After a couple of weeks of uncertainty, making the decision to return to Costa Rica has proved the right choice. As mentioned in my previous posts, it wasn’t the lack of options which obstructed me. I simply could not decide what my best option was. Rest assured, I am delighted now to be back in a country I have so much admiration for and still a profuse amount of places to explore.
I have made my way to Santa Teresa, which is again on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica on the Nicoya Peninsula. I find myself about an hour south of Playa Samara where I was the first time round. Whilst there, many people expressed their enthusiasm towards Santa Teresa, so it came as an obvious choice as my next destination. At this stage I am travelling solo since Lewis has now returned to the UK. This will make for a different experience all together. Travelling alone allows me to fully immerse myself into a place and culture, with no room to rely on the comfort of having a partner. I think this should make for more of an adventure and allow me to meet more new people.
I arrived back in Costa Rica at San Jose airport on Friday the 5th of August and I was hoping to make my way straight to Santa Teresa. However, after a tedious customs process, any chance of making the six hour trip had diminished. I stayed the night in Alajuela, a suburb of San Jose, and booked a shuttle to Santa Teresa for the following day. Twenty-four hours later I arrived in the coastal little town. Upon arriving to my hotel I was quickly informed about the famous sunset which was about to take place. If I made my way to the beach quick enough I could catch it, so without hesitation I headed for it. Only about three hundred yards from where I was staying, the beach was relatively busy with a combination of locals and tourists both hoping to capture the majestic sunset. Never had I seen such a magnificent nightfall. The falling suns warmth and the ocean sound of the waves crashing onto the shore made for a truly beautiful first evening. The appreciation was shared, a community of people from across the globe, together to witness something special. It was then I realised what a tranquil and extraordinary place I had arrived in.
Sunset in Santa Teresa – at the early late-afternoon time of 5.30pm.
Day 2 – another beautiful nightfall in Santa Teresa.
After this warm welcome it did not take long for me to fall in love with Santa Teresa. The people here all share a similar enthusiasm towards the value of community. There are many European expats in this town, all who are looking to – and to much success – find their paradise. Santa Teresa reminds me of Playa Samara in some ways, for it is another coastal small town with a laidback pura vida lifestyle. However, it is clear to see the difference in the two communities. These places are small and family oriented and the families have a direct impact on their communities. Each town has its unique values and for that reason it is hard to compare the two. They are each wonderful places in their own right.
Some of my favourite images I have captured in Costa Rica.
My greatest way to portray the focus on family spirit and friendship is through the exemplary family at Hotel Tico Lindo. The love, hospitality and care I have been shown here is extraordinary. They possess a true love to serve the needs of others, with passion and integrity at the forefront of their work. For they do not view it as work, they are truly passionate about their hotel and serving others, it is a lifestyle to them. An instant rapport was built as I began to get to know the small welcoming family.
Gemma and Jonathan are the couple behind the Hotel. A devoted couple set on constantly bettering their hotel and their guests experience. Jonathan, a Costa Rican native, told me how on particularly difficult or challenging days, he would read through the hotels handbook where guests leave their thoughts. This is what drives him, this is what makes him happy. He finds fulfilment and enjoyment in pleasing and caring for others, knowing he has pleased and surpassed a guests expectations is what pleases him. I doubt I will ever experience such hospitality anywhere again, and it comes as no surprise to find it in Costa Rica. A country known for its beautiful beaches and scenery, but it is the people which have truly captured my approbation for the place.
Culinary Excellence – Part of banquet which left me speechless.
I have only been in Santa Teresa for a couple of days now and I am excited to spend the coming days exploring the place. Ultimately, I do not know how long I will be in Santa Teresa for, let alone how long I will be in Costa Rica. I have a couple of opportunities I hope to pursue which present the chance to stay here in Costa Rica for a longer period of time. The uncertainty of life at the moment no longer daunts me, this time last week I had no idea where I would be today. It is a time in my life I will certainly never forget.
The belated post about my time in Florida will follow shortly, but first I wanted to express my current thoughts on returning to Costa Rica. Below are a few more of the images from my first couple of days back and for the latest photos and updates on my travels feel free to checkout my Instagram – beyondthepalms.
A shot from the ferry necessary to reach Santa Teresa.
‘We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls’
– Anais Nin