With our friend from Oregon visiting a few weeks ago, we decided to explore some new Costa Rican territory. My husband Andy and I have driven most of this country in the last 18 months, so we get excited at the thought of new roads. Packing up the car, the bumpy adventure begins and we head toward the town of Golfito.
Golfito, meaning "Little Gulf", is a port town in the Southern Pacific section of the country, near the Panama border. It is located within the larger Golfo Dulce, and the only thing separating this town from the open Pacific Coast is the Osa Peninsula. Famous for it's remote beaches, this area of Costa Rica is a surfer's paradise. Once you pass the town of Golfito you can choose between two beach destinations: Playa Pavones or Playa Zancudo.
Choosing Playa Pavones, known for being the longest left wave in the world, we only pause to admire the glowing, blue water and lush, green jungle along our drive.
Pavones is a charming, authentic Costa Rican town lacking the typical swarms of tourists that pack most popular destinations in this country. It is a small and remote surfing village, located along 10 miles of beaches which line the pure, crystal clear Golfo Dulce.
Parking our car in front of the police station, we stop to admire a pair of macaws munching on almonds in a tree above us. The "policia" stare at us with amusement, just as we stare at the macaws.
Off in the distance, not far from the police station, a surfer slowly puffs on a joint while evaluating the waves, his surfboard resting under his arm. We lazily stroll along a paved, winding path through a rustic, wooded beachfront park, peacefully absorbing the super chill vibe of this laid-back beach town.
Exploring the streets, we marvel over the vibrant works of art on every corner. I fall in love with a unique hand-painted mural of the local wildlife. I want to step inside and live there forever...
And a colorful, crafty sign of the small town of Pavones is too adorable not to stop and photograph.
Playa Pavones is one of the most desolate and remote surfing destinations in Costa Rica, and takes hours to reach no matter where you begin. It is a special place, and maybe in part because it is so difficult to reach. The sand is untouched and humans are the minority.
With a large and consistent surf, and a rocky shore, this famous, world class wave break is best left to the professionals. The best time of year to surf this break is between April and October, when the waves are at their peak and you can ride one for up to 3 minutes. Typical wave length here averages between 400-900 meters during these peak months.
Parking our car along the shore, we get sucked into a time vortex. The minutes melt into hours, as we are mesmerized by the young surfers ripping up the legendary wave.
A big wave break can result in big falls, resulting in some killer wipeout photos.
As the surfers tire, so do we. We move on with our road trip and as the late afternoon sun blankets the world in a magical glow, we pull into one last photo spot. A rocky cliff, with rugged stairs leading to the top, brings you to a breath-taking view point, nestled between two palm trees.
The sweeping, panoramic ocean view from the top of the rock is surreal, and life looks like a painting...
Our last stop is to photograph a sign that makes us all smile and gives us an appropriate reminder.
"Siempre Domingo" means "Always Sunday", which is a way of life in Costa Rica, and another way of saying "Pura Vida". No one knows what day it is around here, so every day is treated like Sunday.
With the sun beginning to descend, we turn around and head home. A wonderful day of exploring new beaches, towns and scenery, shared with good company, now behind us in the rearview mirror, but forever inside our souls.
Just another Sunday in the land of pura vida...
Kari Pinkerton Silcox
It would be a tragedy to die, having never really lived. Which is why my husband Andy and I quit our jobs, sold our house and decided to chase our dreams. We moved to Costa Rica without a plan, and this is the story of our adventure.