It's a creekmore world

Costa Rica Day 2: The magic beach and mystery cave

Our home for the next few days is Uvita a small town on the Pacific side only a few hundred miles from Panama.

It’s not yet developed like the rest of the Pacific Coast.

The waves aren’t the highest, the jungles aren’t the densest and the beaches aren’t the whitest.  But it’s still amazingly beautiful and it’s not so crowded even on Holy/ Easter Week, which is peak season.

Ballena National Park

Uvita is the home of a large marine park, Ballena or Whale National Marine Park.  This area sees two migrations of humpback whales every year, although sadly we are in between migrations and won’t see any.

Ballena isn’t great for snorkeling because there is a long sandy bottom that gets very churned-up in the waves making visibility poor.

I talked to a dive operator about doing a scuba dive with Emma and Lily, and they would do it except they don’t have gear that small.  We will have to wait to do our first Scuba dive as a family…

Ballena park in Uvita also, coincidentally, has a ‘whale tale’ beach formation.  It makes for a nice semi protected bay for good beginner surfing. And that’s the main reason we are here in Uvita – to surf for four days!

La Cusinga

There are many choices for accommodation in Uvita, but most are small motels and a few adult-only lodges.  La Cusinga is an eco-lodge, which can be meaningless in Costa Rica because everything is called an eco lodge/green hotel.  But this one goes to great lengths to preserve water, grow their own food, separate trash and use solar panels for electricity.

The location is amazing.  The eating area and observation deck overlooks the entire Bellena Marine park and is situated right at the canopy of the forest.  One of the guests said they saw more birds here at lunch than they did on a two hour birding tour of the area.

The birds and howler monkeys bark, crow and chirp non-stop.   The cow from whom they get all their milk moos in the background.  And you can hear the surf crashing on the rocks below.

The food is simple and hearty.  I ask for hot sauce and get a container of pickled vegetables with dozens of floating habaneros in sweet lime juice.  It’s completely addictive.

My only complaint is the beverages.  Coffee is instant and weak  (reminds me of the Woody Allen joke about airplane food “It’s terrible, and the portions are so small.”)  And you can’t buy sodas or beers or anything.

The magic beach and mystery cave

La Cusinga has several hiking trails up and down the steep coastal point it is situated.  After a dip in the swimming hole which we had to ourselves again, we head down to the private beach.

It’s a short walk, which would be treacherous in rain because of the mud, tree roots and steep grade, but we are in the dry season and it’s relatively simple.

You can’t swim at the beach because of the strong rip tides, but it’s a magnificent beach that reminds me of every ‘washed-ashore’ movie I’ve ever seen.

The sands are covered in hermit crabs that the kids chase like pigeons scattering them every which way.  Lily finds a intact sand dollar and declares this to be a ‘Magic Beach’

Further on, there is a sandy-bottom cave which is dripping wet and crawling with little blue crabs.  It fills at high-tide, and we had to time our visit to see it.  The cave narrows to a few feet high and wide, and takes a sharp turn in the middle so you can’t see the entrance from the exit.  On the other side of the cave is a small protected cove that’s even more beautiful.  Wow!

Surfing academy

We meet Hebron and Adienne at Bellena National park for our second day of surfing.  Today everyone is supposed to catc their own waves, and they give us a little theory on how to spot the best waves.   The waves are plentiful, but you need to be choosy because it’s a sand break, which makes them uneven.  And there are also waves from multiple directions that cross one another.

Lily and Emma again ride like they are masters.  Lily in particular is so light, and has such great balance from gymnastics training that she gets up and rides every wave in to shore.  Emma is at the adult level, riding her board out a ways, and picking her own waves to ride.

Everyone is a little banged up afterward.  Knees and ankles are scraped, eyes are red with salt irritation.  Trish can barely move her arms from doing so many push-ups off the board.  But it’s fantastic fun.  Lily doesn’t want to leave and has to be pulled from the water after two hours.

All that exercise translates into deep sleep at an early hour.  Not even the waves, birds, monkeys and cows can keep us awake after 9pm.