Tag Archives: playa grande

A Night to Remember- Stars, Crocodiles And Flaminco Fusion

dave-and-shirleyFlaminco fusion music and the promise of good barbecued seafood and pork had taken us to a restaurant called Seven in Playa Grande during our first week in Costa Rica.  The music by a very talented guitarist who called himself a flaminco fusionist had been great so we decided to return last night taking Paul and Shirley our newly arrived guests. After a day spent in the wind and sun on the beach and a couple of lively competitive euchre games we were ready for a relaxing evening. dave-and-paul-walkingBut first we had to walk the two kilometers to the beach to catch a water taxi. 

waiting-for-the-taxiDave discovered the restaurant would pay for the water taxi to take us across the estuary that lies between Tamarindo where we are staying now and Playa Grande where the restaurant is located. We arrived early for the boat taxi and waited in the setting sun for our ride. shirley-and-horse-manWhile we waited this very fit horseback rider came along and wanted to take us for a ride along the beach. Shirley immediately engaged him in conversation and it wasn’t long before we’d heard his life story. His father was an American linguistics professor who fell in love with his mother a prostitute from Panama. Sounded like it all had an almost fairy tale like ending.shirley-costa-ricaOur new acquaintance, who Shirley and I agreed later looked like one of those long-haired, bare-chested, bronzed men you see on the covers of Harlequin Romance novels, was a devotee of Charles Darwin. His father had taught him all about the pioneering evolutionist. We might have learned more but at that moment……….crocodile

Dave spotted the crocodile. Earlier in the day when Shirley and I had gone for a walk along the beach we had seen a large crocodile near the shore by the water taxi stand. Our husbands were just a little skeptical about our crocodile sighting and later Dave went to take a look and couldn’t see the crocodile. Now here he was! While we chatted with other restaurant patrons who would be joining us in the taxi we kept our eye on the croc. We’d heard crocodiles move fast and this one was pretty close to the shore. 

paul-in-the-boatThe first part of our boat ride was uneventful but then suddenly our water taxi came to an abrupt halt. The lights of the restaurant weren’t that far away but our boat was stuck on the estuary bottom. It was low tide and no matter what Reuben our boat driver did he couldn’t move the boat. We could easily have taken off our shoes and waded to shore at that point but after the crocodile sighting there was no way any of us were putting a toe in that water. We sat there for a long time. Would we be there all night? Finally brave Reuben himself jumped into the water and pushed the boat to shore. don-juanOur waiter’s name at the restaurant was Don Juan and it seemed like it might be one of his first nights on the job. Paul tried to order a martini and gave very detailed instructions for how it should be made. I felt a little sorry for Don Juan whose English skills obviously weren’t great as he tried to repeat Paul’s martini recipe.  After about ten minutes Don Juan returned with the sad news that the bar didn’t make martinis. Paul had to be happy with a beer.singer-at-sevenBefore the flaminco guitarist took to the stage a singer from Boston entertained us. She had been a fellow passenger in the boat taxi and she told the crowd about our exciting ride, the stalled boat, the crocodile and the brave boat driver. Then she dedicated the song The House of the Rising Sun to us, which Paul had mentioned as a favorite of his on the boat ride. She came right over to our table and invited us to sing along with her. meal-at-sevenOur meals arrived and were good. Shirley had ordered red wine and although there were wine glasses on the table Don Juan insisted on serving it in a ‘cup’ which he did. guitarist

Tony the guitarist put on a terrific show although his partner percussionist Roy who performed on our last visit wasn’t there. dave-shirleyAfter dinner we walked back down to the water.  We had a great chat with some fellow water taxi riders about movies we’d liked this past year and then Reuben arrived and we boarded the boat. The water had risen in the last two hours so the ride was smooth. The stars were utterly amazing. Without any electric lights to interfere (including none on the boat which was a little scary but Reuben obviously had gone this route so many times he could literally find his way in the dark) the pitch black sky was absolutely covered in brilliant stars. We arrived back on shore and then started our two kilometer hike home, part of it along the beach in the dark which was another adventure and then through the town of Tamarindo. marylou-shirleyIt was a memorable night. 

