Central AmericaScuba

Costa Rica Day #5: Playa Del Ocotal

Tuesday, September 27 – Playa Ocotal, CR
Our flight from San Jose to Liberia (the west coast) left at 6:00AM in the morning. There was a little confusion with the taxi driver over which airport we were flying from, but it all worked out for the best in the end because he got us where we needed to go.

The flight itself was a blast – but I love litle planes. We had two pilots and three passengers (including us) and got some beautiful pictures during the one-hour flight.

Shannon boarding our little plane to Liberia

The view from the plane

The flight to Liberia included a brief (like, three minute) stop in Tamarindo, which is not so much an airport as a long stretch of tar stuck in a field somewhere. While we waited for a few people to get their luggage and themselves onboard, the pilot turned to us and said, “I have bad news. Liberia is clouded in and we probably won’t be able to make an approach. We can try, but if it doesn’t work then we’ll have to take you back to San Jose.”

“What other options do we have?”

“Well, you can take a taxi to Ocotal. It will take you about an hour.”

“Is there a taxi here?”

The pilot motioned out the window past the rickety wooden fence that was Tamarindo’s answer for airport security. A minivan sat there. “He will take you. But it will cost about $60.”

We thought this a much better option than risking a return trip to San Jose, and I had reserved a spot on the dive boat at 8:30 that morning. It was then 7:10. Not likely that I’d make my dive, but we just wanted to get to the beach. We grabbed our stuff off the plane and loaded into the taxi for what would be a long, bumpy, obstacle-filled ride to Playa Ocotal.

Guanacaste – the western region of CR – had recieved a number of storms the day before and so many of the rivers and streams were almost overflowing. We’d find out later that, had we traveled the day before, the roads would have been impassable due to extreme flooding. Instead, the roads were almost impassable due to herds of cattle.

You know you’re in a Third World country when your rickety taxi is stopped by a herd of… well… anything
When we arrived at the Ocotal Resort we checked in and the receptionist told me I could make the dive boat if I left right away. So I ditched Shannon with the luggage (I’m such a great friend) and caught a ride to the little dive shop down the hill.

The dives were wonderful. Visibility was bad and the currents pretty rough, but that didn’t stop us from seeing multiple rays and a few shark. Yay!

Monkey Head rock – one of my dive sites.
When I got off the boat I spotted Shannon in a lounge chair on a beach she had all to herself, and I thought that lounging was a marvelous idea. That’s what we did until we got hungry and wandered up to the resort restaurant for lunch.

More lounging, reading, and the occasional turning over. We had dinner with Cal, a nice older man I’d met on the dive boat, at a swanky restaurant in Playa del Coco whose name completely escapes me.