Costa Rica: Playa Hermosa

I was worried when Joshua hadn’t stopped talking about these tacos after 7 years.  Was taking him back a good idea?  What if they were terrible and it ruined the dream for him?  We went anyway.

Getting off the bus in Hermosa, Joshua immediately recognized the “Jungle Cafe” where he had eaten these epic fish tacos…so good that he never orders them at restaurants anymore.  He’s been to the top of the mountain and everything else is just another hill…well according to him.

We planned to find a hostel and head straight for the tacos.  In fact, we found the exact same hostel with no name run buy a recovering druggie/alcoholic where Joshua stayed in 2005.  We threw our stuff in the room (with A/C, what is that?!)  Sitting down at the Jungle Cafe, we bantered with the owner…”we hear you have good fish tacos.”  “Yes, just for lunch.”  We scooted out of our plastic chairs and walked away with our tails between our legs.  Tomorrow, we guaranteed a return; but only between 12pm and 2pm, he reminded us.  We would make it happen.  We HAD to.

My goal for this area of Costa Rica was to visit the National Park: Carara.  It is a relatively small National Park, but houses the largest population of Scarlet Macaws in the country.  I’d read you can see flashes of red and blue flashing through the sky.  Joshua is great to travel with because he has no shame asking people when we don’t know where we are going.  So when we boarded the bus to Carara, he asked if the bus driver would tell us when we should get off.  The bus driver agreed.  We’ve actually had amazing luck so far on our travels: people are truly interested in helping us.  They typically provide accurate information, and they go out of their way to make sure we get where we are going.  We’ve even had an older (probably prostitute) escort us to the bus station despite the fact she was walking the other direction.  The bus driver in Costa Rica was different.  He forgot about us, so when we asked if we were close to the park he slammed on the breaks and pointed behind the bus.  How far…5km he said.  So, we walked.  It’s not unusual for us to walk 3 miles, especially when we are headed to a park anyway to walk some more.  The park was, in fact, 10km behind us on the freeway.  So we walked on the non-existent shoulder of the two-lane highway under the mid-morning heat.  We made it to the back entrance of the park after passing crocodiles sunning themselves on the side of the road.

Joshua ran and hugged the attendant at the entrance and I let out a “woo woo” when we realized we had made it to Carara.  The guide, however, told us we needed tickets from the visitor’s center a few more km down the road. He let us in without tickets after hearing our story.  Problem was, this entrance was a dead end.  After 1.5 hours, the trail ended.  We never made it to the visitor center or the main trail.

We had this dead end mostly to ourselves except for several large iguanas.

Fortunately, we got the most amazing macaw show.  In the middle of the forest we head all sorts of noise.  Looking up, we saw those flashes of red and blue.  They were squabbling, flying from tree to tree, dropping feathers on us below.  We watched until our necks were kinked.  It was a relief.  I would have felt so guilty if we hadn’t seen a single bird considering we spent 3 hours getting to the park and another 3 getting lost in it.  Huge problem…during our wait for the bus back to Hermosa, the clock struck 2pm.  No tacos!  We were both hot, tired, dusty and pissy.  We didn’t take a single picture of ourselves the entire day—you wouldn’t have wanted to see our faces.  Joshua tried to hide his disappointment in missing the Jungle Cafe.  Instead, we recalled our road trip comfort food from our trip around the USA.  Subway was air conditioned, had unlimited fountain soda (we probably had 6 refills) and provided the perfect turkey sandwich.  It did a number on our ‘tudes.  Around sunset, as we sat watching surfers at the beach, we heard the same calls from earlier in the day…we looked up just in time to see two Scarlet Macaws fly past…

We had planned on moving on to Dominical the following day, but I refused to leave without getting Joshua his tacos.  So we lounged for the morning and showed up just before 12pm to make sure we got the first round of fish tacos.  I swear, even if they had been terrible…I think I would have loved them for him.  Luckily, however, they were as amazing as he remembered.

Successful repeat, for the win.

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