After our few days inland in the vicinity of the Arenal volcano, we headed back to the west coast for some beach time. We drove for hours on twisty, unmarked roads, stopping for amazing food, until we came to Tamarindo, where our hotel was (the Capitan Suizo, highly recommended). Tamarindo is a funky little beach town, much like any funky little beach town. Lots of surf shops and souvenir shops. Nice restaurants (Noguis was my favorite) and even a Subway, which we managed to avoid. Lots of tourists, professional beach bums, and trust-fund dropouts. The town is very walkable, either on the beach side or the town side.
The town is in a cove, so the surf is nice but not rough. From the beach at our hotel, it was a short walk around the point of the cove to get to the ocean, which was much more dramatic. Here are a bunch of different beach shots:
(this was the first shot I took as we walked on the beach from the hotel)
(this was going around the point to the ocean side)
OK, now you're all sick of beach photos.
The hotel we stayed at also serves as an animal rehab/refuge. It takes in injured animals and nurses them back to health until they can be returned to the wild. At any time, there are several monkeys and other animals roaming around. Because most of them will be returned to the wild, the guests aren't allowed to play with or touch them. But there was one little monkey who was missing one eye and had a white ring on her tail, which made her unlikely to survive on her own, so the guests were allowed to play with her. There were also some playful raccoons around. There was one employee whose sole job it was to walk around all day holding the rescued baby monkeys.
I played with the little monkey once while the boys were off having surfing lessons. She sat on my lap and wanted a tummy rub, but then decided that she wanted to play with my glasses. Cheeky monkey. Later on, she played with Sr. Jr. and the littlest raccoon ("Poco") at the same time:
One day, the medium sized raccoon climbed up in my lap, like a cat. He got a few pets, then started purring and curled up next to me for a little nap:
We were treated to great views of a roving pack of monkeys one day as we were standing in front of the hotel. There were 20 to 30 of them, moving through the trees and across the street on specially-constructed monkey bridges:
There were other cute creatures around, too, like the sugar-stealing jays:
and variegated squirrels! These were so cute. I seriously wanted to smuggle some home to start a colony here.
By dinner time on the very last day there, the sore throat that I'd been ignoring turned into a full-blown throat infection. Luckily, we were able to see a doctor and get to a pharmacy before it closed. I shudder to think what it would have been like to fly even sicker than I was. And I'm glad that it held off until the very end of the vacation.
We had an amazing time. The boys loved it, we loved it.