On Monday, while the rest of the world commuted to work, myself and the team journeyed to the coast for a much needed vacation. Our schedule here is different in that we don’t have weekends or full days off. We have pockets of free time here and there, but normally, a large portion of our day is dedicated to the monkeys in some way. As you can imagine, doing this for 10-12 months straight would probably leave us all dead of cabin fever. As we’d like to not die of that this field season, we’ve constructed a schedule that allows us to a take vacations once a month for the next 10-12 months. So in exchange for a traditional weekend, I will be taking once-a-month trips around Central America for the rest of the year – you know, for health reasons.
For our first official trip, we decided to journey to a beach town about an hour south of Santa Rosa called Potrero. At first, we thought our AirBnB was in Coco beach, then Flamingo beach, then when we arrived, we discovered it was actually in Potrero (hence the title of this post). Our original plan was to take several bus transfers that would eventually end up somewhere in Potrero. Instead, a taxi driver offered to take us (5 people) in a 4-person car for $40 USD while in line at the bus station. We said ok and were off. It wasn’t until he turned around and announced we’d be “taking a shortcut” and jostled the car onto a dirt road for 30 minutes that I thought maybe we’d been taken, but in the end we arrived to our destination safe and sound.
Our Airbnb was a villa owned by a french woman who’s accommodations offered a small pool, a 10 minute walk to the beach, and the top floor to ourselves. It also boasted 2 German Shepherds and a few cats who liked to chill with us around the pool, so all in all we felt like royalty.
Once we arrived, we were a little early for check-in (when I say “a little early”, I mean by 4 hours). Starving and dusty from our dirt road “shortcut”, we ventured with bags in tow to the beach, and found a Tico-owned lunch spot along the water.
After lunch, we checked into our villa, stripped to our swimsuits, and lounged by the pool for the next few hours. A state I had been dreaming about in the hot sweaty jungle for the past month and a half. We later headed to the beach, drank cerveza, and watched my second sunset over the Pacific.
After watching the sunset, we had dinner at a nearby bar called La Perlas . The food was great, and they offered good deals on drinks, plus we had a fun waiter named Michael who weirdly disappeared at the end of the night (seriously where did he go? #findMichael2017). It was very much a bar catered to expats, and there was country music playing in the background, as well as live music later that evening. Karaoke was offered on Tuesday nights, which we took full advantage of the following evening.
The next day, I began drinking at 7am. We made mimosas, threw Baily’s in our coffee, whatever we could think to make our healthy breakfast drink “fun”. Halfway through making french toast, we realized we forgot to buy butter, and Sruti and myself ventured to the nearby market to purchase some. On the way back, we found an Adventure Tour outlet and decided to stop in and see what they offered. The owner said, “well at 2pm we leave for our Catamaran sunset cruise. It includes open bar, taxi to the dock, lunch, snorkeling and kayaking, and sunset views around the cove, I’ll give you a deal of $75 USD per person.” Honestly, he had us at “open bar”, and at 1:40pm we were off to Playa Flamingo to board the Lazy Lizard for an evening of drinking and boating (safe combo? depends, fun combo? always). Unfortunately I do not have any photos of our Lazy Lizard adventures. The only camera I have here is an iphone, and we were drinking and sailing on the Pacific and I didn’t want to risk this. I will tell you that it was fun and beautiful and the open bar was equivalent to this episode of How I Met Your Mother – zero exaggeration. I would highly highly highly recommend Lazy Lizard Sailing tours if you ever find yourself in the Potrero/ Flamingo area.
Fueled with enough alcohol from the boat, we decided to venture back to La Perlas for karaoke, which I regrettably (yet understandably) also do not have photo evidence of. Nightlife in Potrero featured more live music and expats from all over the US and Canada, and we met gringos from all walks of life who were living abroad and working in Costa Rica for various reasons. All in all, our second day in Potrero was the best, and it was nice feeling like a tourist for once and a little less like a jungle rat.
Our 3rd and final day, we decided to take a taxi to Brasilito, another beach town that boasted a number of tourist and souvenir shops along the beach. There, I bought my first souvenir of the season as well as a few gifts for family and friends.
After shopping in Brasilito, we headed home to Santa Rosa, where we are now relaxed and ready to conquer March. Next up is our visa run to Nicaragua, but until then, we have several days of work (and hopefully more adventures to post about!) in the weeks to come. It’s not for everyone, but if you find yourself in charge of your own work schedule, I encourage you to try taking a monthly vacation in exchange for a traditional weekend. It gives you something to work toward, not to mention an excuse to travel. And if you can, try squeezing in a Catamaran sunset cruise with an open bar or two – you know, for health reasons.