Returning to Tamarindo, Costa Rica

After our couple days in Samara, we headed back to Tamarindo for a week. If you’ve been following the blog, you may think to yourself…Tamarindo? Haven’t these guys been there a zillion times?

Well technically three times now, but yes, we do keep coming back.

During the crazyness of travel, life can seem pretty chaotic. We often find ourselves longing for a place that feels like home. We’ve come to realize, that for us, Tamarindo is that place.

For those of you who know us, know Tamarindo or know both, this may come as a surprise. Tamarindo is a very busy little town, full of people, and full of party. Not necessarily a place that fits our relaxed “in bed by 8pm” approach to travel. In fact, if someone were to ask me where I would recommend they go during their trip to Costa Rica, Tamarindo would be much further down the list then some of the other places we’ve visited.

But we have a soft spot for Tamarindo, and the longer we are in the country, the larger it grows.In previous trips to Costa Rica, we’ve always stayed in Tamarindo, and have been able to see the town develop over the past 6 years (since our first visit). Tamarindo is the first place we stayed when we landed back back in November, and it is going to be the last place we stay before getting on the plane in April.

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We are comfortable with the town, we know where the deals are, we know which restaurants we like, heck we even have a cat that we pretend is our own! We have come to know several people in the town, and any time we visit we take a moment to pop in to say hello.

Familiarity, comfort, friends, these are all things that you miss when travelling. When you find a place that gives you a little taste of those feelings, it is always going to keep you coming back.

So, at this point in our adventure, we found ourselves back at Villas Macondo for a week. Laying by the pool, visiting with Bearly Bear, and enjoying our time to regroup before our big trek up to Nicaragua.

How do you find ways to feel “at home” while travelling?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

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Our Favourite Places in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica

We came, we saw, we conquered, and we loved!

Our week in Playa del Coco, has come to an end, but the memories we made here will last a lifetime. We couldn’t have chosen a better place to celebrate New Years. This normally quiet beach town transforms into a bustling street party to celebrate the festivities.

Since we had guests with us all week, we had the opportunity to go out a lot more then we are used to. As a result, we compiled a fabulous list of our favourite places to visit in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica.

Zi's in Playa Del Coco

Zi’s in Playa Del Coco

Zi Lounge: This place is infamous! I think I could safely say that not one day went by where one of us didn’t end up there at some point in. Zi’s is located on the main drag of the Coco strip, and boasts crazy cheap happy hours drinks, and amazingly delicious food. At night, it converts to party central, with a dance floor and VIP area. Although it might not be as bumping during the off season, It was crazy during our stay, as New Year’s is one of their busiest nights. For more pictures about Zi’s, check out Shaun’s post about Face Painting on New Years. All that magic went down at Zi’s. I had the opportunity to meet Zi, the owner, later in the week. Wonderful guy! Whether it’s lunch, dinner, happy hour or a night of dancing, Zi’s is a one stop shop in Playa del Coco.

Heledaria 0039- Gelato and Coffee Shop

Heledaria 0039- Gelato and Coffee Shop

Heladeria 0039- As you may have read, my main priority when exploring a new town is to find the perfect cup of coffee. As I wandered the strip, nothing jumped out at me, so I reached out to local blogger Samantha, of mytanfeet. She pointed me in the direction of the local gelato shop. Coffee, and gelato? How could you go wrong. Shaun and I spent several afternoons there, trying different flavours of gelato, and I indulged in many cappacinos. This place is wonderful, great service, a/c, free wifi, and great quality products. If you are a gelato fan, Shaun suggests Bounty or Oreo, where as I would suggest Coconut or Lime. That being said, their selection is huge, and I can pretty much guarantee whatever you choose will be delicious.

You can't miss it.

You can’t miss it.

Pollos Crispy– Okay, so this isn’t necessarily my recommendation, but judging from the amount of fried chicken I would find in the fridge during our stay, I would say this was a hot spot for both Shaun and our guests. Located right at the intersection of Playa del Coco, and Playa Ocotal, Pollo Crispy is one of those places you just can’t miss. Whether it’s the guy on the street with the megaphone calling people in, the trucks driving through town blaring advertisements, or just the smell of deep fried goodness wafting down the strip, Pollo Crispy is everywhere, and by the sounds of it, some good eats.

La Vida Loco

La Vida Loco

Bar La Vida Loco– This bar was totally Shaun and I’s vibe. It’s a hidden gem, located at the end of the strip, to your left if you are facing the beach. You have to walk over a very rickity bridge to get to it. Shaun, the engineer, didn’t have to tell me it wasn’t up to code. I could guess by the foot long gaps, and loose boards. You adventure will be rewarded by a bar with a relaxed feel, right on the beach. We hit this place up for happy hours in the afternoon, but from the looks of it, it picks up during the evening. Either way, if you are looking for somewhere with a good view, and a good vibe, I would highly recommend La Vida Loca. Bonus tip: There are super cool status and signs all over the bar. Pop inside, and check out the sign above the entrance to the bathroom. You might see something representing our home town!

