Monday, August 26, 2013
Monday we woke realizing that we were nearing the end of our stay in Cabuya and needed to cram in any last minute activities, and yet we were somewhat at a loss of what to do.
Early on in the trip, Bryce had wanted to visit the Reserva Natural Absoluta Cabo Blanco, located no more than a mile down from us on the southern tip of the peninsula. There were a few natural reserves in Costa Rica and they were no more than areas of protected wilderness that were more likely to contain interesting wildlife and foliage.
I wanted to leave this activity to do towards the end of the trip on Monday or Tuesday in case there were other more interesting activities we wanted to pursue instead and might not have time for. I figured we were already surrounded by a beautiful wilderness, so taking a hike through a protected wilderness couldn’t be that much different than what we had already seen during the endless hours of driving throughout Costa Rica.
Unfortunately, we realized Sunday night that the natural reserve was not open Monday or Tuesday and we were leaving Cabuya Wednesday morning to drive back to San Jose, so we would have to miss this activity altogether.
With that activity no longer possible we decided to try zip lining with the same tour company that hosted our snorkeling trip. The night before we were departed from the tour company for our snorkeling trip we had inquired about the zip line tours and they told us that the zip line tours started at the same time, 8:45 am.
We got an early start again on Monday morning and at 8:45 am we were in Montezuma ready to go for our zip line tour, only to be told that we should have made a reservation because they had no one else going and did not want to schedule a last-minute trip.
Instead, we made a reservation for 3 pm that day and decided that we had yet to really enjoy Playa Montezuma, or any beach for that matter, so we relaxed on the sandy beach underneath a shady palm tree all morning until lunch time. Bryce took the opportunity to read while I watched several locals surfing and playing on the beach.
For lunch, we dined at a restaurant with another great location right on the beach called El Sano Banano. This restaurant had an extensive food and drink menu with the most food options we had seen yet at a Costa Rican restaurant. Bryce and I both settled on chicken wraps and tropical cocktails.
After lunch we decided we had had enough time on the beach and retreated back to Casa Astrid for a while until it was time for our zip line tour. Although most of our morning had been filled with sunshine as we relaxed on Playa Montezuma, by the time we returned to Casa Astrid, a small afternoon shower had made its way to the area and we were glad to be dry inside Casa Astrid.
With perfect timing, the short afternoon rain storm stopped in time for our zip line tour at 3 pm. We met with the tour company in Montezuma and they drove us up a steep hill right outside the town where the zip lining took place.
Once we were suited up in harnesses, helmets, and thick gloves, we were on our way to a series of six zip lines, accompanied by two tour guides and a small family of four. The first couple of zip lines were uneventful and just took us through thick jungle. Another longer zip line took us to a midway stopping point at a waterfall.
There was a long walk down to the waterfall, which coincidentally was the second waterfall we could have continued to hike up to on the first day that we visited the waterfalls outside Montezuma. This waterfall was not as tall as the waterfall we had previously seen and it was more reasonable to swim in.
The tour guides let us know it was also safe to jump from this waterfall to the pool below, so the two teenage boys from the family we were doing the zip line tour with did not hesitate to strip their shirts and jump from the waterfall the moment they got there. They were proceeded soon after by Bryce and not so soon after by me.
I stood at the ledge contemplating the jump, knowing that this brief moment of thought would only cause me to reconsider, which is exactly what happened. I retreated back to my backpack where I took some sips of a margarita drink I had contained in my water bottle and hoped that it would fill me with some confidence, but still, with no feelings of bravery, I stood again at the ledge waiting to jump.
I finally plunged into the brown pool of water below, relieved to have gotten that jump over with and to have landed it safely. Bryce jumped again off the waterfall and also off a rope swing located below before we all gathered up again to finish our zip line tour.
Because we had hiked down to the waterfalls, we had a long hike back up to the zip line platform which wasn’t the same one we left off, but a different one that was even higher up in the jungle. This particular zip line platform was the most scenic, as it contained a break in the trees with a perfect view of the ocean and coastline.
The very last zip line we did was the longest and most fun. It took us through thick jungle and crossed over an upper portion of the river that fed into the waterfall. While I was too nervous to take my hands off the zip line ride, one our tour guides very confidently snagged our camera, took our picture and jetted off to record a video of the entire zip line ride.
