Friday, 21 April 2017


We've spent a lovely week on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica in Montezuma. The cool temperatures we experienced in Monteverde have been replaced with thirty-five degrees, sunshine and high humidity, so it was a bit of an adjustment to make but lovely to be back on the beach again. 
Montezuma beach

Montezuma is a lovely, laid back town with a similar vibe to, say, Zipolite in Mexico - lots of people arrive and never leave - and it's easy to see why: endless beautiful beaches fringed by jungle and excellent surf (not that we take advantage of it but it's fun to watch the waves crashing on to the shore!)
Another Montezuma beach

We arrived during Easter week (Semana Santa), which happens to be the busiest week of the year for holidays in Costa Rica - and everyone heads out of the city to the coast.

Only booking our accommodation the day before we arrived, we were lucky to find somewhere to stay at all, but fortunately we found a real gem of a place: set amongst a mango orchard and backing on to jungle, but just two hundred metres to the town and beach.

I reckon the locals outnumbered the tourists ten to one, but on Easter Sunday everyone went home and the town was suddenly deserted.

Kev on a deserted Playa Grande

Practising handstands on the beach
We'd wake each morning to the sound of howler monkeys in the trees, howling to each other  as they picked the ripe mangoes above our accommodation.
One morning we had a particularly loud wake up call at 5am, where there must have been at least twenty of them up there - it was so loud and sounded quite ferocious!
The mangoes were so plentiful that the monkeys would pick one, take a couple of bites and then drop it (where it would hit the roof of our chalet with a loud thud!) if the monkeys cries don't wake you the sound of falling fruit will!

In addition to the howler monkeys in the trees over breakfast, we also watched white-faced monkeys in the trees and on the beach foraging for food. They are much less tame than the long-tailed macaques in Asia and weren't trying to steal anything from our bags.
They got quite close to us on the beach - or rather we were sat quite close to the trees they were foraging in, but didn't seem interested in us, which was a relief!

White-faced monkeys
The end of our week saw the first rain of the year - an hour's torrential downpour. We had luckily left the beach by then and made it to shelter of a restaurant for dinner.
Bizarrely, the rain awakened thousands of red crabs and the next day as we walked the jungle trail to Playa Grande, all we could hear besides the surf and the cicadas was the sound of crabs scuttling through the leaves.

As we went to leave the beach later in the day, there were hundreds of them gathering at the entrance to the beach and at the shore, presumably ready to make their way down to the sea. Each crab about the size of my hand with distinctive orange legs, purple claws and black back.
Hundreds of crabs!

Back at our accommodation in the evening we even found crabs scurrying around on the steps leading up to and outside our room on the patio! Sadly, there were also lots of them squashed on the road.

I have no idea where they all came from, but the town was all of a sudden crawling with them! During dinner we watched as a couple of them stealthily crept into the restaurant, sneaking into a dark corner. I'm not sure if they were looking for food, or the ocean, but the locals didn't seem to be bothered by them.
The rain also brought out the bugs in their various forms: mosquitoes, flying ants and other unidentifiable insects. I was thinking earlier in the week that there weren't many bugs around considering we were in the hot and humid jungle. Well, here they are now!
As an interesting aside, we have noticed how sand castles vary around the world: in Thailand they build sand temples, in Mexico they build sand (Mayan) pyramids and in Costa Rica they build sand volcanoes! It makes sense but I never thought of sand castles as being a particularly British thing!
Next, we're crossing over to the other side of the country, to Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast, by the border with Panama. This region is the home of Chiquita bananas, so think of us next time you're buying your bananas in the supermarket!
I'll write again next week.
Pura vida! (as they say in Costa Rica)

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