3/23 — La Fortuna, Nuevo Arenal, Playa Hermosa, Tamarindo rivermouth, Costa Rica
Ben and I packed up and set off into the wet, green, misty world of La Fortuna. We were heading to Playa Hermosa (the north one). The first part of the drive was incredible, and we stopped a few times just to take it in. We pulled off and explored a path through the forest alongside lake arenal: a large, surprisingly silent lake surrounded by lush rainforest and life. We put some fruit we found in the road to see if cars would hit it (we have a long and colorful history with this), stopped by a German bakery, and notably hiked up a garden path and spent a bit of time talking to an older German who spent all of his time taking care of the gardens and watching over an unbelievably large Kopek tree — the tree we were then standing under. The tree was mind-bogglingly tall and wide, with thousands of other plants and vines using it as a home. While we talked his dogs found and bit the tail off of a gecko at the base of the monstrous tree. The tree had a special magic in it. It was over 500 years old, enormous, and sharing its massive branches with an abundance of vines and leafy plants that hung off it like water.
We drove until we hit Playa Hermosa, where we promptly decided to turn right around and go somewhere else. Along the ride the landscape had transformed from thick, misty, mountainous rainforest to flat, dry tropics. The water was brown, no waves, and it was hot and dull. We sat in a bar in town and quickly decided it was not our place. We drove south to Tamarindo. We pulled in, got a place to stay, and went out to the mellow, small, river mouth break and got some small waves. The rides were hardly rides, but it was fun.
We wandered around town at night, it was hot and the streets were packed with people, noises, birds, and cars. A large tree outside our hostel was filled with a cacophony of birds chattering that lasted all night.