A night out in San Jose and five bests and worsts about Costa Rica. I was watching the NFL Playoffs at Chubbs and went to Il Re to get cash. I noticed the screens were bigger, the bar was shinier and the women were cuter. I sat down to watch a quarter when a drop-dead gorgeous Colombian sits down and starts rubbing my leg. I looked around and realized this may be the only sports bar in the world at that moment where none of the men were watching the games.
We had no food – except for a few arms and legs. We saw the first one when its left eye emerged from the water and eyed us from about 30 feet away. Crocs aren’t hard to find. Their snouts form a kind of breaker through the water. You merely look where the water isn’t flat, where there’s a break in the pattern. Then you can see a long, scaly snout slowly moving through the inky river.
As we approached it, it didn’t move. It just sat there, floating. We came right up next to it, snapped a couple of dozen pictures. It was almost posing.
Skin is crawling but kayak down Rio Ora is a cure that doesn’t bite. Iguanas, macaws and monkeys accompany me down one of the laziest rivers in Central America.
For a change of scenery I decided to upgrade beaches. Samara’s beach is idyllic, something out of a travel posture or off a bottle of suntan lotion. But all the Ticos say it’s nothing compared to others north and south of it.
You can see one problem with Costa Rica by taking one peek at my ankles. Mosquitos are deadly here. I haven’t been typing much this morning because it’s hard to type when your hands are too busy furiously scratching bites.
THURSDAY, JULY 18 – SAMARA, COSTA RICA You’re not too old to take up a new sport at 57. Billiards. Bowling. Bocce ball. They all come to mind. Surfing, however, is not one of them. Before coming down to one of the great surfing nations in the world, I’d surfed before. That was 1976. I […]
Central America is a huge center for language schools and Samara seems to be one of the epicenters. Every non Tico I meet seems to be learning Spanish here. It’s a nice idea. You go to school for four hours a day and then use what you’ve learned on the beaches, bars and dusty streets of the village.
TUESDAY, JULY 16 – SAMARA, COSTA RICA I’m sitting on the apartment’s tiny balcony looking out over a Pacific Ocean that’s as flat as a pane of blue glass. The only white water I see consists of a few small breaks near the shore where I thought I’d try surfing for the first time as […]
MONDAY, JULY 15 – SAMARA, COSTA RICA Here’s one way to get away from ex-pats even in a place without many: Dive into a jungle. Costa Rica is lousy with rain forests. Jaguars still roam the dense growth throughout the country which, from the air, looks like the Amazon with beaches. The jungle in Samara, […]
SUNDAY, JULY 14 – SAMARA, COSTA RICA Apartment living is a great way to see Third World countries. Or, maybe this apartment is a great way to see Costa Rica. I’m sitting in a spacious, tiled living room with wrap-around windows that perfectly frame the Pacific Ocean. Yes, it seems like it’s the whole Pacific […]
By John Henderson Special to The Philadelphia Inquirer ARCHIPELAGO SAN BLAS, Panama – The canoe with my two backpacks sitting precariously at the bow motors through the royal blue Caribbean Sea. I’m cruising past miniscule, uninhabited islands not even charted on maps, and I’m heading to one of them. I’m spending two days on the […]
“This is the coolest part of Nicaragua,” said Randy, his braided cornrows darkening with the setting sun. “There is no police, no politicians, none of those rude boys.” No need. Little Corn Island is a little more than a half a square mile. If you can negotiate a couple of rock outcroppings, you can walk […]