Cahuita and other Caribbean beaches
Our days here are slow and lazy. We lay in the hammock, jen reads while i write. When we get to bored or too hot we walk down the street and plunge into the ocean with the handful of locals on the beach. We've been told by several sources that the primary reason we don't see more tourism here is the locals' view of the area. Cahuita and neighboring towns were settled by slaves who swam ashore after slave ships ran upon the reef. The african and caribbean influence has apparently never been accepted by local costa ricans and the entire region seems to be frowned upon. Apparently there is a great amount of racism towards these towns in the rest of the country. That starts rumors. Talk of safety concerns and drugs. Of violence and fear.
In reality this is a sleepy little town where locals are still getting used to tourists...whether they be costa rican or european. It's the type of town that's becoming harder and harder to find these days. Similar to tulum the first time we visited before they had electricity or bonaire before american dollars found their way there. The town moves at our kind of pace.
Don't get me wrong, we wont be settling down in cahuita, but it's hilarious to think about the warnings and threats we heard last year when telling others we planned to visit. No different than those we heard about mexico and el salvador. No different than anyone telling you to be careful or not go somewhere simply because they haven't experienced it. The irony isn't lost on us when our host, after talking about how safe he and his children have always been here- turns to us with a stare and asks "you drove through mexico? weren't there any problems??".
The whole world seems to work this way. Everyone is afraid of what they dont know. Instead of boarding a plane to go find out for themselves its simply too easy to accept public opinion or what you've heard on the news.
The things we don't like about cahuita are similar to those in any town. We cant actually see the ocean from our house (although we can hear it). We've spotted this little ramshackle hut between the road and the sea that probably has a horrific bug problem, no running water and a leaky roof (if theres a roof at all)...but if we could find out who to toss a few colones to in order to stay there we might have our perfect cahuita experience.
Things are also expensive. Costa rica expensive. Just like on the other side, prices seem the same as back in the US or even more. We were excited to buy produce from the back of the truck yesterday, but sad to hear how much he wanted for the items in our bag. Oh, mexico how you've jaded us.
We don't have our surfboards with us, so we are limited to bodysurfing and playing in the waves and we haven't yet gotten to snorkel because of a restriction on snorkeling in the park without a tour (and the tours haven't run for a few weeks).
The town is great and the people are friendly, but we cant help still feel a bit restricted by the rules, by the prices, and by our inability to explore. We finally hopped a bus south to puerto viejo in hopes of snorkeling. We walked the beaches there and then decided to rent bikes and pedal a few km south to the regions other beaches looking for better reef. The locals were out in force but we barely saw another tourist.
One we reached Punta Uva we chained up the bikes and walked out to the point to snorkel. Sadly, the visibility was quite poor and the wildlife was pretty disappointing. I will admit to our being pretty spoiled when it comes to snorkeling however... Regardless, it was nice to finally lay in the ocean and float for a few hours...our snorkeling bug has returned in full force!
We pedaled back more slowly than we came and stumbled upon our best food of the trip by far. A tiny roadside cart blaring reggae and serving up the jerk chicken we had hoped to find along the coast. Glad i got to enjoy it because it ended up being my last meal for 2 days.
Sadly, somewhere in between the jerk cart and getting off our bikes back in puerto viejo my battle with the flu (or whatever bug ive been fighting for a month) dealt me a third blow and took a turn for the worse.
We decided not to wait on the last bus back and hopped a taxi instead. I spent the last 2days in bed with a sheet pulled over my head. NOT the way i choose to spend time at the beach. In fact while i'd rather look on the upside- i'm truly quite miserable.
Tomorrow we head to town in hopes of catching the first bus back to san jose. At this point i cant imagine walking to the front gate, much less getting back to town, waiting on our bus and a tedious 4+ hour ride back.