a taxi the following morning around 1pm.

I fell asleep, dreamed volcano dreams, and was violently woken early in the morning to what seemed like a huge wind gust shaking our windows and closet doors. It’s quite windy here, so it seemed normal, but I was still scared and Nick wrapped his arms around me, said it was ok, and we immediately fell back asleep. Separately, the thought of an earthquake infiltrated our minds. We both had a moment where we thought, “what if we feel an earthquake while here.” We found out later that morning that we did indeed experience an earthquake centered about 45 miles South of San Jose. It’s so strange that we both instinctually new what happened. I don’t remember feeling anything, just hearing loud noises. There was no damage to our home (that we know of).

After we realized what happened, we resumed planning our trip. We were going to Arenal, wing finding a hotel, hit up a zip-line and the restaurant with the sunglasses. Zach called the recommended taxi company and the trip was estimated to be DOUBLE what was expected. Yikes. Long story short, we brainstormed and decided to go to the beach instead.

It was a stressful hour. We were ready to be spontaneous, like, right now.

This is where is gets good. Zach has a friend from Jersey, Brett, who has a killer condo in Jaco who has some spare rooms (that’s how it works I guess, poker pro’s have friends everywhere from everywhere). We slightly modified what we packed and a man named Max picked up Zach, Scott, Nick and me in a sweet van and we were off. It takes about an hour to get to Jaco from Escazú and it’s a pretty nice ride. A few tollbooths on the highway, over the mountains, through some mountains, then beach. Hot, muggy beach. About halfway we stopped at a bridge above a river that is a popular place to find American Crocodiles.

Oh my lawd, as if experiencing an earthquake for the first time wasn’t enough stimulation for the day. We saw about a dozen big, fat, prehistoric beasts below us, swimming around, just doing their thing. Let’s say you fell off the bridge, maybe from a gust of wind from a passing truck, maybe vertigo, you would be a goner. This is their turf. They are massive creatures, slow moving, so dinosaur-like, but you know they can move. I have never seen anything like it.

Coke bottle, for size comparison

By this point in the trip, we’re sweating our buns off in that little tin can of a van. The climate changed so quickly from warm, yet with a cool breeze to hot, muggy, stagnant air. We were dropped off at Brett’s condo, which apparently is the best high-rise condominium in Jaco. Gated, beautifully landscaped, complete with pool, hot tub, and weight room. His condo has three bedrooms, three baths, and of course an amazing view of the ocean. This is the first time I have ever seen the Pacific Ocean. We soaked it in then grabbed some lunch; typical tourist-appealing restaurant with a great happy hour. I had a fabulous margarita (or two) with arroz con pollo. Once back, we immediately put our suits on and went swimming. In. The. Pacific. Ocean.

At sunset.

We swam our little hearts out, jumped in the pool and hot tub, ate at Tsunami Sushi, where we had saki, a massive amount of sushi, and dessert. Then it was time for bed. Nick and I had the luxury of sleeping in the guest bed, which was a real luxury – memory foam, pillow top, the works. In the morning, we ate at a cafeteria-style soda serving typical Tico breakfast, with a little American flair: gallo pinto, fruit, scrambled eggs, something resembling bacon, and café con leche. Nick and I ate a very large meal for a total of $8. Just the meal we needed for a day of lounging.

We started walking the beach, found where the river meets the ocean (also where the crocodiles supposedly enter the beach), played in the low-tide waves, then hung out at the pool. When I had successfully fried myself, despite the multiple applications of spf 50 sunscreen and time spent in the shade, we went in for a shower and fresh fish tacos at the Taco Bar. I had spicy tuna and red snapper tacos, hummas and pitas, and their salad bar. Max picked us up and we were home around 9pm.

Escazu actually felt like home, which was a surprising feeling. All of our personal comforts, food, pajamas, aloe vera… Until we got there and found that las cucarachas had also made themselves confortable. Oh, Costa Rica.

We couldn’t have planned this trip if we tried; it was too perfect. – Jes

EDIT: I forgot to mention we saw two scarlet macaws fly around the beach! Absolutely beautiful!


One response to “Earthquakes, Crocodiles, Beaches, Oh My!

  1. Ok, one question…..the first picture of the crocs… we want to know whose clothes are on the branches? YIKES!

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