52. Playa del Coco
From Nicaragua to Costa Rica, where chicken buses don't exist but high prices do. We had a fantastic run with buses, having to catch four of them but not waiting more than five minutes for any. It was amazing how the timing of public transport could determine our mood for the rest of the day.
While wandering around Playa del Coco looking for somewhere to sleep the night, a woman came out of her shop and asked if we wanted to stay at her rental house. We said that we would have a look and make a decision then. One glance at the place and we were ready to move in for the next six months. It was nothing fancy (in fact it was almost falling apart), but it was a two storey house right on the beach. Our bedroom (bigger than our living room back home) was on the second level and looked directly over the water. She even said she would come over to make us breakfast each day (yet more gallo pinto - we hadn't escaped it in this country), at whatever time we wanted. There was also a laid back beach bar right next door. The bus gods had been on our side, and now the accommodation gods were joining them.
This really was the view from our bedroom window.
Playa del Coco was a small, quiet town (despite being a weekend), with one main road and a brownish-sand beach that was definitely not made for surfing. Which was fine by us as we weren't here for the waves; we came to dive. Our diving so far had been concentrated in the Caribbean Sea, which admittedly was an incredible place to go diving but we wanted to see how it compared to the Pacific side. After checking out a couple of dive operators and almost being floored by the price, we signed up, knowing this would be our one and only dive experience in Costa Rica.
The water was cold but calm, with the two dive sites situated around clusters of rocks close to shore. Our first dive saw us swimming with billions of fish - at times they formed huge walls around us, all moving as if they were one giant organism. Pufferfish and moray eels were the highlights, but there were so many species that we were awestruck. The second site contained far fewer fish, however we did see plenty of eels, anemones, as well as camouflaged octopuses that changed into a visible colour when they were scared. This in turn scared us, as we were not prepared for a creature to suddenly appear out of nowhere. Although we love reef diving, and would probably choose reef over rock sites in the future, it was definitely well worth the experience.
Most eateries along the main road were more expensive than we were willing to pay, so we headed for the supermarket for dinner. We were suddenly transported back to the Western world, with gigantic stores filled with items we hadn't seen for months. Everything we could imagine was there, including, most importantly, a wine fridge. COLD wine! Most of our wine purchases on our travels were red varietals, due to the white bottles being warm and not having the means or patience to cool them down. Not this time. White wine it was; dinner was sorted.