Tag Archives: kayaking

Costa Rica Part 3 – Samara and San Juan

The next leg of our Costa Rica trip started with a 5 hour overland drive from Santa Elena/Monteverde as we headed down the Nicoya Peninsula to the coastal town of Samara. Samara is on the Pacific Coast and boasts a long beach with a gentle surf. Neighboring beach towns have bigger waves and a bigger surf contingent, but Samara suited us perfectly.

Monkeys in the trees on our way into Samara

Monkeys in the trees on our way into Samara

my new friend

my new friend

We stayed at the Mirador de Samara which is a bit older, but offered us some space to spread out. Our hotel suite included a beautiful double terrace, kitchen, living room, bed room and spacious bathroom. We were just a few steps away from the pool which allowed me to start and end each day with a dip. The hotel is situated up the hill from the beach which made for excellent views.

Sunset view from the Hotel

Sunset view from the Hotel

Day view of the ocean from our terrace

Day view of the ocean from our terrace

The only down side to our hotel was the many stairs we had to climb each day after a long day in the sun.

Just some of the  many steps at the Mirador de Samara

Just some of the many steps at the Mirador de Samara

Samara is known for its low key vibes and a little bit of a hippie presence. There are a lot of young western backpackers in the area. The downtown of Samara offers a variety of restaurants and bars as well as a “Natural Center” with  vegetarian foods, organic markets, spas, and other businesses.

Evidence of the bohemian presence in Samara

Evidence of the bohemian presence in Samara

The Samara Natural Center

The Samara Natural Center

Being an early riser, I started taking morning walks on the beach before my travel companions were awake. It was lovely to enjoy the beach before the peak heat of the day and before many people were out. Many of my favorite photos from the trip were taken on those morning walks.

The tide going out in the morning

The tide going out in the morning

Squiggles in the sand from the crabs retreating in the morning heat.

Squiggles in the sand from the crabs retreating in the morning heat.

A local fishing boat beached after the mornings catch

A local fishing boat beached after the mornings catch

Shells on the beach

Shells on the beach

The beach in Samara was wonderful and very spacious. Palm trees offered much needed shade and the cove was large enough that you could spread out if you wanted.  The waves were large enough to be fun but small enough to float and relax.

The view from my towel on the beach

The view from my towel on the beach

While in Samara we mostly relaxed and enjoyed the local food and drinks. After 6 days  of hiking, climbing, zip lining, canyoning and rappelling we were ready for the chill portion of our trip. However, we did manage to get up the energy to take a kayak trip down the Rio Ora to it’s ocean end point at Playa Camaronal. Playa Camaronal is an animal refuge area with focuses its preservation efforts on the sea turtle. Unfortunately we weren’t there during hatching season so we didn’t see any turtles. Nonetheless, the untouched and natural windswept beach was a lovely place to rest before kayaking back.

Kayaking out to

Kayaking down Rio Oro with the surf of Playa Camaronal in the distance

The natural and more rugged beach at  Playa Camaronal

The natural and more rugged beach at Playa Camaronal

Leaving Samara was hard to do, as it signaled the beginning of the end of our vacation. But, after three days of fun in the sun, it was time to return to San Jose for one last day before our departure.

Poconos Paradise

Last weekend I traveled the short hour and 30 minutes from New York to the Poconos to enjoy a bit of rustic relaxation and get out of the city for a few days. This was not my first visit to the Poconos so I was excited for some relaxation but not really prepared to be impressed. I was totally mistaken.

Picture Perfect afternoon in Stokes State Forrest

Picture Perfect afternoon in Stokes State Forrest

Somehow, we timed our trip perfectly to get the best of the autumn leaves without the frigid temperatures. Though we lit a fire in the fireplace every night and even attended a bonfire, we were able to eat dinner al fresco and spend most of our days outdoors.

In Brooklyn we build furniture out of pallets. In the Poconos they are used for bonfires

In Brooklyn we build furniture out of pallets. In the Poconos they are used for bonfires

On the first day, I spent four hours solo kayaking a distance of about 15 miles  through the Delaware Water Gap. The views were spectacular! In those four hours I saw only five other people using the river, and you couldn’t even hear cars near by. In my alone time I glimpsed turtles, fish, hawks and a majestic bald eagle gliding over the water.

The prettiest moment in my kayak

The prettiest moment captured from my kayak

We quickly learned that taking the back roads were the best way to see the leaves and absorb the beauty and peacefulness of the area. Personally, I love to drive the small winding roads (the faster the better), but the views and wildlife, made it worth slowing down.

River Road

Single lane road through Worthington State Forrect

Its now a week later and serious thunderstorms  in the area have taken down most of the leaves. Right before I left to catch my bus back to NY, I was driving down River Road for probably the 6th time in two days and happened upon this little bear.  Sometimes, you just get lucky I suppose. It seems like we were just in the right place at the right time in so many ways.

Visiting with a bear

Visiting with a bear

Getting directions from the locals

Getting directions from the locals