Other posts about Paul and Shirley………

Heidelberg Project

Mexican Night

Breakfast in Florida


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Hitting The Bird Watching Jackpot in Costa Rica

bird costa ricaThey were all members of the New Jersey Audubon Society! Yesterday we took our water taxi driver José, up on his offer of a two hour boat ride down the river estuary between Playa Grande and Tamarindo. sand piper costa ricaJosé said he’d take us on the trip for $20 each and since the wildlife tours we’d seen advertised in brochures were around $120 per person we thought it was a pretty good deal even though José doesn’t speak English and his boat needed a paint job. iguana costa ricaJosé showed us pictures of iguanas, crocodiles and howler monkeys as well as local birds to indicate what we’d be seeing on our ride. We agreed to meet José, at 8 o’clock the next morning .

When we arrived at the beach at the appointed time we were surprised to see we’d be sharing our boat with a party of four. But what a serendipitous surprise that turns out to be !

bird watchers costa rica

Our New Jersey birdwatching friends spot a trogan on a hike.

We’d hit the bird watching jackpot! The other two couples are hard core bird watchers, members of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Two of them have state of the art binoculars and bird books. The other two have serious cameras with the longest and biggest lenses you can imagine. grackle costa ricaThey have been studying the birds of Costa Rica for months to prepare for their trip to Central America and are just ending their vacation so by now they know ALL the birds we will see. They tell us Costa Rica has 900 species of birds and so far they have seen 100 lifers in the country. Lifers are birds that a bird watcher is seeing for the first time in their life.
estuary playa grandeSo down the estuary we went and every few minutes our boat mates were excitedly spotting yet another bird, pointing it out so we could see it and try to photograph it. We decided we needed a system, so Dave agreed to take photos while I wrote down the names of all the birds we were seeing. bird costa rica 1Our New Jersey friends were gracious about repeating names of birds and even spelling them for me. They showed us pictures in their bird books of the birds we were spotting along the way, and let us see the amazing photos they took of the birds on their high tech cameras. They even gave Dave tips for taking the bird pictures in this post. We saw………..

heron costa ricaa Hoffman’s Woodpecker, Black-headed Trogon, Mangrove Cuckoo, Yellow Crowned Night Heron, Long Tailed Silky Flycatcher, Orange Fronted Parakeet, Mangrove Yellow Warbler,  Spotted Sandpiper, Black Hawk, Yellow Headed Caracara, Tricolor Heron, Ringed Plover, Great Tailed Grackle, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Wood Stork, Ringed Kingfisher, Brown Pelican, White Ibis, Whimbrel, Boat Billed Heron, doves, osprey, hummingbirds and many more………

crocodile river estuary playa grande costa ricaOf course we also saw the ignanas, crocodiles and howler monkeys José had promised us. 

howler monkey costa rica

Howler monkey napping in a tree.

Cost of a boat ride down the Playa Grande estuary with José, including a bottle of water and a slice of watermelon- $20 USD

selfie-boat-ride-estuary-costa-ricaLesson about the birds of Costa Rica- PRICELESS!

Other posts……..

Architectural Wonders Avian and Human

Alfred Hitchcock – All Those Birds

The Animals of Australia




Filed under Costa Rica, Nature, People

Costa Rica Firsts

under-a-banyan-treeFirst breakfast at a loft restaurant  up in the trees. water-taxi

First water taxi ride with Jose’ to Tamarindo. looking-for-the-grocery-store

First trip to find a grocery store to stock up our fridge and cupboards. smoothies

First mango smoothies- thick with fruit, frosty and delicious!beach-walk-costa-rica

First walk along the beach. Quite a workout through wet sand, a robust wind and carrying heavy pack backs stuffed with cans of soup, beans and tuna, fruit, meat, vegetables, cheese, bread, bottles of wine and other good things. in-the-hammock

First gin and tonic in the hammock. 


swimminginthe-oceanFirst swim in the ocean

Since it was our first dinner in Costa Rica we decided to splurge and went to the lovely Bula Bula resort for a great dinner in a gorgeous tropical setting. 

casa-chamelonFirst day at Casa Chamaleon is over. 
Other posts……
Detour to Costa Rica
Beaching It In the Caribbean 

Sniffing Tobacco For the First Time


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