Warm water, coral clusters, palms and hold on to your purse. The dangers inherent in appearing too wealthy.
04.01.2010 - 12.01.2010 30 °C
Costa Rica Itinerary - November 15, 2009
Afraid to Go - December 1, 2009
Chicago - December 4 - 7, 2009
Alajuela - Volcan Poas - December 9, 2009
Cahuita - Cahuita NP - December 17, 2009
Guapiles - Arial Tram - December 29, 2009
Punta Uva - Blooms and Beaches - January 2, 2010
Punta Uva - Roots, Bugs and Buddies - January 6, 2010
No doubt, carrying a leather handbag, making calls on your iphone, and being the last to leave the beach in the afternoon sun will get you into trouble, and scar the rich memories of a georgeous golden sand beach that runs for miles with not a house nor hotel to be seen.
This was the case of a couple whom we had met at the supermarket (not exactly the term I would use to describe this store) and had some discussions with, weather, accomodation, rum and so on.
Several days later we were in Puerto Veijo when this same couple, who were staying at a very respectable hotel not far from where these signs hang in Punta Uva, were looking for the police station to report a robbery.
"We were the last one's on the beach just before the sunset when 2 guys came out of the bushes, one of them weilding a machette and they took all of our money, ipod and cellphone." he imparted to the cafe owner.
The couple were obviously distressed and I heard later that they had lost a substantial amount of money. The police came by our cabinas 2 days later to tell us of this incident and to be careful of our possessions and not to walk the beach at night.
In spite of the dangers inherent to a poor culture and policed by an apparent indifferent authority, there are many good reasons to stay at one of the rustic or more Upscaled Resort / Cabinas along this coast from Puerto Veijo through to Manzanillo. There was only this one incident during the month long stay at Punta Uva and I personally would not be discouraged to return because of it.
The beach itself changes character several times, starting as a smooth and gentle slope to the waters edge to great dunes of sand carved by the fierce wave action of early January. Smooth coral ledges now rise up and create small warm pockets of sea water in which to sit and watch the train of sun seekers plod through the hot sand. I sat in this exact spot for an hour at a time beneath my sombrero and gazed blankly at the clear bubbles as the tepid water washed up and around me. It was kind of a Central American Hot Tub.
The week we left the water rose to invade the cabinas area and with the combination of rains once again the character of the beach was revamped.
During the Holiday season (Christmas, New Year) most of the available accomodation is filled with Ticos who have left the cooler areas of the central valley to picnic and swim on these pristine beaches. Rarely do you hear anything but Spanish till mid January when the North Americans and Europeans return for some winter sun.
In almost every case as we walked the beach, which we did every day several times from Playa Chiquita to Punta Uva, we would encounter young Ticos. Every nod and smile was returned with great enthusiasm and without exception when we made conversation we were greeted with knowledge and a genuine interest in helping us, usually in very good english. English is now being taught at all levels in the public school system and it is preparing the students with opportunities in the higher paying professions, with the international companies in San Jose, that are not available in the neighbouring countries.
We were always welcome to have a coffee or even share a BAR BQ' of tacos and chicken with the many families who would spend the whole day under the trees laughing and sharing with one another.
The sun rises just back of the jungle at the beach in Punta Uva and casts a well defined shadow parallel to the beach leaving a cool place in which to sit and some protection from the blazing sun. It eventually sets at the other end of Paya Chiquita offering the beach trekker a chance to catch some low UV rays in late afternoon. Someone has to be the last one off the beach...make sure it is not you.
Carolyn and I have have been introduced to 3 widely different beach environments with our trips to Costa Rica and in our opinion we have found the southern caribbean coast to have the most welcoming characters, warmest water for snorkling and swimming and little of the commercial concentration of the Pacific.
On the Nicoya penninsula the Curu wildlife center is the closest thing to the type of wilderness and beaches we found here at Punta Uva and ranks as return destination for us. Montezuma was very busy and attracted too many tourist and Tortuguero was only a brief visit but worth a return as well, not so much for the beach as for the wildlife in the National Park. Find out more on the Tortuguero page.
All of the beach images on this page were taken within a 20 minute walk from Punta Uva to Playa Chiquita.
We would find a log, bring out our drink of choice, and realize how very priviledged we are to experience such a tranquil lifestyle in an otherwise frantic world.
On the shores and in the trees there were Whimbrels (top left) Honeycreeper (on the bananas) Green Shrike-Vireo (eating fruit) and maybe Willets (in flight).
There are blooms everywhere and they can have different colors and species living around the next bend. There are so many options to investigate here in the natural world that you have to stop and admit you will never take a picture of every flower or bird and that reflecting on the beauty you find around the next bush is as good as it gets.
(above) A bunch of bananas starts the jouney to our table and (right) we have them delivered to our door and hung upside down so we Gringos will know what they are.
(below) Almonds grow in abundace along shore in the shade as a Bird of Paradise (top right and lower left) give us a few days of glory. Oranges (bottom right) droop down into our cabina balcony and are an excellent source of joy and laughter when combined with locally prepared coconut rum.