Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Jaco Beach, Costa Rica – The Good - Part 2
Another aspect of Jaco that we enjoyed was the beach. Every morning, very early, we would take long walks along the shore, virtually going from one end to the other, and taking frequent dips in the Pacific. This was usually the highlight of the day, given the fact that by 10 a.m. the heat and humidity had reached such a level as to make further walking about a real challenge. While it had been my original intention to rent a car for a few days in order to explore other parts of the country, after being ferried from the airport to Jaco, about a 2 hour trip through the mountains, I thought better of it, given the driving habits of Costa Ricans that I had observed during the trip. (More about that when I start my posts on things I disliked about the trip!)
Nonetheless, despite the severe limitations imposed by the weather, we were able to explore some of the areas surrounding the town. Having read Pauline Frommer’s reference to a mountain known locally as Miro Mountain, not to be found on any map, we set out early one day to find it. Having done so, we proceeded partway up, where there were two ‘miradors’ or lookouts, offering some spectacular view, both of the beach and the surrounding mountains:
Two days later I returned alone, my wife having limited stamina due to some health problems. During the ascent up the mountain, I encountered some tree frogs and a couple of snakes, but yet again, no birds! Getting to the top, which comes out at a road that I followed, I came upon another lookout, this one with a banner proclaiming it to be Mirador Liddy, whether named after the old Watergate reprobate, I have know idea. The mirador afforded excellent views of Jaco to the north and Hermosa Beach to the south, but the effort to reach that point was exhausting, again owing to the heat and humidity.
Since we had taken some tours during our January visit, I was reluctant to pay what I felt are excessive charges for such excursions on this trip. For example, a trip to Manuel Antonio Park would cost about $100. However, I was very interested in visiting the park, considered to be one of the gems of Costa Rica, so I decided to take a regular bus to Quepos, and then go on to Manuel Antonio from there, the total return trip, including admission to the park and lunch in Quepos costing the equivalent of about $17.50 U.S. It was a very interesting experience that again allowed me some direct experience of Tico bus culture. For example, I learned that women with some children and elderly men and women are treated with great respect, young people readily giving up their seats near the front of the bus for them. Another aspect of the culture was the curious practice of whistling when passengers wanted the bus to let them off, as opposed to using the signaling devices on the ceiling of the bus. As well, more than once I saw the bus driver stop and offer a free lift to young ladies with young children, something I have never witnessed in North America.
Manuel Antonio Park was interesting, but, with the exception of the beaches, not spectacular, in my view. Here are a few photos I took while there: