Sámara, Costa Rica.

Sámara, Costa Rica.


 
Day six of our adventure was a meandering-around, mostly lazy kind of day. Three events in particular made it fantastic, though: 1) Our trip to La Selva Wildlife Refuge in neighboring Playa Carillo, 2) Lily and Alex at Camp Aloha, and 3) a celebrity sighting!!

While sitting on the porch at Casa del Mar in the early morning hours, my day started with some monstrously loud animal noises which I could only imagine came from a howler monkey. I had never heard one but reasoned, “What the hell else can that be?” It sounded somewhat like a pig squealing, only much deeper and more jungle-y. And not at all squealy. I looked over the railing but I couldn’t see anything. (It was a howler monkey; I saw and heard them later in the trip.)

Totally excited about hearing this creature since Priscila still hadn’t seen any monkeys on this trip. But with the wildlife refuge on the agenda for later that morning, she would see them then, no doubt. After getting a little coffee and doing some work in the lounge, Priscila made her way down, we ate some delicious made-to-order breakfast from the menu and began getting ready for the day ahead.

Checking out the salon in Sámara.

Checking out the salon in Sámara.


 
After walking around Sámara a bit, we headed up to the main road which goes over to Playa Carillo. Hopped on the local bus and rode it just over the bridge at the far end of Playa Carillo before getting off. From there, it was a short walk, following the signs, to the refuge just up the road.

La Selva Wildlife Refuge

"Did you get the face?"  Close enough.

“Did you get the face?” Close enough.


 
I feel really awful about this but I can’t remember the name of the woman who runs La Selva Wildlife Refuge. An incredibly sweet lady who guided us through the grounds, filling us in on her work there, the history of the refuge, the individual cases of all of the animals as well as details on the species, and so on. Super friendly. While she was with us, Priscila was able to pet some of the animals, even though they’ve got a large sign at the front advising not to touch them. (By the way, you really shouldn’t interact with animals in the wild. For a long list of reasons.)

Oddly enough, it was immediately after leaving the wildlife refuge that we spotted a giant male howler monkey in the wild. Like I said, I had never seen them before and the males are enormous. We stopped to watch as he mosied off into the distance. Neat.

Playa Carillo, Costa Rica.

Playa Carillo, Costa Rica.


 
Playa Carillo was somewhat surreal. Another gorgeous Costa Rican beach but completely and totally devoid of people. There are no discernible local businesses located behind the beach. In fact, with the exception of a farm, I don’t think we saw anything else. While waiting on the bus, a dog and a horse kept us company.

Too close for your closeup!

Too close for your closeup!


 
Hello there.

Hello there.


 
Back in Sámara, we stopped in to get a beverage at a local shop:
Period.

Period.


 
Peculiar side note: My experience thus far in Costa Rica has been that women will mention that they’re having their period as casually as they’ll talk about the weather. I don’t know if it’s just the women I’ve met or if it’s a cultural difference. Certainly, listing an energy drink for menstruation on a menu isn’t something you’d see in a lot of places in the US.

And then we grabbed lunch at the soda behind the hotel. The ceviche was entirely delicious AND refreshing.
Mmmmmmm....

Mmmmmmm….


 
Sometime after lunch we decided to go for a walk to the north end of the beach. The beach, especially at either end, is so naturally astounding. Primordial. Little mysteries of marine life abound. After soaking in its beauty from the grandiose views to the miniature sea creatures, we started to walk back. Just after the rather large estuary, we looked up toward the houses on the beach. There was a large plot of land that looked like it had buildings on it but we couldn’t make out what it was exactly. Curious, we walked up to inspect.

A million little paths of a million little creatures.

A million little paths of a million little creatures.

Bar Aloha, Alex and Lily

Walking up, what we found was Bar Aloha, a very nondescript tent campground. Nothing really stood out about it but in a few moments, both of us would be so glad that we decided to take a closer look. As we walked into the campground, we spotted an older man sitting down in the distance. We said hello and made our way over to where he was. He introduced himself as Alex and as we talked, he remained busy carving wood. Beside him was a small little xylophone which he had been working on. Soon, his wife Lily came out and, as with everywhere Priscila and I went, we immediately sunk into another extremely pleasant conversation.

