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Puerto Viejo Round 2, Santa Teresa, May 2019 & Why we went back to the US

After our rather isolating time in Tilaron, we headed back to Puerto Viejo, not sure of what to do next.

This time we stayed in a two-bedroom apartment with one of the worst internet speeds this far in our travels. We have had times when storms would know the wifi out and we would have to upload proof to our company about why we couldn't make it to our classes that morning. In this case, it was kind of a lack of preparation in ensuring there was high enough speeds. How we got around it was every time the web would be too slow for one of us, we would turn on a wifi hotspot on a local sim card to get us through class. Not the best, but it definitely worked. We also generally prefer to use wired connections to avoid beams being shot at our brains and vital organs but the wifi hotspot got us through nonetheless! This time in PV we also experienced an extra-high amount of hustling going on. Maybe it was because of Semana Santa, but people were coming out of the woodwork to sell Daniel all kinds of expensive tinctures and various things that no one needs. I also got hustled on the way to PV from Tilaron. I was headed there alone and determined to make the trip smoothly. I stayed one night in San Jose (using Airbnb and Uber so I couldn't get scammed). It was a really nice Airbnb actually and had a nice little view of the mountains and city .

The next day at the bus stop, I was trying to buy my ticket and was getting a bit of the run around, having to go from one booth to another, and it was clear that the bus station was very busy due to Semana Santa. I got approached my MANY taxistas and it wore down my resistance a bit. Eventually I start talking to one of them for a longer time and he assured me that all the buses were full and that the only way I could get to PV in one day (and not have to stay the night in Limon (the most gang-ridden city in CR, and also the city with the best pollo frito), was to hire him as a private cab to a city slightly outside of Limon a few hours away. I was impatient and desperate, and I had way too many pounds of luggage yet again, so I gratefully let him load me up and take me away. A few minutes down the road I realized that he was going to charge me a lot. I had to take out nearly all I had in liquid at the time at an atm (a few hundred) to cover the cost, and he dropped me a few hours through the jungle in an outer area and I had to navigate my way to the main bus station of this random city (no Ubers outside the capital.) Through a combination of speaking broken Spanish to people, going from one booth to another, and powering through the smells of fried chicken, I was able to get on the last bus to Limon of the night. There was an easy bus to go from Limon to PV within a few hours but as soon as I got off and was approached by multiple taxistas I gave in on about the second the person and just let them charge me another hundred to take me right to the door where Daniel met me.

Don't travel in CR during Semana Santa.

During this second visit in PV we found a whole system of trails parallel to the beach and the main road that we were unaware of before. Score!

There was also a shipwreck on the coast and it reminded me of a wrecked ship that some people had turned into a bar and then abandoned.

So now we were really a bit distraught, and running out of money as we kept having turns or luck and not making the best choices. Envision had gave us so much to chew on, but it also made us aware of a lot of injustices taking place just inherent in the very nature of the tourism industry in CR in general. We started feeling out of place, and decided to go one last place to see if we could find a peaceful yoga community that didn't try to extract every cent from us out of sheer necessity. We had heard lots of good things about Santa Teresa, and despite it being a couple legs of bus and a ferry ride away, we found a cheap Airbnb with decent internet and we were on our way.

Santa Teresa is probably an amazing place for many people. I've also heard a lot of good things about Nosara and I know there are yoga TTs there, but we never made it out, I don't know if it was just everything we had been through, but a lot of aspects that ordinary "gringos" would go crazy for just made us really uncomfortable. It was like a playground for tourists, who would whizz by on four-wheelers on the dirt road, spewing dust in the eyes of a local or indigenous person who was dutifully walking to work in a foreign-owned restaurant serving "international" cuisine. Maybe it was the Americans on the bus who were chatting about their amazing time but how they never left the resort. It was just a culmination of everything we knew and learned to this point, and looking in the local eyes and not being seen as another human being, and, because of how a lot of people act, we couldn't blame them a bit. Maybe it was because somewhere that's known for being a yoga or surf retreat is, for many people, just an escape from the problems in their lives that they can't put down the real work to resolve inside. We saw cultures and families being disintegrated, literally family homes being bulldozed and sanctioned off, and the younger generation of Ticos being groomed to a life of catering to foreigners. Plus, our Airbnb smelled horrible and was grossly unkempt. I think we ended up just straight walking out on that rental and headed back for the U.S. to spend time with family.

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