Costa RicaCosta Rica

Day 4: Journey to Playa Langosta

Destination: Tamarindo

beachfront villa alegreToday, we were headed for the Pacific coast -- Tamarindo and Langosta, to be precise. We waited for Interbus, one of Costa Rica's private transfer companies, at a restaurant near the international airport. I had never traveled with them before, but was looking forward to their door-to-door service. The shuttle would carry us directly to Playa Langosta's Villa Alegre.

To my surprise, our driver walked into the restaurant a full 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Costa Rica often follows "island time" (despite its not being an island), so I now appreciate punctuality more than ever. He told us to take our time, but we were anxious to get on the road.

mexico: the honeymoon suiteThe five-hour journey to Tamarindo was mostly uneventful, except for a rest stop at a small restaurant. Climbing out of the vehicle, we were greeted by the sounds of squawking macaws. I saw at least ten red macaws and one blue in the towering trees above. They were obviously accustomed to humans -- four sociable birds flew down to where we were standing -- but it was an incredible sight nonetheless. In Costa Rica, the best places to view these vibrant birds are in Carara National Park and the Osa Peninsula, so this was a special treat.

We arrived at Villa Alegre just after 1:00 p.m. Barry, one of the bed and breakfast's owners, welcomed us at the door. Ushering us into his beautiful home, he offered iced herbal tea and a comfortable place to sit.

playa langosta is studded with volcanic rockBarry showed us the veranda, where we would eat breakfast, the swimming pool, and the short gravel path that led to the ocean. A bench sat on a bluff, overlooking the Pacific, and I couldn't wait to take a peek. He took us to the honeymoon suite, a beautiful room decorated with souvenirs and textiles that he and his wife, Suzye, had collected during their travels through Mexico. An outdoor bathroom was connected to our room, and I was excited to shower beneath the stars.

We walked down to an Italian-owned shop, where we ordered delicious hoagies on fresh baguettes loaded with prosciutto, mozzarella, lettuce and tomato. After lunch, we strolled along Playa Langosta, a lovely stretch of sand studded with remnants of volcanic rock.

pelicans at sunsetThe black rock expanses trapped shells in their nooks and crannies, so I began looking for specimens to add to my collection. Fabian waded into the sea, body surfing the gentle waves. I retired to the shade of some beach almond trees, where I wiled the afternoon away with a good book.

We returned to Villa Alegre for the sunset, and positioned ourselves on the beachfront bench. Flocks of pelicans flew back and forth, their bodies parallel to the ocean, often swooping down to catch a fish. As the sun began its descent, the clear sky melted first into peach and then to brighter hues. The golden orb, which seemed close enough to touch, began to burn into orange. The effect was incredible -- like the sky had caught fire -- and I knew I would always remember this night.

Day 4: Journey to Playa Langosta in Pictures