After a lovely rest stay at Amelia’s in La Cruz (save the theft of Logan’s cycle computer nearly in front of our very eyes), overlooking Salinas Bay, Logan and I set off for primarily dirt riding skirting the edge of the Nicoya Peninsula. The promise was dirt and pretty beaches and we weren’t disappointed.
We stumbled onto Conchal beach at the suggestion of a, perhaps drunk and a little gone, ex-pat mechanic and it turned out to be touted as one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Arriving just in time to catch the “I pronounce you man and wife” of a pretty beach front wedding, a sax playing one man band striking into some of the wedding classics, not sure the bearded dirt bags on bicycles caught much attention as we skirted the back of the event on a sandy track to our camp site. A perfect swim in the calm bay protected waters was followed by sound sleep augmented by the gentle waves licking the sand. Morning came to reveal some shady caracters digging strange holes and we witnessed the poachers pull a score of turtle eggs deposited in a fresh nesting 5 meters from our camp (We later learned we could call the police directly or alert a guard at an hotel to have them call to report such activity). Later on visiting the beach Ostional we learn that its the most important beach for turtle nesting due to managment practices of the community there. I woke at 4 am to walk to beach looking with a red light and after stumbling bleery-eyed-drunk style a short distance I gained my equilibirum to find a couple of the turtles flapping their flippers in an attempt to dig a nest. Later that same morning a female had made it quite close to Logan’s tent and graciously allowed us a photo shoot at dawn. Around september enough turtles arrive at that beach to fill it during the night. It’s an illustration of wildlife management where targeted practices can do a lot of good, economic and other constraints prohibitive of protecting every beach in Costa Rica. The mother of the poached eggs on Conchal having the poor luck to show up at a beach lacking the amenities of Ostional.
Dust was a major issue imposing us to dawn cowboy bandana masks and sunglasses (on breaking my bootlegged raybans I took the pains to tape them back together) to endure passing vehicles. It was easy to become disgruntled with the traffic but upon further thought we normaly see a much higher number of cars passing, but without the bonus of powdery earth being kicked up in the transit. It did make certain sections less than pleasant.
Nicoya is a vacation system of microcosmic foreigner bubbles placed up and down the coast. I wondered any number of times what things must have been like before the massive influx. This sentiment applies to the majority of Costa Rica. They’ve done quite a bit of work to retain their natural resources but foreign visitors at the rate of 2.3 million visitors (2012, wiki) change the general vibe of a place. Animal life is still present at a level much higher then other central american countries and the land hasn’t got that feeling of being hacked up by the agricultural practices of a people struggling to subside.
We hit up some tough roads and as a result found ourselves stopping a little bit short of what might be a normal day on pavement. Nicoya also gifted us with some hard packed beach riding (an excellent first) in addition to some of the steppest dirt grades I’ve seen in a long time. Combined with the heat new parts of my body learned how to sweat as I felt I would burst from pressing the pedals so hard. My bandana assited me again in wiping away the vacillating sweat streams draining down the undersides of my forearms.
-Nicoya with dust and pretty beaches.
-Continued intense heat.
-Turtle egg poachers.
-Costa Rica is expensive and more affluent, vibe like the US.
-Microcosmic bubbles of foreigners.
-Hitting jungle land.
-Finally getting a couple of rest days.
-Afternoon rain signifying our temporal arrival of the edge of the rainy season.