Cahuita, Costa Rica – Loafing by the Sea

In which we settle into the seaside rhythms of Caribbean Costa Rica in the aftermath of an intense rainstorm.

It was a three hour drive from Arte de Plumas Birding Lodge to the the Hotel Cahuita Inn. Nerves-of-steel Bob white-knuckled through rain and fog down the wet, terraced hills to the level roads—Lyle beside him in the navigation seat, and me and Carrie in the back seat. Visibility cleared as we reached the banana plantations which were flanked by stacks of shipping containers and sketchy housing. It was impossible to get a good photograph from the moving car and we wouldn’t have pulled over anyhow, so eager were we to arrive at the beach.

We checked into the Cahuita Inn Hotel in the wake of the brutal storm, a place owned and operated by real Italians featuring handmade pasta and oven-crisp pizza. Stay tuned for my post on the culinary element of our eleven days in Costa Rica.

I woke to the sound of howler monkeys on our first morning in Cahuita, so I left our cozy room with my Sony a6100 over my shoulder in pursuit.

The rain-washed air was deliciously fresh and I saw a promising day reflected in the hotel pool. Maybe the storm was truly over.

I followed the simian hoots to a copse of vine-ridden trees split by the tourist road connecting Cahuita with the beach resorts to the north and listened to the group of howlers on on my left answering the group on my right. It was monkey stereo.

I stood there for some in the street beside a scrape-scarred sleeping policeman (speed bump), enchanted, mouth agape and camera strap dangling, which is the absolute most touristy thing anyone can do, the equivalent of staring at the little bit of sky above Manhattan’s skyscrapers instead of watching your feet. I was dying to share this moment, but the workers trundling by in their service trucks only smiled indulgently as I gestured giddily towards the trees.

Finally, a van with a pair of newly-arrived tourists gingerly navigated the scarred yellow hump and one of them poked their head from the van window with a curious twinkle in their eye. “There are howlers!” I cried.

But, back to our room. I loved its wide open floor plan and glass-walled view of the sea.

Each room had this great little machine—Italians understand good coffee—so we were able to brew our first cup before the restaurant opened for breakfast at 7:00 AM.

We also loved this hot or cold water dispenser. No wondering if we should be drinking from the tap, or buying bottled water, or wandering around in search of an ice machine.

At first this piece of art looked like leaves, but then it reveal itself as a zebra. How fitting, we thought, and vowed to tell Spot about this when we got back home.

There were hammocks outside and it was rumored that sloths lived in the overstory. The storm had left puddles.

And the sea was bucking crazily from the intense runoff.

We stayed in the last room on the right, room number 5, and Lyle and Carrie stayed in number 4 next door.

Sunrise lit up Playa Grande, a beach we would ride up on horseback the following day. Stay tuned for my post on horseback riding in Costa Rica.

Carrie and Lyle at Punta Uva

Later that first day, we all went to the pretty beach at Punta Uva a forty-minute drive south of Cahuita.

Cookie gets her feet wet at Punta Uva

As per usual, I was thrilled to get my legs soaked by salt water.

The Jaguar Rescue Center near Punta Cocles

I did a double-take when I saw this sign, then texted our friend, Steph, and found out that yes, she had worked at this very place after moving from Texas to Costa Rica in 2013.

Carrie and Lyle at Playa Grande

A couple of days later, we spent an hour or so at Playa Grande.

By now the sea had calmed down.

Lyle, Carrie, and Camille, dipping at Playa Grande

And we were able to take a little dip.

We parked our stuff on a cement table that we soon learned belonged to a fetch-happy pit bull.

Bob and the beach dog

Fetch doggie was very pleased to have humans throw twigs, but was not very good at letting us pick up the retrieved stick—it was just too tempting to snatch it back and play tug of war.

Guide Raul takes a guest for a ride up Playa Grande

While we were hanging out on Playa Grande we saw Raul, the guide from Brigitte’s, cantering down the beach on Fino, the horse I’d ridden the previous day.

More to come: stories about horseback riding, critters, food, and birds.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

4 replies on “Cahuita, Costa Rica – Loafing by the Sea”

Love that pool reflection picture! Imagine taking monkeys for granted! I always stopped to look at them. You walked in my footsteps at Punta Uva, too! So cool!

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