On the bus ride to Tamarindo, I could not sit still.
I tried listening to music, I tried gazing out the window. I tried getting lost in my thoughts. I tried reading, I tried writing… but I mostly spent the drive tapping Chelsea on the shoulder, pointing out the window, and crying, “Look at that!!”
I will be living in Tamarindo until February 23rd, so I was eager to see my temporary home. As for Chelsea, it was her last destination before returning to NYC, so it was a bitter sweet moment when we checked into our hotel.
Our private utopia
Chelsea and I spent our last three days together living at Hotel Mahayana. This gorgeous hotel is a short ways from the center of town, but this seclusion ended up being a blessing. Sure, it meant we had to walk a little further to get to the beach, but it also meant we could fall asleep to the sounds of crickets instead of partying surfers.
The hotel itself was wonderful. Our room was along the edge of a small courtyard which surrounded a pool and an outdoor kitchen. We shared this communal haven with the rest of the guests. We got to know them all pretty quickly and Hotel Mahayana is such a friendly and open atmosphere that we spent our second night eating pasta and practicing Italian with Franco, our 73-year-old next-door-neighbor.
Our fellow guests were not the only friendly Hotel Mahayana residents. Carine, the woman who runs the hotel, will make you feel right at home. Every time we had the smallest issue, Carine was happy to jump to our aid. She even organized a tour for us to see the turtles nesting on the beach!
Tamarindo… what is this place?!
Every once in a while Chelsea and I would look at each other and ask, "Where are we? What is this place?!"
Tamarindo is unlike any of the other places we visited while in Costa Rica. It is much more of a developed beach town than Manuel Antonio and not nearly as secluded as Monteverde. On the flip side, it Is not quite as over-the-top developed as the beach towns I am used to (namely those that dot the coast of California).
The people here refuse categorization. We would look around us while sitting on the beach and see Costa Rican families playing with their children, elderly couples from the U.S. sitting under umbrellas and watching the beach shenanigans, European teenagers causing those beach shenanigans, and people of every race, age, and gender grabbing a board and hitting the waves.
Tamarindo is a party beach. Tamarindo is a family beach. Tamarindo is a great place to retire. Tamarindo is a great place to travel solo.
Tamarindo is whatever you want it to be.
The final stretch… extended
As Chelsea’s last day approached we both started to get a bit melancholy. I didn’t want her to leave and she definitely did not want to head back to NYC where Storm Jonas and her last semester at NYU were waiting.
Luckily some good came out of storm Jonas. Chelsea’s flight was cancelled and she was “stuck” in Tamarindo for two more days.
Unfortunately, our days at Mahayana were up. I said goodbye to the comfortable beds and hugged my private indoor bathroom, knowing that I was off the spend the next month sharing a tent with very large bugs. Ever-helpful Carine offered us a ride to our next destination and Chelsea had the chance to spend her extra two days in Tamarindo at DreamSea Surf Camp with me.
DreamSea deserves a blog of its own and we will get to that later, but for now I will say this:
Tamarindo is a wonderful town full of good people. Chelsea and I met more friendly strangers in our first three days in Tamarindo then we did in our entire trip through Costa Rica. Maybe it’s the sun, maybe it’s the sand, or maybe it’s just the Pura Vida way, but life is good in Costa Rica.