My first week in Costa Rica is coming to a close and what a memorable week it has been. From the initial five-hour journey out to the pacific coast from San Jose, to sitting here in a sports bar in Samara. I have enjoyed and embraced every moment.
For sure, there has been some adjusting to do. Lewis took a couple of days to find his sleeping pattern and we have both suffered from the heat with some sunburn, we certainly underestimated the tropical climate of Costa Rica. The early hours of the afternoon can get intense and you must be fully prepared when venturing out. The thunderstorms roll in like clockwork each afternoon but we have welcomed them with open arms as the quick downpour helps the place cool down a little and give some relief from the humidity.
When I consider the long wait I had from initially booking my flight to arriving at San Jose airport, it seems unbelievable to think a week has past already. The wait leading up to this adventure was so great, I doubt I’ll ever experience anticipation like it again. Nor will I have the flexibility or freedom to plan an opportunity like this again. I consider being able to pack up and leave with little consequence a luxury and one which will not last forever.
Whilst adjusting to life here in Samara, we took the first few days quite slowly being cautious not to over exert ourselves. We have visited the beach often and I have begun surfing again, something which I have missed a lot over the last couple of years. I was also quite shocked and appreciative of how tight-knit the community is here in Samara. Everybody knows everybody and there is a real sense of community here. Its rare to find a place like this, before long you find yourself very much apart of the town, immersed in the lifestyle.
Once we found our feet we began to explore, discovering places which typified the culture of Samara perfectly. We saddled up and took to the peddles, meandering around the dusty roads of samara familiarising ourselves with what this quaint town has to offer. Upon our travels we stumbled across many landmarks which helped us create a mental image of the town. Whilst being small in size Samara has plenty to offer including a gym and a neat organic shop selling delicious and creative smoothies.
Our apartment could not be better located. We are just on the outskirts of town a mere two-minute cycle from the beach front. Whilst not being glamorous our apartment is comfortable, clean and possesses a traditional Costa Rican homely feel. Friendly neighbours and Wi-Fi means complaints are few and far between. Our landlady, Mayela, has been most welcoming. One story I recall which portrays her generosity and all round kind spirit takes place a couple of night prior to this post. A particularly nasty storm rolled in whilst I was taking a late afternoon siesta when we lost power. Me and Lewis were going to make a break for it in the downpour to get some dinner when Mayela offered to drive us to a local soda. The first place we tried was closed due to the power being down and it was a similar story at the next two places we tried. But Mayela persisted to try place after place, ringing around to see where might be open. We finally found a restaurant no more than two-hundred yards from our apartment which was open amidst the power shortage. Never have I seen anything like it, the room was lit by candle and the chefs were cooking under torch light with no more than an open grill to cook with. What a memorable night.
This little insight sums up the lifestyle here, everybody shares a similar happiness and all round good ambiance, despite the weather and the power shortage the locals keep their pura vida mentality. I am settling in comfortably and Costa Rica is living up to be everything I wanted it to be and more. It is easy to see why Costa Rica is known as the happiest country in the world. I am looking forward to the weeks and months ahead but enjoying each and every day, appreciating my surroundings and embracing the exciting experiences which come my way. Samara radiates good vibes to everybody who passes through. In the coming weeks I will be posting specifically about the incredible food here in Samara, the activities I get up to and general reflections on my time here.