I'm finally in Mal Pais and more importantly...at the coast!! I left Costa Rica Backpackers, San Jose with Isacc (from California) on Thursday 8th November at 3pm. The journey started with a 20min taxi drive to the Coca Cola bus station.....Costa Ricans work from landmarks and not road names....the bus station basically has Coca Cola signs everwhere so it therefore adopted the name....random i know!! Ask a taxi driver to take you to a particular road and they get completely frustrated and as i found out earlier during my stay in San Jose - get completely lost!! Anyway we got on a bus and after a 4hour drive arrived in Puntarenas, where we boarded a ferry which took about 1.5hrs to get to the otherside of the Nicoya Peninsula (rivermouth) to Montezuma. We got back on the coach and after an hour or so transfered into a samller mini-bus..where my surfbaord was transferred to the roof!! This was due to the conditions of the roads, which were basically wide mud paths with potholes everywhere....after meeting two friendly girls (Zoe from Cambridge, UK and Eran from Minnesota, USA - both training to be nurses in San Jose, who were on a holiday for a few days!!) on the bus, which went at about 5-10MPH for 6 miles, we arrived in Mal Pais. Mal Pais literary means 'Bad Country' in Spanish, however it actually turned out to be a quality place!!
Upon arriving in the resort and booking into a room, which Isacc and i shared with Zoe and Eran....to keep costs low and due to the shortage of rooms.....we headed out into the Village to get some food and drink. Mal Pais is basically located along a dirt track, with restaurants, surf shops.....1 called 'the s***hole' and hostels located along it's length, which is seperated by a secion of forest and rivers that lead down to the beach. Friday morning saw the first momentous occassion of me christening AliceII in the Pacific ocean.....Isacc and i woke at 6.30am and walked to the beach down a dirt path to the beach at 'Playa Carmen'.....it turned out to be choppy and not great so we walked 30mins down the coast to a spot called 'Santa Teresa', which hosted some clean 3-4ft waves, where some got bigger and started to barrel....unfortunately i didn't get one, but did cath some good ones. In the evening that day we surfed again but this time at Playa ('beach') Carmen where the surf had got significantly bigger and hosted some amazing local talent!! Got some great pictures of the sunset that evening, which was amazing.....they can be seen in my photos section......We did this most days!!
The Hostel itself is an amazing piece of woodcraft (refer to pics) and probably one of the best hostels i've ever stayed in. The hostel offered free all you can eat pancakes & free coffee every morning, free internet & skype and had a great location set back from the main road. It cost 5 pounds a night & there were hammocks everywhere and long relaxing evenings in them, whilst getting up occassionally for a beer and to play pool at the table became part of everyday life....with surfing added obviously......basically i was stressed out for the whole time i was there!! All the people i met were sound and chilled out and came to enjoy the surf, so there were surfboards left all over the place....which you could rent from the hostel itself!! Apparently a lot of people saw big Iguanas on the beach each day but i saw none but did see a cluster of Howler Monkeys in the trees outside the hostel, which was cool to see, although i had my heart set on seeing big reptiles....i did see a small Gecho on the wall of my room though!! Hopefully i'll see plenty of flora and fauna before i leave....hopefully under the right circumstances!?
I stayed in Mal Pais for three nights and experienced some pretty poor weather and got bitten about a million times by mosquitos and flys, which i have all over my body......so i decided it was time to head back to San Jose on Monday morning with a fellow traveller called 'Ed' to recover and plan a trip to the more tropical Carribean coast, where i hope to see more wildlfie, experience 'Rasta' Culture and see even more stunning beaches and surf!!
Hope you're all doing ok and enjoying my blogs and pics....hopefully i'll get a video of me surfing on here soon. Hope the weather's not too cold back home.....i'd like to say i miss it but quite frankly i don't!! Will be wierd at christmas time though, although i can't wait to see Alice!!
I arrived in Heredia with Ed on Monday (13th) afternoon and i will let you know all about Heredia soon!!