Having spent two nights in beautiful (and breezy) Monteverde, Jeff, “Camino Jenkins” and I made our way out to the Pacific Coast. Knowing that we wanted to spend two of our three remaining nights near Corcovado National Park in southwestern Costa Rica, we decided to find a place on the beach for a quick stopover.
Which brings me to Jacó. I don’t have a whole lot to say about Jacó except that I don’t recommend it. If I had to guess, Jacó started out as a bland resort city that didn’t age well — it struck me as the kind of place where timeshares go to die. The beach was crowded and covered in litter; the town itself had a sleazy vibe, even in the middle of the day. Our hotel was gross beyond all measure. We stayed for a night (a night which still haunts me) and left early the next morning for greener pastures. Moving right along!
We thoroughly enjoyed our journey down the coast toward Puerto Jiménez/Corcovado National Park. It was about five hours of gorgeous scenery and views of the Pacific, each one seemingly more stunning than the next.
Costa Rica is a great place to road trip because it’s a fairly small country, so you can cover a lot of ground. Most of the roads are in peak condition, with the exception of a few enormous and poorly marked sinkholes, which I’m pleased to say Jeff deftly avoided. I should point out that Jeff was a total champ and drove for the entirety of our journey around Costa Rica. Traffic rules are, shall we say, “looser” in Central America, and he did a great job tending to our safety.
I love road trips because they’re a great opportunity to eat delicious, unhealthy food. In the U.S., nothing beats a roadside diner or a little stand that sells hot dogs and milkshakes. And Costa Rica’s version of road snacks did not disappoint: fresh empanadas, cheap tacos and *glass bottle* Coca Cola are ubiquitous. At one point, we stopped for lunch (maybe halfway between Jacó and Puerto Jiménez?):
After indulging in some delicious snacks, we continued southbound on the “highway” (two lanes, always). A few hours later, we rolled into the little oceanside town of Puerto Jiménez, which, despite its small size, is still the largest city on the Osa Peninsula. Most of the restaurants and guesthouses are located on a small bay, which is fairly crowded with boats and vendors and tourist traffic. In those first few moments, I have to admit that my heart sank: we had been told that this area of Costa Rica was far less tourist-y than most, and I was ready for a break from the fray.
So imagine our surprise and delight when we discovered that our accommodation, Agua Dulce Beach Resort, was about 5km outside of town and has — get this — a virtually private beach! With the amount of tourism that Costa Rica sees, I imagine that private beaches are FEW and far between these days. So we got lucky.
I’d like to say that we spent the next couple of days taking advantage of all of the adventure-oriented activities in the area (e.g. snorkeling, biking, hiking, birding), but we didn’t. Recognizing that our accommodations on a semi-deserted beach were rare, we sort of just parked it. We spent the next forty eight hours being lazy: reading, sunbathing, walking the beach, and occasionally body surfing the HUGE waves.