Costa RicaCosta Rica

Rainy days are here again

Destination: Puerto Viejo

Waking up to the sound of rain pitter-pattering on the roof is calming. The rain is intermittent and we take advantage of a break in the rain to load the car and go to breakfast.

Coffee, fruit, granola and made to order eggs are available for breakfast. Fresh, delicious whole wheat bread and a cup of coffee suits me fine, as I am anxious to get to the beach, hoping it will clear up.

But no. As the sky darkens, lifeguards are posting red warning flags, which means no swimming. There will be no sun bathing either, for me today. Currents are strong, waves are crashing and no more than a few brave surfers venture out into the water. Only the barn swallows migrating north seem undeterred by the rain. Even the streets of Puerto Viejo are empty.

The rain makes it a good day for driving around the area. Except for a few small towns between Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo (Playa Cocles & Playa Chiquita), there is little development. Red hibiscus and ornamental gingers line the dirt road. Thick vegetation begins immediately beyond the roadside, and is teeming with wildlife. Keel-billed toucans, Montezuma Oropendolas and hummingbirds are all easily spotted from the dry safety of the car.

It only takes about 25 minutes to drive south to Manzanillo. The road ends here in the small town where the Gandoca- Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and the town co-exist. The Town actually lies within the parks boundary. It is a small town with a few restaurants, stores and residences.

There is a trail that goes south along the beach, crosses a stream and on toward Punta Mona. I am told that this trail is usually very muddy and can be slow going. There are also paths leading off from here that go to distant Indian Villages. Don't make any wrong turns or you might find yourself visiting one of the native villages, uninvited.

The waves are flat here in Manzanillo and its pouring. We venture back through Puerto Viejo to Cahuita (about 25 minutes north of Puerto Viejo), where we eat lunch as Sobre Las Olas, a nice seafood restaurant offering Caribbean style seafood, pasta and meats. They serve delicious food, but at a premium price.

It is time to check in at Cabinas Guarana. Friendly staff greets us as we walk in the door and immediately, we feel welcome. Centrally located in Puerto Viejo, Cabinas Guarana has plenty of palm trees and thatched roofs and greenery offering privacy from the street. Narrow walks lead you through a maze of cabinas. The rooms here feature excellent ceiling fans, private baths, hot water and nice, decorative artwork. Brightly painted, the cabinas make even a dull, rainy day seem bright.

The rainy night calls for an evening indoors. I am glad I packed cards. A few games of rummy and the lull of the ceiling fan make for an early evening to bed. Comfy mattresses and nice sheets will make for a good nights sleep.

Rainy days are here again in Pictures