Costa Rica Part 2

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In my previous post, I mention how for my 30th birthday, Paul took me to Costa Rica. Both of us have always wanted to go there so this was obviously a bucket list item that we needed to check off.

In this post, I’m going to talk about the second part of the trip where we drove from Arenal to Tamarindo.

When Paul and I travel we like to see as much as we can, so for this trip we wanted to have the best of both worlds. We wanted to experience the volcano and rain forest side, but we also wanted to see the famous town of Tamarindo known for it’s iconic surfing.

One of the bucket list items on our list once we got there was spear fishing (more so Paul, but I figured why not try it?) Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 9.08.26 AM.png

I had my doubts at first but it was a lot of fun. The above picture is a cool action shot of Paul. The ones of me…not so great.

So the day started where we got on our guide’s boat. Turns out he is an expat from California so it was cool to hear his story and how he decided to move his family here and start his business.

The boat took us a few miles offshore over towards these isolated rocks where tons of fish hang out. The current, he expressed was pretty strong and asked if either one of us wanted a weighted belt.

Being that he just said the current was really strong, a weighted belt sounded like an awful idea, so I declined.

He then proceeded to show us how to work this gun. This thing was intense. When you fire it, there is a hell of a kick back, so I recommend pulling the trigger with one hand and holding the butt of it with the other hand. To constantly fire it against your body will only lead to bruising.

When you do fire it, you have to pull up the spear, place it back in the slit on top of the gun, then wrap the string a certain way so it doesn’t get tangled. Finally there are three thick rubber bands (essentially) that you have to pull back to rack. This was pretty hard for me to do.

Finally, just before we are about to jump in, he sees a water snake float by and tells us they are extremely poisonous and if they bite you then you die, but apparently they usually don’t bite.

So this scared the crap out of me, not to mention what the shark population must be like and here we are in the water spearing fish and surrounding ourselves with fish blood, but I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to know.

Paul did actually have an encounter with this snake running right into his goggles (given they float on the top of the water while you are looking down for fish), but luckily Paul said the snake was more scared of him and swam away very quickly.

I took a deep breath and I jumped in. I was a bit of a brat, because the gun was impossible for me to use and knowing that was never going to fire it because of how much effort it took to re-rack it, I told Paul I would just follow him around while he did it.

An hour later when the guide said he’ll follow me around and rack my gun every time I shot, that was when I finally agreed to do it.  To be fair, I also didn’t want to shoot at something just to shoot it, I wanted to know what I was going to kill. Our hotel’s chef said that  whatever we catch he would cook for us, so I wanted to catch something I was going to eat.

Once he was able to rack and point out the fish for me to hit I had a lot of fun. Paul the whole time had a blast and said he would love to do this as often as possible. For me, as long as someone can do the dirty work for me 🙂

We wound up with three fish in total. One from me and two from Paul. We had a great time but there are a couple things I would do differently if I ever do it again.

For one thing, I would wear a full wetsuit. I burn very easily and even though I had put 50 waterproof sunblock on,  being in clear water for four hours burned up my arms, back and legs to a crisp. I easily had second degree burns.

The other thing I learned is the weighted belt is important. You don’t expect to be as buoyant as you are in that water, which made it hard to dive for fish and also kept me vulnerable to the sun. Paul mentioned that if he had the belt he also could’ve racked the gun against it, which would have cut down on the amount of bruises he had on his chest afterwards.

All in all it was a great experience and I was glad that I did it. If I am ever going to do anymore fishing, this seems more like a sport to me than sitting on a boat waiting for a fish to bite the line.

The next day, due to my massive sunburn, surfing was out of the question for me. Being in the sun in general was pretty much out for me, but Paul still did it and I got to tag along and watch him.


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Paul has surfed before, taking lessons over the summer for the first time. As you can see he caught a couple of waves and was very excited. I wished that I had gotten the opportunity as I have never surfed before, but the lesson I learn is that when you see locals wearing zinc, you wear zinc.

This will just have to be something that I do in the future.

Finally the best part of the trip is the place we stayed had the best sunsets and offered cocktails every evening on the beach at sunset. This was my favorite part of the day, one because the sun could no longer hurt me, but also because of how calm it is that time of night. Everything seems to quiet down and the overall feeling is relaxing.

We made some attempts to go out and explore the night life in Tamarindo, but we weren’t exactly party animals after spending all day in the ocean.

This trip was overall a great experience and I would most certainly go back.

Thank you again to my wonderful husband for planning such a memorable trip!