Sunday, March 16, 2014


Pavones, an absolutely gorgeous surfing backdrop.
A story that will become a common feature in our Costa Rican travels, that of the apparently easy journey to our next destination which becomes an all day adventure/day from hell. Taking the 30 minute boat ride from Dolphin Quest to Golfito, to a 3 hour wait in the scorching heat in this little harbor town. Followed by an interesting 30km bus ride, all gravel roads through palm plantations for palm oil, stopping approximately every few minutes or few hundred meters to let passengers on and off. So, to sum it up, it was a long, bumpy, dusty bus ride. Wanting to feel relieved on arrival, hopefully to another paradise, we were not. But we quickly worked it out, and this place was a wee slice of heaven. 

The main street, the only street in town.
Eventually we iumped off the bus, only after questioning the driver, 'this is Pavones?' By this stage it was dark and all we saw was a dirt road and jungle! Right by the bus stop was one restaurant which seemed to have rooms, so we inquired and ended up with a lovely room for $30 for the night. The owner was helpful and reassured us we were in the correct place, which is the location of the longest left hand point break in the world. He pointed us out to a little lane-way leading off the road which led down to the beach. Along the 200 meter length, there were other accommodations, a bar, two restaurants, a surf shop and the sound of crashing waves.

Horses on the beach.
I was pumped! We had a burrito for dinner from our attached restaurant and managed to borrow a board off the owner so I had a sunrise surf the following morning. We splurged even further this night going to the bar and sharing three 1 liter bottles of Imperial Costa Rican beer, mainly to catch up watching some Olympics, which was on the big screen TV in this open air bar, but we also ended talking all night to two guys. One was a local 'tico' from an area not far from where we had just volunteered and a guy from New York. The next day we ended up changing accommodation to a very basic surf backpackers where they were staying.

Up at dawn it was, with Amy in tow as a beach spectator and photographer. But mainly she comes because she worries I will drown or something, not sure what she would do from shore if this did occur, but it makes her feel better. It was still a little dark when I headed out which made for the most amazing sunrise and unveiling of my surroundings, that of a sandy bay littered with jagged rock outcrops flanked to the waters edge with rainforest. The waves were small-ish still lots of fun but not enough size to wrap round the headlands to the full 1km possible ride. Still, it was a really consistent, nice ride. More and more surfers palled out over the next few hours, definitely the busiest spot I have surfed at with well over 30 surfers. Did make the line-up for the main wave a tad crowded, but I paddled pretty aggressively and definitely got my share of waves. Didn't stop some young locals who were just amazing surfers, they got me almost every time, little buggers! So that was me from about 6 till 9am the three mornings we were there. Wave after wave. The best waves I have surfed and the most technically I have surfed.

Getting some turns in on the face.
If that's not enough surfing for you, with our new roommates and friends we headed for a steaming  hour and a half midday walk to Punto Blanco. If Pavones sounds small, check this place out. It was pretty much nothing, literally at the end of the road. It was a school, a little shop and maybe a house or two and a place to stay. It had a big sand beach and some wild beach break waves and it was all for the four of us. These waves turned out to be sick as hell! After a quick evaluation, the best waves seemed to be braking over a rock shelf which kicked up some nice steep and speedy waves, with the set waves kicking up some monster overhead swell, it was definitely the biggest waves I have ridden. What a blast! Amy caught an amazing sequence of me on one of these beasts, stoked! Saving us the walk home, our tico friend negotiated us a ride in the back of ute back to town. Big days surfing calls for big nights sleep.

Riding home in the back of a truck.
After my morning sessions we would just walk out to the beach right across from our hostel and get Amy going on a nice big longboard. She caught some super fun little waves riding along with the break, great stuff, even if I still had to give her a little push start. We would usually treat ourselves with an ice cream or milkshake in the afternoon, do we need a reason? Unfortunately, I seemed to have come down with a bit of an ear infection and Amy woke up one morning with spots all over her body. So we decided to boost back to the city.

Punta Banco beach.
As this post started, sometimes the journey is just not quite as easy as planned. After telling some people we were heading out, they told us not to head back the way we came in, and instead they suggested a much "easier" and faster way out. They said to head to the Panama boarder, then head directly up the Inter-Americano highway to San Jose. Sounded alright. Unfortunately, it wasn't so simple. We caught one bus at about 12:40pm, and of course it was late. That bus took us to a station in the middle of the palm plantations and we transferred to another bus which we knew we took till then end. Then we had to take a ride in a 'colectivo' taxi from that town to the boarder town. There we found the ticket office for the bus which was to leave at 4:45pm and rode that late into the night to then take an as usual dodgy taxi across San Jose to our backpackers. A great day of travel!

Off for another surf.

1 comment:

  1. I'm surprised you made it back to the US after some of your adventures in Costa Rica. Was the Palm Oil plantation sustainable or had they wiped out the natural order for the greedy capitalists?
    Love Mum