Kitesurfing in our travelling has become an obligatory part.. No, I am not a kitesurfer myself, but I surely enjoy watching them (especially Ben) on the water. Just check out this video and you’ll understand why it is so fascinating. Every time I see kitesurfers, I really want to try it out myself. Maybe a resolution for this year? I just have to overcome my fear of deep water and I should be fine. Or maybe the first step should be snowkiting 🙂
Anyhow, after another yet delicious breakfast @Areal Boutique Hostel we start our 175km = 3,5h drive to Bahia Salinas: bay really close to Nicaragua border (and yes, we were tempted to cross it) that is (besides its beauty) best know as the best kitesurfing spot in Costa Rica.
For most of the ride we had exceptionally good roads, except last 20km of dirt road that put as back into rally mood. However scenery is exceptional: at some points we feel like we are driving through Africa, other times through Asia and other times South America. Vegetation differs enormously in such a small distance and all the drive seems really peaceful (I think this was the only peaceful drive that we had in the trip though).
When we arrive at Bahia it seems deserted but really beautiful. We check in into one of kitesurfer’s hotel “Blue Dream” and for 45USD we have a place to sleep. Place is owned by an Italian guy who moved to Costa Rica years ago, married a Costarican girl and made his own thing. Place where you chill out. Not a place where I felt like home, but everybody here seemed to have a purpose: to be on the water the next day. As it is not long before sunset, all we do today is go to the beautiful Playa Rajada and have one of those beautiful sunsets that you can have only when you are as relaxed as you can be on your holidays 🙂
Kitesurfing + lodging
Ben has researched the kitesurfing possibilities and taken his kite according to the information online. However the wind is less than he was “promised” and he has to rent the kite. When travelling around, it is extremely important to talk to the locals, I find. Or other travelers. Advices that they give sometimes make your trip the best that you have done so far. Anyway, we have found out that there are more possibilities for sleeping in Bahia as well as learning kitesurfing. So, here are all 3 places that we found:
- Blue Dream Hotel. Tested. Amazing views from the room. Won’t regret that 🙂
- The KiteHouse. Owner is american but all the rest of the guys were French there. Really cool and relaxed ambiance and very easy to fall into “oh, let’s stay another 5 minutes here” groove.
- Island Surf&Sail. The owner Bob spends half of his time in USA (Jersey) and other half in Costa Rica. Having been teacher for children and lifeguard for 15 years, he knows how to handle people. I almost almost tried going on the water with him. If the wind wouldn’t have been so strong, would have done it 🙂 I know for sure, that next time I am heading to any of those directions, I will look Bob up!
Another hotel in the area is called Ecoplaya, that positions itself as a 4star beach resort. If you happen to arrive to this area, you either want to learn kitesurfing, or you love sports, otherwise there is nothing going on there. So, if that is the case, I would suggest to choose from one of the 3 options above. Somehow they all seemed more authentic and more relaxed.
After 1 day and a half kitesurfing (or observing it), we move to the southern part of peninsula. We have put the fastest route in our GPS which leads us to the kilometers and kilometers of dirt roads. Only this time there is a twist to it. We have to go 120km and it takes as 4 hours. Why, you ask? Oh, well… it became dark. And we were on those dirt roads. And seemed like we are lost somewhere, because all our roads ended in front of the river. At that point we didn’t know that this is how it is in Costa Rica. That sometimes to continue your journey, you have to go through the river (thanks God for the 4 wheel drive!).
So, after getting lost, then driving in a pitch dark night through 5 rivers (ok, don’t imagine that we drove through Thames, it was a river that a small 4 wheel drive can actually cross :)), getting lost again and then finding the hotel, we finally arrive at Hotel Villa Baula in Playa Grande: a rustic ecohotel on the beach. No windows though, hence all the nightlife (and by nightlife I mean monkeys and birds) seems really close to us. On the first night we were woken up by screaming (maybe even fighting) monkeys just outside the window. By the end of the trip you are used to those sounds.. Adaptation is it called?
We ask for a possibility to have a dinner in the area and are suggested to go to a local Costarrican restaurant “Los Malinches” (property is for sale if anyone is interested). I must say that going there was one of the best choices that we made. Food was so good that we returned the next day and I seriously considered coming back there even the day after even though we were leaving the area 🙂 And after each meal I couldn’t stop saying: “Muchas gracias. Comida muy rica” to the cooks (and please, don’t judge my Spanish :)). Really. This place is a must if you are in the area.
Photo moments (click on the photo to see more photos)