One of my favourite travel experiences didn’t involve splashing out somewhere luxurious, in fact, it was somewhere the complete opposite. I stayed on a beach in a shelter with no walls and no electricity, yet I feel so lucky to have been able to experience it! This was my first experience of Central America!
So where was I? Costa Rica. Just outside Samara on the west coast on ‘Playa Buena Vista’.
How did I get to stay in a place like this? I signed up to a week long ‘Surf and Sea Turtle Conservation’ project with i-to-i . Mornings were spent doing camp maintenance, afternoons were free time and evenings and nights everyone was put on a rota to turtle watch collecting eggs on the beach, monitoring the hatchery etc. I was slightly out of season so the hours weren’t as long, but then I also didn’t get to see any baby turtles!
My one week trip included 2, one to one, hour long surf lessons and there were boards to use whenever I wish. By the end of the lesson they even had me standing up! The instructors were very flexible, if one technique didn’t work, they would try something else!
The accommodation was on an almost private beach where the only way of reaching it was wading though a river…Pack lightly! The river gets deep and you need to be able to hold your luggage above your head! The beach wasn’t white sand, but the waves were HUGE and the water was as warm as a bath.
The hut was very basic, it had no walls! The downstairs had a kitchen, a dining table, a toilet (that you filled up yourself to be able to flush it) and a shower (with rain water so you were asked to keep it to an absolute minimum!)
The upstairs was home to bunk beds and a balcony! My bed was possibly the best bed in the whole world, I fell asleep to the sound of the sea and a gentle breeze on my face and in the morning could wake up, hear Monkeys in the distance, open my eyes and see the beach. Ok, so maybe in rainy season this probably wouldn’t be the best set up, but when I went in March, it was perfect. I also had to get over my fear of sharing a room with creatures…lizards live on the roof beams!
All meals were prepared by a cook. Although it was rice and beans, 3 times a day and if you were lucky you got a dessert of…you guessed it…rice pudding!
As mentioned, there was no electricity, therefore no light bulbs in the evening, just candle light! A head torch was the best item I packed (very helpful for night time toilet trips!) Plus, Never under-estimate the power of a bug net! Although there isn’t any risk of Malaria on the West Coast, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any mosquitos that’ll have a munch on you! I fell asleep on the beach on my final night and then decided to ditch the bug net (as it had been annoying me all week…take a box net, not a pyramid one that only covers the top half of the bed and I got eaten alive!). There was phone signal, but obviously no way of charging phones (although the guy that runs the camp has a phone that he charges somehow and will helpfully ring cabs for you!). Sometimes it’s nice to be away from technology and just enjoy your surroundings.
I-to-I were a great company to travel with. This trip was technically my first solo trip and they help you with every little detail and make you feel so comfortable. They even included a guide to speaking Spanish! Our ‘in country’ rep took us out on our ‘first night’ before everyone split off onto their projects! I’d definitely recommend them to anyone!
Re-worked content from my previous blog