There ya go! Some of our favourite haunts during a week of partying like we were on vacation. Since our guests are gone, it’s back to the reality of hostel meals, and early nights.

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Cafe Tico, Tamarindo Costa Rica

I’m a gal who loves a good coffee shop, and luckily, Tamarindo has quite a few!

Cafe Tico, consistently shows up on Trip Advisor as one of the highest rated food establishments in Tamarindo, and after visiting it on several occasions, I can see why!

Cafe Tico

Cafe Tico

Located just past the Super 2001 grocery store on your way to Langosta, Cafe Tico seems pretty unassuming. The small store front is tucked back, away from the road. If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss it.

Although I tried out a couple other shops in town, Cafe Tico, in my humbled opinon, has the best Coffee in town. Which is tough, because I find all Costa Rican coffee to be truly delicious!

The menu, and bar

The menu, and bar

The shop is small, and offers a limited number of outdoor seats to its patrons. Inside, you will find bar that sells your typical coffee shop drinks, small sandwiches and various pastries.

Another awesome thing about Cafe Tico is all the products they sell. They carry a whole line of chutney’s, salsas, jams and jelly’s with a whole line up of items for you to sample while you wait for your drink. I’ll be picking some up for our Christmas dinner for sure!

nut butters!!!!

nut butters!!!!

They also sell other food related items such as coffee, dried fruit, and most importantly NUT BUTTER! I almost died when I saw them!

I have never successfully found natural nut butter of any kind in Costa Rica. It’s Jif or Nil! Here at Cafe Tico, they have a wide variety including peanut, almond, walnut and cashew! My excitement was momentary squashed when  I realized that many of them included additional sugar and oil, but the almond butter just has honey in it. That works for me, it’s nice to be able to have a product available that has a short ingredient list that you can pronounce!

All in all, I’ve loved every experience I have had at Cafe Tico. Their staff are all extremely pleasant, their coffee is delicious and their products are unique and local. If you are in the Tamarindo area, and looking for a nice quiet place for a delicious brew, this is your spot!

Have you ever found a coffee shop while travelling that you just loved?

Pura Vida

Kate
Follow me on Twitter: @caketress
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Exploring Playa Grande, Costa Rica

Have you ever noticed that the length of a beach can be deceiving?

It looks like you are so close to the end of it, but it somehow magically keep going.

Well we certainly noticed that during our adventure to the other side of Playa Grande! (had we clued in to the name, we might have known what we were getting in  to!)

Playa Grande is right next to Playa Tamarindo, just on the other side of an estuary. Shaun heads there most mornings, because it’s often where the good surf is. During our last trip, we even stayed there for a week. Our goal was to not only get to Playa Grande, but hike all the way to the other side of the beach.

That is where we were heading!

That is where we were heading!

So, we packed up Titty Tonka with water and some energy bars, and headed off. First things first, get to the estuary, and find a boat to take us across.

There they are!

There they are!

For 500 Colones, or 1 dollar each they’ll take you across. When Shaun surfs in Grande, he usually just paddles over on his board. Sometimes when the tide is right you can wade across as well. But with a high tide, a backpack and no board, the boats were our only option.

Boat rides are fun!

Boat rides are fun, so are photobombs!

We got to the other side and started our trek.

The view from the Grande side of the estuary

The view from the Grande side of the estuary

The first thing I wanted to see was the house we stayed in last time we were here. Shaun had just proposed to me, the week prior, so I spent the majority of my time there reading Costa Rican bridal magazines!

There it is nestled in the trees, didn't want to go to paparazzi on the people staying there!

There it is nestled in the trees, didn’t want to go to paparazzi on the people staying there!

So then we walked…and walked…and walked. I’m not gonna lie, I may have been afflicted with a little bit of hot hanger mid way through. Despite my grumps, 6.5 km later, we got to the other end.

That's where we came from!

That’s where we came from!

We found a log to sit down on to take a much deserved rest. Shaun drank his warm beer while I ate my energy bar and played around with the panorama settings on my phone.

Looks shorter in panoramavision!

Looks shorter in panoramavision!

took this one while standing in the ocean!

took this one while standing in the ocean!

So, after quenching our thirst, resolving the hangry’s and reapplying suncreen, we started on the long trek back. Lucky for us we had a bit of cloud cover and a breeze on the way back so it wasn’t quite so hot. We made it back to the hostel safe and sound. Needless to say, we both slept very well that night!

Have you ever embarked on a journey that ended up as way more of an adventure then you thought?

Pura Vida!

Kate