After returning to Casa Astrid and cleaning up from our zip line tour, we decided to take advantage of this last opportunity to eat out by dining at the fancy restaurant we had eyed on the first day in Montezuma, for we knew our next and last day in Cabuya would be spent fishing and we would likely catch plenty of fish to cook at home for our last couple of meals.
That night, dressed up all spiffy, we dined at Playa de los Artistas. It was already dark by the time we were ready for dinner, and although this restaurant may have been best viewed just before sunset so you could see the ocean, it was still incredibly romantic to see at night. The entire outside seating area was only lit by candlelight, except for a few seating options under a patio. To add to the wonderful vibe, a rain storm still lingered in the eastern horizon and we were able to watch the lightning dance around in the clouds in the distance.
According to reviews, their exotic menu changes often and because of this, it is handwritten out. A lady came over to show us the menu and because it was exotic food items listed in Spanish and they knew that two tourists were not going to understand it, the lady stayed and described every item to us in her thick accent.
Even after having everything described to us, all the items still sounded foreign and it was not easy knowing what to choose. We ended up choosing two fish options to share, one with pesto sauce and the other accompanied by buffalo mozzarella cheese. The dishes were amazing, but did not come with anything but a few slices of bread, so naturally this left a girl like me, that has quite an appetite, still hungry.
After dining at Playa de los Artistas, we headed into the bustling “downtown” area of Montezuma. On our way to the ATM earlier, we heard live music at one of the restaurants in town, and since the night was still young, we thought this would be a great way to enjoy one of our last nights on the peninsula. We had a couple of drinks and relaxed at Cafe Organico listening to some incredible, impromptu performances sung by locals and even some tourists.
It felt like a bittersweet preliminary goodbye to Costa Rica that night. It had taken us several days to get to this point and enjoy Costa Rica in the raw like this, the way the locals do, and it was sad that we would soon have to leave all of this.
The drive home that night, in typical Costa Rica fashion, was not without excitement.
We were enjoying the Costa Rican air with the windows rolled down when my peace was interrupted by, what felt like, a large insect flying into my hair. I provided Bryce with some lively entertainment for the next 10 minutes or so as I fidgeted about in the passenger seat, insisting that, in the darkness of the night, this bug might still be crawling in the car, or worse, in my hair still. Bryce thought I was crazy and just turned up the radio to cover up my restlessness.
Just when I had finally calmed down and convinced myself that maybe the bug had flown out the window just as quickly as it had flown in my hair, I could swear I felt something lightly tickle my foot. This time, knowing that the bug might be still hiding in the darkness of the vehicle – on my side at that – I began smacking my hands around at my feet and at the air. Even though I couldn’t see the possibly-imaginary bug, I hoped he could see me and prayed he would just stay away from my crazy, flailing arms long enough for us to reach Casa Astrid, another 15 minutes away. There, at Casa Astrid, I at least knew what crazy bugs were crawling around. I had no idea what was crawling around in Mr. Jimny.
This flailing arm maneuver apparently didn’t do the trick because only a few minutes later I felt the bug on my feet again and this time, knowing for certain it wasn’t just my imagination or paranoia, I unbuckled my seatbelt, crouched up on my seat, and demanded that Bryce stop the vehicle so we could track down this bug and remove him. With the car lights on I could see the large insect on the floor mat on my side. It was nothing more than an oversized, bright green grasshopper, but nonetheless, frightening in the dark. I made Bryce shoo him out of our ride and on we went, this time peacefully and with the windows rolled up.
After we returned home that night, Bryce opened the back doors and was going to relax outside and read until I discovered yet another large grasshopper, brown this time, crawling on our wall outside and I put a quick end to our evening outside.
Just as we were about to go to bed that night, one of our neighbors, who we had already met on our first day there at Casa Astrid, stopped by. He owned a small business two houses down, which offered fishing and snorkeling tours, and on the first day at the beach house, he came over and offered his services to us.
Bryce had stopped by earlier in the day to talk to Jose about doing a fishing trip the next day, which would be our last day there. Jose and Bryce had agreed upon noon as the time for our trip and we were looking forward to finally being able to sleep in late on our honeymoon until Jose came over late that night letting us know that doing the trip early in the morning at 6 am would be the best option to avoid potential afternoon storms spoiling our trip. With forced smiles on our faces, we replied that that would be great and we looked forwarding to fishing with him in the morning.