Italian Travel Blogger Ciretta Wanderlust, equipped with her Starboard Tikhine iSUP, explores the exquisite coastline of Costa Rica and shares with us the amazing places she discovers along the road less travelled... and we all know the road less travelled is the most fun!
Words by Ciretta Wanderlust
"Costa Rica is a Central American state, crossed by rainforest, overlooking the Caribbean and the Pacific, known for its beaches, volcanoes and biodiversity. About a quarter of the surface consists of a protected jungle, in which many wild animals live. It is a country that I dreamed of visiting for years and years... and finally in August, in the company of a friend, I managed to make my dream come true.
Welcome to Costa Rica! It was a Friday, we boarded the plane for San Jose without a hitch as I'd packed my favorite Starboard gear for a trip like this (the inflatable Tikhine Sun 10'2 x 31 and an Enduro Tufskin 3-piece paddle) the perfect gear for any SUP explorer as it is so travel-friendly. We continued the journey by taxi towards Puntarenas (point of embarkation of the ferry to the Nicoya Peninsula) and arrived on the other coast in Paquera where we climbed aboard a local bus, traveling a little more than an hour along bumpy roads with poorly lit streets, we finally managed to reach Santa Teresa, the first stop on our Surf Trip.
Photos via: Ciretta Wanderlust
The waves and the fascinating panorama that we found when we woke up, were well worth the very long uncomfortable journey. Santa Teresa, now famous all over the world, for the endless and colorful sunsets, restaurants and small hotels, as well as for the large resorts with all the luxuries and comforts, is perfect for all types of surfers. Every day there are waves for beginners and advanced, along with all the beaches from Playa Carmen to Playa Lora and Playa Hermosa and all the South of the Nicoya Peninsula, it really offers a lot of places to explore.
Montezuma is one place that definitely deserves an excursion. Montezuma is famous for both its crystal clear waters and for its wonderful waterfall. The best way to discover the area is on an ATV, as they are easily rented in every corner of the country.
To continue our journey, we chose to rent a car (4x4) and we did it with the option of being able to return it directly to the San Jose airport. We did not have a precise travel plan, except that we knew that we wanted to reach Pavones, (the longest left in the world) before leaving the peninsula of Nicoya, so we decided to drive north, heading to Nosara, perhaps one of Costa Rica's most beautiful and authentic beaches, where we spent a couple of days.
Here the days began at sunrise and ended at sunset, no houses, buildings, or bars, as you'd come to expect at a typical tourist destination. Nothing could be seen from the water but miles and miles of pristine beach, palm trees and sand dunes behind the beaches. This is an incredible spot where one can paddle in the calm and flat waters of the lagoons, as well as small rivers that reach the sea or to ride the soft waves that roll in from the ocean onto the sandy beaches.
As already mentioned, Costa Rica is rich in nature and wild animals, so don't be surprised when passing over one of the many bridges you notice the familiar shapes of huge crocodiles or if over your heads butterflies of incredible size flutter. You can expect to see colorful parrots and toucans, or cute monkeys jumping around in an amused fashion, looking for your attention.
Photo via: Ciretta Wanderlust
Leaving the peninsula of Nicoya and traveling the Carretera Pacífica Fernández to the south of the country, we decided to stop a few kilometers after Quepos (skipping Jaco as we thought was too touristy and not very authentic) and spent a couple of days in a bamboo house among the green hills with panoramic sea view. Exploring the surroundings we noticed that in this area the beach shores became darker, sometimes very dark and the lush vegetation reaching almost right into the ocean, where waves would crash with a powerful and explosive beach break. This was the only destination we had in mind since we had left was Pavones, which meant driving for another 200 km. When we arrived, we discovered the earthly paradise, only a few kilometers from the Southerly border of Panama.
We arrived without any booking, which I advise against if the forecasts give a substantial swell on arrival, because Pavones a small beachfront community, inhabited only by local surf and fishing, turns into the heart of the country, with surfers coming from all over the world, often with reporters, photographers and cameramen. The town consists of only a few houses, low and wooden, interspersed with lots of nature, animals of a thousand colors, and smiling and hospitable locals simply enjoying life by spending their days in the water between surf and fishing. It's an enchanted place!
In the nearby Punta Banco I also realized one of my big dreams: to see the birth of 103 baby turtles and their run to the ocean. I really believe that paradise looks like Pavones, defined by everyone, and one of the best surf spots in the world.
The best surfing conditions in Costa Rica are between April and August, with many storms and favorable winds, which are better suited to the needs of advanced surfers. These are also the months of the rainy season, which means that there will be heavy showers once or twice a day. For us it was not a problem, the rain does not last long and does not significantly lower the outside temperature, even if it makes it more difficult to travel, because after every downpour the roads become muddy and difficult to travel.
Photos via: Ciretta Wanderlust
During our stay, we also reached Matapalo by boat, a place almost still unknown to tourism, where nature reigns supreme, whales blow and jump high into the air and the water becomes crystal clear, making the whole experience pristine and perfect. It was one of the best trips of my life and maybe the best one where I enjoyed my Starboard iGO Tikhine Paddleboard, which went back home with me to Italy without any problem, ready for the next adventure.
About Ciretta Wanderlust
Born in Rome, Valeria Circa is an Italian adventure blogger better known by her blogger alias "Ciretta Wanderlust". Traveling is her greatest passion and does it whenever possible, dedicating all her energies to exploring far and untouched places. Even if she's not traveling around the world, Valeria never sits still. She also loves the outdoors, nature and sports like Stand Up Paddling, always looking for new experiences with an unstoppable and constant desire for adrenaline!
For more Journeys, click HERE.