Nicoya Peninsula

by lwsaville

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.

Monkeys fully utilizing the features of their environment to arrive at the mango tree in the back ground. It's amazing to watch their agility and jumps around the tree tops and on this occasion a human-like walk using the barbed-wire as a handrail.

Monkeys fully utilizing the features of their environment to arrive at the mango tree in the back ground. It’s amazing to watch their agility and jumps around the tree tops and on this occasion a human-like walk using the barbed-wire as a handrail.

The guilty party walking away from the scene of the crime. Note the turtle eggs in the white bag slung over shoulder (center). The eggs are eaten raw in a special sauce, I was told.

The guilty party walking away from the scene of the crime. Note the turtle eggs in the white bag slung over shoulder (center). The eggs are eaten raw in a special sauce, I was told.

Logan cruising down a bit of sandy track backing Conchal.

Logan cruising down a bit of sandy track backing Conchal.

This fierce looking male howler monkey had just finished wolfing down the fruit of a cashew (no napkins). He then proceeded to have sexual intercourse with a female complete a strange mating ritual involving the sticking out of toungues.

Nicoya has its share of river crossings.

Nicoya has its share of river crossings.

Riding towards dusk we catch a stunning view of Punta India just before arriving at Ostional.

Riding towards dusk we catch a stunning view of Punta India just before arriving at Ostional.

Turtle on the way back to the sea after trying to dig a nest on Ostional.

Turtle on the way back to the sea after trying to dig a nest on Ostional.

Turtle continuing journey.

Turtle continuing journey. After the interesting log obstacle she has only flat open beach.

And finally arriving.

And finally the arrival.

Logan squeezing through a fence for a tiny bit of singletrack.

Logan squeezing through a fence for a tiny bit of singletrack.

Waves crashing on the rocks of Playa Caletas at sunset. The tide has a habit of reaching quite high on this ishing beach and we were confined to a highperching bit of sand that had seemed not to to see waves for some time.

Waves crashing on the rocks of Playa Caletas at sunset. The tide has a habit of reaching quite high on this ishing beach and we were confined to a highperching bit of sand that had seemed not to to see waves for some time.

Dawn brought more opportunities for photos of the wave/rock interactions.

Dawn brought more opportunities for photos of the wave/rock interactions.

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Token footprints in the sand shot.

Token footprints in the sand shot.

Logan pulled away from his photografic reverie to reassess how close he was to this crashing wave with his beloved camera in hand.

Logan pulled away from his photographic reverie to reassess how close he was to this crashing wave with his beloved camera in hand.

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Another crossing.

Puro Aventurero.

the steed propped up by some craftily painted tires in the colorful town of Islita.

the steed propped up by some craftily painted tires in the colorful town of Islita.

A stretch of the beach riding.

A stretch of the beach riding.

This particular stretch was a landing place for interesting colored rocks and occasional shells. My mother would've loved to rummage about and I was remind of beach vacations with my family as a kid.

This particular stretch was a landing place for interesting colored rocks and occasional shells. My mother would’ve loved to rummage about and I was remind of beach vacations with my family as a kid.

Interesting leg of a large stump.

Interesting leg of a large stump.

Freedom Rock walking from an impressively large fig tree.

Freedom Rock walking from an impressively large fig tree.

My shabby capture of a scarlet macaw, one of many who called a golf resort home.

My shabby capture of a scarlet macaw, one of many who called a golf resort home.

I think this would be the first sitting for us of one of the mysterious spheres that are scattered around Costa Rica, more prominently to the south. Conjecture claims they were carved by hand but noone is aware of the use they might have been put to. Expecting to see more in the coming days.

I think this would be the first sitting for us of one of the mysterious spheres that are scattered around Costa Rica, more prominently to the south. Conjecture claims they were carved by hand but noone is aware of the use they might have been put to. Expecting to see more in the coming days.

Lots of fruit stands south of Jacó.

Lots of fruit stands south of Jacó.

The crocodiles responding lazily to my stimulating mango seed. You might think we're far off the beaten track in a wild wild place…..

The crocodiles responding lazily to my stimulating mango seed. You might think we’re far off the beaten track in a wild place…..

….But no, it's a tourist attraction. We later met a woman who sells coffee wood crocodiles and their teeth set as necklaces. The gringos buy a lot to remember she told us. Also discovered they feed the crocs various meats.

….But no, it’s a tourist attraction. We later met a woman who sells coffee wood crocodiles and their teeth set as necklaces. The gringos buy a lot to remember she told us. Also discovered they feed the crocs various meats.

Points:

-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.

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