Costa RicaCosta Rica

Fresh Bread Starts the Morning off Right

Destination: Cahuita

It's a shame I'm not more of a sleeper -- it would have been so nice to pass the cloudy morning in the comfort of my king size bed in an air conditioned, dark room.

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But, I'm not, and the clouds are moving out so I'm up and out the door.

La Diosa has a short trial that leads from their pool area over a coastal wetland to the rocky shore along the coast. Several benches are creatively placed and the draw of the ocean breeze demands that I sit for a while. The ocean really churns out in front of the hotel from all the underlying coral reef. Definitely not a swimming beach, but incredibly beautiful for sitting and thinking.

La Diosa is a B&B, serving breakfast to their guests everyday from 8-10am. Made to order eggs and European bread, jam, fresh fruit and coffee are part of the package. There is a relaxing pool and a small open-air restaurant where local tour information and books can be found. La Diosa can book all types of Cahuita tours from horseback riding to snorkeling.

One of the most notable aspects of the La Diosa is the abundance of freshwater spigots scattered throughout the property to wash your feet before entering your room, both to keep your room clean and to save the drains. Another is the fresh European bread they serve with their breakfasts.

The Cahuita Butterfly Garden is on my morning agenda. The big dog that lives there greets me and I ring the bell to call the attention of the employee. They have 15 species of butterfly living in the netted garden. Educational posters line the entry corridor and serve as your only guide through the garden. A variety of flowering plants attract the butterflies to the paths, while others flutter away towards the ceiling. If seeing butterflies up close is your goal, the Cahuita Butterfly Garden is worth a short visit.

Down in Playa Cocles, there are several amazing local surfers who surf the beach break. They ride the powerful, fast waves with precision, while providing entertainment for the beach goers on shore or who dare not pass the last breaker. Lifeguards marked the beach this morning with red flags, and they will alert and call into shore anyone who tries to go out too far.

On my way to Manzanillo to snap a few pictures, I picked up a local woman returning home to Manzanillo from work. Apparently, with the schools on vacation, buses do not travel between Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo with as much frequency as during the school year and it's a long way to walk. We have a candid discussion about the horrible condition of the roads and where the money went that the community had to fix them. The drive passes more quickly with conversation. Plus, I love to practice my Spanish.

I hurry back to Kaya's Place to meet my friend Sarah for an afternoon beach walk with her dogs. The black sand beach in front of the hotel is one of the blackest beaches I have ever seen. It's so black it appears purple sometimes. Pictures do not capture its true color.

There are storm clouds on the horizon, a light mist is falling and a pleasing ocean breeze blows. We walk for a while, enjoying to coolness that clouds and mist have to offer, then return to the hotel just before the downpour begins.

Again, I find myself at one of Puerto Viejo's best locations. Not only because the Kaya's Place is beachfront and there is a bar and restaurant and a comfy lounging atmosphere, but also because of the people. Good people tend to congregate here, both guests and hotel employees. JT and Sarah have fostered a real treasure.

I always hear stories of people who came to stay for a few days and ended up staying for months. I can see how this can happen. Why on earth would you want to leave such a beautiful, warm place. I'm already thinking of how I can stay longer too.

Anyway, I pass the early evening at the bar chatting with guests and friends. In an effort to expand the restaurant's facilities, some folks are experimenting with recipes they might like to put on the new menu. Quite possibly the BEST coconut shrimp I have ever had are served and voraciously eaten by about 6 of us at the bar. Needless to say, I vote for the coconut, macadamia shrimp. Can I have the recipe?

I head out to dinner, (the shrimp were an appetizer) to Cafe Viejo where I hear they have great food. Well, great food or not, the service sucked. The servers were downright rude from the first moment I walked in the door and when I ordered my meal or asked for more water, it was like I was inconveniencing my waitress. I even had to get up and collect my own change on the way out the door; no thank you or anything.

Plus, the pizza was just OK. I ordered an Italian sausage and mushroom pizza and there were about 5 little pieces of sausage to be found on the entire pizza. At least they used fresh mushrooms. There are too many good restaurants in Puerto Viejo with friendly service that Cafe Viejo just moved to the back of my list.

The evening passes quietly and jovially back at Kaya's Place. It's quiet there and it's just a few of us enjoying the rainy, cool evening while the sound of the waves softly echo in the background. NICE!

Fresh Bread Starts the Morning off Right in Pictures

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