Day 34 - Quick Stop in Tamarindo
Back to the old stomping grounds of Tamarindo, after 10 years.
We ventured off from Nosara, on dirt roads heading north, to the town of Tamarindo. I had about an hour and a half in the car, with C-Boo already frustrated at me from the day, because I took up half the day to surf a left handed reef south of Nosara (which was amazing, and I scored 6-8 foot surf all morning ;) . I slowly and calmly reassured her that we had enough time to see Tamarindo, while I drove down the dirt roads filled with potholes, horses, lambs, and cows. We eventually made up, and decided to pulled into a great surf spot that I used to surf called "Playa Negra". This beach still had the same feelings and layout as before, with only one restaurant there. The North Gaunacaste Region was right in the middle of the dry season, there was little greenery, and much of the plains were dried up; they looked like our summers back home in Central California. It was a huge difference in landscape and jungle, from the Southern section of Costa Rica, which gets small amounts of rain even in the dry season.
Once leaving Negra, we hit a fresh smoothly paved 2 lane highway, which I had never seen before, that got us in to Tamarindo. It seemed like it took only a few minutes, after driving through poorly dirt roads for the last hour. While entering the town, we crossed through a small police checkpoint, passed multiple resorts and business plazas, and hundreds of cars and bikes coming and leaving the town. Tamarindo had a completely new face-lift since I'd been there, but it was still Tamarindo in my eyes. Yet money, locals, and even expats seemed to want to invest in some way, shape, or form to make a buck of each and every tourist. We drove very slowly through town, looking for our hotel, in awe at all the new structures; at the same time, I was trying not to hit people crossing the street in every direction. We found our small little hotel off the strip named "In the Shade", and setup camp for the night.
We decided to finally hit the town by foot, and grab some drinks while watching the sunset. Tamarindo's surf scene seemed bigger then ever, with surf shops on every corner. They were all trying to rent/sell everything from a grommet board (small surf board), all the way up to an SUP (stand up paddle board). It seemed hard to even choose a restaurant, because everyone had a happy hour special, and very expensive prices for food/drinks. I showed Christi the beautiful long stretch of beach that wraps all the way to "Playa Grande", and finally decided to choose a restaurant with a little bit of reggae music. We ordered two mixed drinks: vodka soda and a screwdriver. The waiter came back with tonic water, and what had seemed like a Sunny Delight drink with water. They were the worst drinks we'd ever had, with absolutely no alcohol. We said "no gracias" to any more drinks or food, because of the pricing, and took off on foot. Most people (tourists) in Tamarindo, at the time, seemed like prices weren't an issue for them, because of their limited time there; unlike us, who were still on a gnarly budget. We ended up walking through most of the main strip, checking prices on more drinks and food, but they were all the same.
We were so frustrated with our financial situation there, so we found a random liquor store, and decided on buying our own bottle of cheap Guaro. We walked back to our room, and continued our cheap path with dinner; hard boiled eggs w/ bread, slices of avocados, canned tuna, and a stiff cocktail of classic Costa Rican Guaro. Our room had a beautiful deck, where we watched the last bit of sunset, while listening to some howler monkeys. We felt like we were doing it right, by avoiding the town altogether! We ended the night with a game of "Rumy", some "Vampire Weekend" music (great for road trips too), and some toasts to our safety/travels thus far on our adventures. We were extremely happy to travel from the southern tip of Costa Rica, all the way up to the old and new town of Tamarindo, with minimal issues :) We ended up finishing all of the Guaro that night, and passed the fuck out.