Thursday, December 12, 2013

Playa Herradura

Playa Herradura is our beach day trip destination. It only takes about 45 minutes to get there from Atenas and it is another beautiful drive. The beach is on the Pacific coast just north of Jacó and in our opinion, is a bit prettier, although more rustic. Jacó tends to be long and flat, with excellent surfing breaks, so Herradura is better for us while the kiddos are young since it is a small bay with calmer waters. It is next to one of the most exclusive resorts in all of Costa Rica, Marriott Los Sueños Ocean & Golf Resort, but that does not take away from the local Tico feel. There is an array of small restaurants on the beach, set back, behind the tree line. The majority of the beachcombers are families parking their cars with coolers and BBQ pits for a great day at the beach. There are several fishing boat Captains anchored just offshore, eagerly waiting at the beach entrance to schedule day fishing trips. We leave early getting there about 8am to get a good spot and are home before the beach traffic on the highway gets rough. The laws in Costa Rica prohibit beach front building so almost all the beaches, Herradura included, have a natural tree and foliage canopy for us gringos to get out of the sun. 
Since I am 8 months pregnant, a day at the beach means lying in my zero gravity lawn chair under the shaded canopy, only interrupted by intermittent floating in the calm waters. The water is clean, perfect temperature, safe to swim and has enough small waves to boogie board or body surf, none of that for me though. We usually just bring a cooler packed with watermelon or sandia, which can be purchased on the way at a bargain price of 6 for 1,000 colones, the equivalent of $2US.
I always make sandwiches paired with pringles, since the sun & fun work up our appetites. Our son Max, whom has never met a stranger, meets the children as soon as we arrive and spends fun-filled hours playing in the waves and building sand castles between kicking the futbol.
Since we always have leftover watermelon, we share slices with the Tico families we meet. Sara usually plays well in the sand, chasing Max and the older kids around, but I still have not figured out which one of us enjoys the beach more than the other.  Yesterday, we even got a show from a pair of Scarlet Macaws. They were loud and rambunctious and since they are so large, you can see them easily from 50+ yards away. We heard rumors of a large Scarlet Macaw habitat somewhere between Jacó and Puntarenas, but to see 2 wild macaws while hanging out on the beach was a real treat. 
Every time we take our day at the beach, often a few times per month, we discuss bringing a small grill and inviting some friends, Tico style. I don't know if it is because I am 8 months pregnant, or because it just seems like heaven, but yesterday, I really wanted some grilled chicken and plantains. It was probably because there was a large group of Ticos next to us grilling and laughing and kicking the ball, sharing the aromas from their grill. We were only there for 4 hours, but during that time, several different carloads of family and friends arrived to add to their fun. I was a little sad that more of our family and friends from Texas could not be there to enjoy this experience with us, but at the same time, I was thinking of some new friends we have met while living in Atenas, Costa Rica to invite next time we plan our day at the beach. While Ticos tend to be more active than Texans and less likely to be sitting around with beers, there were a small group of locals holding cans of Old Milwaukee, oddly enough. My husband reminds me that we always leave saying “man that was a great day at the beach” and the trip is less than his old commute to work. So to quote him and the commercials of the 1980"s, "Where is the Old Milwaukee because, Guys, it doesn’t get any better than this”?

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