On Day 30, I decided to take a quick day trip to a local surfing beach called Playa Jacó. It’s about an hour and a half away from San José via local busses. I woke up in the morning and immediately started doing research on where the Jacó busses leave from. Between checking my hostel and two websites online, every single information source gave different locations and times. I decided to trust the website that was updated most recently. It said the local bus left at 10:30AM, so I started walking towards the station around 9AM (anticipating problems). I arrived at the Coca Cola Bus Station about 20 minutes later only to find out that it was the incorrect station. I found a municipal police officer and asked for his guidance. He had me take out my phone so he could enter in exactly where I needed to go. I have been using a free app called Maps.Me during my travels. It’s better than GoogleMaps and iMaps because you can download countries/regions and use it offline.
The officer informed me that I needed to walk about 1.5 more km to get to the right place. I arrived around 9:50 to find a station that was more like a shopping mall. The busses docked down at street level. There were two additional stories on top of the first level with a myriad of different stores. I bought my ticket and ventured up to the third level where I could see a panoramic view of San José. My bus departed at 11AM (which none of the websites listed), so I killed an hour by watching this Spanish Netflix show everyone’s talking about called La Casa de Papel (or Money Heist). It’s about a group of thieves that perform a 10-12 day heist on the Royal Mint of Spain. I like it so far. Most heist movies and shows have a fast story line, but this plot is longer–allowing more things to go wrong.
We arrived in Jacó around 1PM. For some reason, the bus never actually stopped in the city. Instead, riders just had to pull on a string to inform the driver to stop. I waited as long as possible and pulled the string towards the end of the city. I didn’t come prepared with all my baggage, so my first stop was seeing when the last bus back to San José departed. Turns out, the last bus was at 3PM, so I only had two hours there. I quickly made way to the beach so I could get the most of the moment. Jacó is a surfing beach so the waves were absolutely massive. I’ve only seen waves that big once before in Panama City, Florida during a thunderstorm warning. I was completely obliterated by the waves back then, so I decided it’d probably be a good idea not to venture towards them. They had to be anywhere from 10-15 feet high (pictures and videos don’t do it justice). I was really bummed I hadn’t planned the day out better. I strongly recommend waking up early to take the morning bus to Jacó if you want to go (then again, it’s hard to know when busses actually leave).
I fixed my negative attitude shortly after and tried to embrace the fact that I was finally seeing the Pacific Ocean for the very first time. The water wasn’t warm or cold, it just felt refreshing. The undertow was so strong that it nearly knocked me off my feet a few times. Each time the water receded my feet were buried in about 3-5 inches of sand. The sand here is different, though. It’s not like the white pristine beaches on the southern coast of the US. Instead, the sand is a dark grey-brown color. Where the sand meets the water, it turns into small rocks and pebbles. It almost reminded me of the material top-notch tennis courts and tracks are made from back home. I exited the water and completed the extremely touristy action of drawing my initials in the sand. Lastly, I took some time for reflection. Reflection about where I was, where I’ve been, what I want to do, and where I want to go moving forward.
I was initially planning on flying into Panama City and journeying outward after Costa Rica. However, I spoke with an American girl on the bus back to San José who had visited Bocas del Toro some years ago and she convinced me to go there. I had read about Bocas del Toro before I left for my trip, but I completely forgot about it. The city is an archipelago, so you have to take boats to travel from place to place. She said some buildings are even just stilted directly into the water. It sounds like a blast. Instead of flying into Panama, I’m going to take a shuttle from San José to Bocas del Toro on Thursday, June 14th now. I might be out of luck on getting a refund for my original flight to Panama City. I’m okay with that, though, because I only bought the ticket so that I could enter Costa Rica in the first place. It was a last minute purchase and was fairly cheap. Thanks for reading and watching!
Countries I Have Met People From: