The Pacific Coast Highway of Costa Rica passed through one small town after another.  Speed limits were low, downpours were frequent, and every bus stop were full of people waiting for buses to come that were always full and behind schedule.

On our way north we stopped in the small coastal community north of Uvita.

The coastline attracts surfers from around the world, and most of the resorts and accommodations cater to the surfing community.  We lodged at Liquid Magic Surf Resort.  The owners were ex-patriots from the United States who were making a life for themselves as inn keepers in this coastal town.

The beaches were the attraction so that’s where we headed.

Playa Ventanas

South of Uvita by a few minutes we found the turn off well marked. There was a light but steady rain. We drove down the dirt road, and crossed a small stream in our four wheel drive rental. There was a large parking lot complete with umbrellas for picnicking away from the beach.

However due to the rain, we had the beach to ourselves. We explored the ventana caves. During low tide people can walk out through the cave into the surf around to the beach. The rain was too much for Kylie and she wanted to wait in the car. Alyssa and I played in the surf reveling in the mix of cool rain and warm water.

The rain picked up and I noticed the parking lot starting to flood. And I heard thunder. Time to get out of the water! We got back to the car and started back. The stream that passed through so easily before was now swollen and raging. I walked out in to the stream and it was over my knees. We decided to go for it. The current pushed the car and the water surges over the tires. I kept a slow and steady pace and angles down stream going with the flow slightly. We made it! In retrospect is was not a good decision to go to the beach on a rainy day.

Tilapias El Pavon in Ojochal

Not too far from Las Ventanas was the turn off for Tilipias El Pavon. A small billboard easily visible southbound, but not visible northbound gives away the location. A mile drive up a steep narrow dirt road through rambutan trees. This restaurant was recommended to us by a snack shack owner on the main highway, so we didn’t know what to expect. Except that we could catch our own fish to eat.

We drove up and found many cars parked roadside. There was ample parking in back. This little restaurant was nestled in the middle of a Costa Rican jungle. We asked about fishing and someone pointed us to a trail to the left. We descended down and saw several ponds. There was a person there who gave us a chunk of wood with fishing line wrapped around it and some cheese like bait. He pointed the ponds for us to fish.

Kylie and Alyssa dangled their lines into the pond and watches as many small fish came up to nibble away at the bait and it kept falling off. I was beginning to wonder if and when there were actually meal-size fish in this pond when Kylie pulled up a large fish, then another, and another. Alyssa also started getting some luck. And just like that we had 3 fish for dinner.

We walked up to the patio dining area, handed our fresh caught tiliapia to the server, and waited for our meal. The meal arrived and looked fantastic: Light salad, rice, beans, platano tostado, and grilled tilapia.

We later heard that the people parked roadside were locals who ventured inland to a waterfall. We were pretty sated from the meal and didn’t do that waterfall trip.

The food was ok, but the whole experience was fun. This hidden gem was well worth our time!

We returned for the evening to let the kids play in the pool.  However through the veneer of luxury and, we were reminded that of the challenges of being so close to the jungle.

Geckos are your friend in the tropics!

Aside from the frequent chirping of geckos which frequented our room, another wolf spider paid our bathroom a visit.  Why were they always in the bathroom?

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