Woke at 6am to the sound of Howler Monkeys in the banana trees (how many times in life can you say this?). I walked up to the pool and read the Times online/ updated the blog. By 7am Debbie's mom, Rosemary, walked out of the kitchen with breakfast. Sara emerged, then Debbie with a fruit plate the size of a sheet cake (pineapple, passion fruit, sweet orange, papaya, mango) all from her garden. Then asked, "What would you like for breakfast?" (Breakfast is included each morning, FYI.) We opted for the veggie omelet which appeared shortly with mushrooms, pepper jack, avocado, etc. and toast again on large platter.
Plan for the day: 10:30am yoga at the Nosara Yoga Institute (world-renowned tropical yoga school - see link & pics), beach, lunch....
We talk with Debbie about what she's done to Green (v/t: to make environmentally friendly) Vista del Paraiso. Most of her produce is from the garden. What she can't grow, she buys organic in town. The lighting was replaced with LEDs/solar panels this year. Leftover food is composted either into the garden or given to the birds, dogs, monkeys. She says she's looking for a way to convert her car to run on vegetable oil (as she uses it for cooking in large quantities anyway). Sara said she's going to write up a piece for Ecofacbulous (see link). Costa Rica is a bellwether of an emergent trend in travel, Ecotourism: environmentally friendly, minimally invasive, sustainable travel. (We are staying at a bona-fide Eco resort in the mountains next week.)
Debbie drove us down the hill to rent bikes (10$/day ea.) which there are only 8 places in town to do this. Town is one gravel-road with several congregations of businesses, mostly surf shops, a couple grocery marts, restaurants, real estate, car rentals, in equal proportions: ice creamery (1), bank (1), tattoo parlor (1). You're out of luck, for example, if your TV breaks and you decide to purchase a flatscreen (Rick, welcome to the Big Boys Club!). Out of luck if you want to buy a book. The road is poor, to say the least, and dusty if you happen to share it with a car.
We then biked through town on the footpaths to the Institute. Imagine a white-pebbled pathway through the jungle, then suddenly appears a wood-cathedral. Took a 90-minute Vinyasa yoga class with a woman who's been at the Institute for a year working towards a continued certification (Yoga instructors, like tattoo artists, like doctors take classes then are required to log hours. Sara's certification is a 200-hour certification. Next for her is the 500). The class was slow and focussed on a lot on breathing. I usually prefer them to have more movement, but S says no matter what the class, you emerge the same person. Nonetheless, yoga in the jungle, right?
We wandered around some of the Institute's buildings, took pictures then biked down to the Oasis (see town map) for smoothies (2.000 colones, $4). Signed up for surf lessons for Sunday - if time permits I'll explain why surfing on Sundays is probably the most religious activity on the planet. Then we biked the block to Playa Guiones, stripped out of our gear and hopped into the ocean (Air temp: 80 degrees. Water temp: 75 degrees). We played. The travel books all say Guiones is one of, if not The best beach for beginner surfers in CR. The waves are medium-sized, they break consistently to the left.
Then we biked back to VdP, up the gigantic hill (for the PNWers: Chuckanut Mountain; for everyone else: steep) about 2miles. Truth be told, we walked most of it. The bikes we rented are cruisers (fat tires, no gears) and best suited for the gravel roads in town. Best suited for PAVED roads, but ok. We saw a couple more EE-WHANAS, though too quick to get on camera.
Back at VdP I grabbed sodas from the fridge & we plunged into the pool. Sara remained poolside, I napped at the cabina. On the way up to dinner we hear this sound like wind rustling through the trees, but when we look up a family of Howler Monkeys is leaping from branch to branch, knocking leaves onto the roof of the cabina. Howler Monkey: see, Costa Rica's largest primate, measuring 24". We watch as the family navigates un-jumpable distances on threadlike branches. Tonight I'm having the chicken. Sun is setting.