Costa RicaCosta Rica

Day 12: A Lazy Day in Playa Flamingo

Destination: Flamingo

Flamingo cliffsAfter a light breakfast at Flamingo Beach Resort's seaside restaurant, I hit the beach for an early morning walk. The clear blue waters were warm against my feet and legs. Today I wanted nothing more than to relax by the pool with a good book, and perhaps a cocktail or two.

I stopped by the hotel's tour desk where I was invited by the friendly staff to accompany them on a sunset cruise. I couldn't think of a better way to spend my last evening at the beach. Looking at underwater photos from their recent scuba trips, I lamented the fact that I wasn't a diver (a claustrophobic episode in Thailand assured me of that). The marine life around the Catalina Islands was amazing, and divers frequently swam alongside manta rays, sharks and vibrant parrot fish.

Flamingo beach homesI decided to wander Flamingo village on foot and, in less than an hour, had walked the entire length of the rocky peninsula. The hilltop mansions were amazing, tucked behind elaborately wrought gates and flourishing gardens. New developments were underway, mostly condominiums and vacation rentals. A small plaza held a pharmacy and bank, but otherwise Flamingo lacked a discernable town center.

Back at the hotel pool, a row of chaise lounges framed by palms beckoned me. Sunset cruise boatI swam up to the bar for a coconut shake and then promptly fell asleep in the warm Guanacaste sun. The resort attracted a mixture of young couples and families, and everyone was out at the pool or beach, enjoying the cool breezes and mild weather.

Later that afternoon, I met up with Paco at the Flamingo Marina for our sunset cruise around Potrero Bay. I joined travelers from a hotel in Playa Conchal, who had been shuttled to Flamingo for the evening excursion.

Flamingo sunsetA 54-foot dive boat escorted us around the tranquil waters of Potrero Bay. A group of us sat on the bow, taking in the sweeping view of Playas Penca and Prieta. The sky turned a brilliant orange just before the sun disappeared. Just like that, our hour-long sunset cruise had ended.

In celebration of my two-week journey, I treated myself to a fabulous seafood dinner. As the waiter cleared my plate from the white tablecloth, I thought of all I had seen and done during the last two weeks. My trip through the Gold Coast beaches was rich and wonderful and had, like that final sunset, seemed to pass with the blink of an eye.

Day 12: A Lazy Day in Playa Flamingo in Pictures