(I include myself in the list of participants in the conversation because I was an awesome listener and would sometimes say things. Mostly “Sí.” And “Serio?” It counts.)

Alex at work.

Alex at work.


 
I cannot begin to describe how wonderful this moment was. This was another one of the times during the trip that I was so grateful for Priscila and her Spanish. By myself, this moment wouldn’t have happened as it did. After showing us some of his handiwork, Alex eventually pulled the case off of a massive xylophone that he had made. I’m always impressed by artisans and what Alex crafted here was a masterful piece of work. Just beautiful. Here is a picture.
Handcrafted.  Even the mallets.

Handcrafted. Even the mallets.


 

But that wasn’t the biggest one. No, not at all. He uncovered that next and then… Then this happened:

We talked some more, laughed some more, and eventually said our goodbyes. Right before leaving, though, I purchased a hand-carved wooden man holding a Costa Rica flag. My father, in his retirement, has taken to woodcarving (small figurines of people, mostly). Nearly every time I skype with my folks, my dad runs off into some hidden part of the house, grabs a carving he’s working on, and brings it back to show me. So in the conversation that night, I was excited to share with him a hand-carved little wooden man from Costa Rica.

Lily, Priscila, Alex

Lily, Priscila, Alex

It’s a nice little reminder of a good moment in time, the wooden man. It was such an unexpected surprise, walking up to a place we knew nothing of and finding not just this incredible woodwork but also two very lovely, lovely people. Alex and Lily were so gracious and kind. Good people.

The Hoff

In the evening, Priscila and I hopped about from bar to bar as we had the previous night, retiring back to the hotel relatively early. “Somewhat” smashed and unusually hungry, I was sent out to acquire food stuffs. It turned into a long mission, actually, since it was after 10pm and I would learn that the mini-super next door closes at that hour. Remembering that Zen Den served food, I ended up walking over there, ordering a burger, and waiting (not long) until it was ready. Pleased with going above and beyond for the mission, I headed back to the hotel, burger AND drinks in hand. Back at the hotel, I was applauded for my efforts after which time we quickly split and descended upon the burger.

Now… Yes, I was inebriated. But that was pretty much the best burger of my entire life! I included an exclamation mark in that sentence just to drive the point home. Don’t ask me what was in it. Terry, the eye-catching bartender at Zen Den (rowr!), had suggested it and I was all like, “Okay, that sounds good” trying to be all nonchalant and smoov and stuff. But holy hell, that thing was insanely good! It tasted like free range unicorn smothered in rainbow and sandwiched between buns!* I don’t know. But It. Was. Delicious.

In fact, it was so delicious that one of us (and I won’t say which one but it was totally Priscila**) ended up channeling the Hoff. So in addition to all of the awesomeness of Sámara, I had a celebrity sighting!

A perfect end to another great day in Sámara. I dig that town, I do.

The Next Leg of the Trip

The next morning, we were planning to leave for Malpais which is why we retired early. The upcoming part of our trip was going to be a serious pain in the butt because of the route we would have to take. We already knew that it was going to take us forever by bus and we weren’t at all mentally ready for it. Even with our bellies full of unicorn. So off to sleep and then we’d get up and go.

Photos!!!

Links to the galleries for all of the photos to date from these areas. Sámara, Playa Carillo, and La Selva Wildlife Refuge (cute animal photos!!!)


* Little known fact: Unicorns are a super-food. Free range unicorn offers the most health benefits with magic in every bite. NEVER eat canned.

** It wasn’t Priscila. It was me. And hot damn, I’m a sexy beast when I’m eating burgers!

About the Author

Hello, I'm Scott. I take photos. Do things. Whatnot. Mixed Digital Media Artist.

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