Sunday 11 May 2014

The Road Trip: Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula

Costa Rica is probably one of the last places you’d dream of embarking on a road trip holiday, but after weeks of major indecision on whether to do a beach break, tropical rainforest adventure or five-star “no thinking required” resort vacation, my boyfriend and I decided to do all of the above.

Despite an abundance of bumpy, rocky winding roads, it is actually the perfect place for a road trip. We picked up our car at the airport in San Jose and decided to head to the Nicoya Peninsula (vowing to explore the Caribbean and more southern region of the country on a future trip).

A short drive from the ferry terminal and you’ll find a cluster of small towns with amazing surf and an incredible, relaxed vibe. A few days in Montezuma, Mal País, and Santa Teresa and you can see why the people who live here have the bodies they do: if you spent as much time surfing and doing yoga (with some lounge breaks in between) as they do, you’d have rock-hard abs too.

Other ferry systems may be more organized, but can you get a beer and plantain chips on the upper decks and watch ‘Ticos’ (as Costa Ricans call themselves) dance and flirt with each other.

Our first glimpse of paradise on the Nicoya Peninsula...

Healthy eating in Montezuma

Surf's up!

Playa Santa Teresa: where epic sunsets, hot surfers, and miles of white sand come together. Can you blame us for not wanting to leave?

Ever driven on a beach?

Small towns such as this one are a frequent sight when driving through Costa Rica. We loved how colorful the country was: nestled amongst all the lush greenery were rows of houses painted vibrant reds, blues, yellows and pinks.

We eventually made our way to Monteverde, a major eco-tourism destination in the Puntarenas region of Costa Rica. The town, which has a friendly, backpacker vibe and a cooler climate than the Nicoya Peninsula, draws plenty of naturalists and tourists thanks to its proximity to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

We saw plenty of animals during our holiday, from cattle and possums in the cloud forest at night to baby turtles making their way by moonlight toward the ocean near Playa Grande.

One of the best parts of a road trip is the chance to stop at fruit stands along the way, many of which sell fruits we had never seen or tried before. Those round, purple fruits are star apples (“caimito” in Spanish) and have a whitish-purple colored fruit that is incredibly sweet and juicy.

Until next time, Costa Rica!

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