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Monday, March 13, 2023

Travel Journals Day 15: A Costa Rica Rainy Season

I decided to be lazy and sleep in since today was Saturday. That meant 6am instead of 5. The early morning waking was to the sound of tranquil rain outside which began just before 6.

I decided it was finally time to make the trek over to Tamarindo, which is the next town over, for some supplies other than fish, vegetables and water. I barely remembered from five years ago the wandering path through the uncleared forest that let to the shoreline of the estuary where the morning boats picked up.

While making my way through the brush it came to my mind that any number of wild species lived within the trees and could surge out at any given moment. There was no sense of fear whatsoever and felt a peaceful harmony with nature, but I was also very well aware of crocodiles in this area. I gripped the strap of my well-worn backpack from it’s journeys through Asia and now Central America and continued making my way to the sandy beach where one lone boat was waiting.

Daniel, a leathery old Tico, greeted me on shore. He was the boat captain.  “Hola Amigo, Tamarindo?” “Si,” I responded. Despite my best efforts, my shoes plunged deeply into the water and the heavy sand sucked them under. Pulling into the shore of Tamarindo there was immediately a completely different vibe and energy altogether from Playa Grande, the opposite in so many ways. 

Remote solitude versus surfer party scene. Tamarindo is actually known for being the “Party beach of Costa Rica.”  Also locally known as “Tamagringo.”  I knew that one trip per week would be more than enough of that energy for me. I suppose 10 or 20 years ago I would have jumped right in. Now I am older, perhaps finally becoming a quiet old Zen Master.

I wandered down the central dusty road of Tamarindo as I have done so many times in the past, feeling once again like the lost foreigner in a new and undiscovered town. 

As I made my way through town, I became familiar once again with this sleepy surf community that I had been to many years before.  Surfers with their boards wandered the street, massage therapists on the beach, horses on the sand and sailboats in the cove. This was the surf town culture I had remembered, but with now much more construction as foreigners have discovered it and continued moving in over the years.

I found my way to the market mercado, thanks to the help of a beautiful local woman who was working in the front of a restaurant.  Walking into the mercado was like Christmas morning, to see shelves lined with familiar items such as Oreos, Pringles, Diet Pepsi.  I went into my normal deer in the headlights mode, as usually happens to me in a large unfamiliar store. After much wandering and confusion, I made my way to the checkout….black beans, tortillas, mango nectar, coffee biscuits, Pringles, Diet Pepsi…$23.

On my way back I was rushing to find a wifi spot to connect with a friend back home. I stopped into Nordico Coffeehouse, which had a great vibe, only to find out they had no water today. No water equals no coffee. Just another typical day in Costa Rica.  No need to get upset. Pura Vida. Take a siesta. You learn to appreciate every little thing.

Follow Kirk’s Adventure from the start

  • The Start – Five years ago I was quietly living in a small 1100 square-foot home just outside my native hometown of Austin, Texas.
  • Day 1 – My journey to Costa Rica, the Rich Coast, began at 4 AM on a crisp Sunday morning. 
  • Day 2 – Arrival into Costa Rica was quite smooth and seamless compared to my recent experiences in Japan where things are done to another level of precision and detail
  • Day 3 – This morning I woke naturally at 5am as the light was already beginning to make its way through my window. 
  • Day 4 – There is a stretch of beach to
  • Day 5 – Last night I drifted off to sleep while reading The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
  • Day 6 –  I heard the morning songs of exotic birds I had never heard before
  • Day 7 – I have been quickly reminded once again that one can starve in Costa Rica if one does not know the local routine
  • Day 8 – I was abruptly awakened before 5:30 am to the sounds of what I can only imagine to be monkeys in the trees just above my house.
  • Day 9 – I began my walk toward the mountain, noticing the blisters on my feet
  • Day 10 – I was reading back through some of my old journals I packed with me from the last few years
  • Day 11 – I have been fortunate to have glimpsed life and the world through a myriad of cultural perspectives
  • Day 12 – Each morning seems to provide new and interesting sounds I have not heard before.
  • Day 13 – As my afternoon meditation, the rain has been a constant, peaceful presence almost all day
  • Day 14 -Just as I was writing this passage all power suddenly went down….everywhere

About the Author

Kirk Lee is a Writer, Meditation teacher and nomad currently living in Costa Rica. Kirk has been an explorer on the journey for over 25 years having traveled to 14 countries culminating in a year living in Kyoto, Japan. Kirk writes about travel through the lens of simplicity and kindness to be found in people and places of every culture. Explore Kirk’s travel journals at

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