The Southern Nicoya Peninsula

With our long drive of the day before having done nothing for the batteries, we decided to drive a short way around to the other side of the bay we were stopping at and check out another spot which would have sun. A fresh water river runs this side of the beach too, which is definitely a bonus. Neither had any signal however, I guess you can’t have everything. We found a good level spot in the sun and ran into the river to cool off. The cats played with lizards in the long grass next to us and a friendly local brought us free oranges. We had been saying for some time how nice it would be to find a good free beach spot and just spend the week there, it looked like this could be the one. 

Due to the lack of signal, we headed back into town for some wifi, this means that we needed to visit a bar. Another great hardship! While a little on the expensive side, we couldn’t resist some of their rather amazing sounding food; Mexican tacos and a smoked tuna tostada. 

Back at camp it was time to try and figure out what was going on with our battery charger. Rather than charge, the unit went straight into absorption, meaning our five hour drive had achieved basically nothing in terms of charging. A check of the wires revealed an incredibly high resistance on the earth circuit. It appears that our kill switches were doing their job a little too well. After a rather fiddly swap, we ran the engine, fingers crossed. At this time of year with the low sun, we really needed our battery charging to be working too. It seemed we were in luck, the charger sat in bulk mode. For once, something was an easy fix! 

We had been told by many people that Costa Rica is full of micro breweries, they weren’t wrong. Even in this area town, there were two. Naturally, we must compare and we started with La Selva, in the town of Cabuya. Their brewery was run out of a container, and did have some rather nice, if expensive, beers. We sat on some rustic table in their garden and enjoyed a couple. Still in search of signal,  Lee went hunting for a Movistar sim card with no luck. 

Before we headed back to our base, we decided to check the driveshaft problem. Ever since Honduras, where it had fallen off while driving, the driveshaft bolts have been systematically loosening themselves. We had a few near repeats of the first incident. The road back from Cabuya is decent enough, but it’s a dirt road. Lee announced one of the bolts looked loose and on closer inspection it turned out that not only all of the bolts were loose, but the rear arm was also about to fall off. 

This led to some impromptu car park repairs and perhaps explained why the driveshaft bolts kept falling out. We had bought some new bolts after the first time had wrecked several when it ripped them out of the gearbox, but we hadn’t got good ones. These cheap bolts snapped at every opportunity and we drove around in true Central American style, with several of them missing. Another problem to add to this list. Still, at least we had caught the problem before it became significantly bigger. Now covered in dust and grease we arrived back at the river and were very grateful to be available to have a proper wash off. 

There were a few other things to do in the area. It’s also possible to hike to a pretty waterfall, and for once it’s free. After that it seemed like a good idea to visit the last microbrewery, located up a ridiculously steep hill. 

Now, the others had caught up with us and we enjoyed a few campfires on the beach. The wood was dry and in abundance and the sky bright with stars, it was enough to make us realised how we had missed a good campfire through the rainy season. 

 Not only was there a lot of birds here, but also the usual mice and lizards. Lizze developed a habit of catching lizards and releasing them into the camper. It wasn’t ideal, but they were normally pretty stunned and easy to catch. Aimee took it one step further, and released a live mouse into our bed in the small hours of the morning. Something they also both enjoyed was tormenting the hundreds of hermit crabs that covered the beach, they were having a great time. 

Our friends moved on, but we decided to stay an extra few days, we were enjoying this spot so much. The locals were very friendly and we were starting to recognise the regular fishermen that frequented this spot every night. One of whom fed Lizzie sardines from his catch. We also met another Volkswagen owner who was incredibly excited to see us.

Despite not having any signal, we found a local restaurant with wifi which was a short cycle ride away. The first day the owner walked around between the table clutching a giant iguana by the neck and slapping it on the belly. On our return, he emerged from the kitchen to show us his giant catch, this mahi mahi fish is one of my favourites. 

Finally, we headed down to Cabuya island whose main purpose serves as a small cemetery. Only accessible during low tide, we parked up on the shore and walked across the rocks to the entrance. 

The graves here are mostly raised tombs, perhaps due to the water level. It was a pretty tranquil place and I can imagine why some people would want this to be their final resting place. Nothing but the swish of the palm trees and the gentle lapping of the waves against the rocks. 

As we made our way back, we stopped off at this giant ficus tree for an obligatory picture. 

We had spent a week here on this gorgeous beach spot and now it was time to move on. In order to avoid the long drive back round the peninsula to the mainland, it is possible to take a ferry. We booked our tickets for the following day and that evening were joined on our spot by another camper. We had a rather nice impromptu evening as we sat around the fire and chatted to them. A man turned up on the beach selling bread and we cobbled together a meal and finished it off with some toasted marshmallows. Sometimes the simply and unplanned things are the best and it was a great end to our lovely beach spot.

Our final night on the peninsula was spent at another beach closer to the ferry port. Playa Organos was a rather convenient pitstop, and it wasn’t a bad view either. We really had missed free beach camping.

There would be plenty more to come, we weren’t done with Costa Rica’s pacific coast yet. The following morning we headed out of the beach, boarded the ferry and set off for the mainland. 

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