Long overdue post, but consistent wifi has been tough. Here is the tentative travel.
Costa Rica, Dominical Beach
Santiago > Punta Arenas
January 27 3:35pm Arrive
Punta Arenas > Punta Natales (Torres del Paine entrance)
Torres Del Paine “W” & “O” Circuit
Exit Feb 6th
Workaway.com @ Coyhaique, Patagonia - Tourism/Agriculture/Activity Startup
"sustainable development tourism startup that's dedicated to bringing adventure tourists to Coyhaique and providing local children with leadership, teamwork, sports and outdoor activities. We're partnered with a beautiful fishing lodge, where our headquarters are located."
I’m finishing this in Santiago, Chile from my good friend Darren Hammond’s 9th story apartment. More on Santiago later. Back to Costa Rica.
Our Group -
2 weeks ago, 6 people had never shared a moment in a single room together. Saturday, we each part ways, traveling 6,900 miles in exactly opposite directions of the world. After building such tight bonds 24 hours a day for 7 days then going ‘cold turkey’, its a tough feeling. Major withdrawls. Trips like these really build a good relationship into a great, long term one. We organized the trip to a 5,000 sqft house in the Domincalito Hills late in December. From the first airport drinks, I knew we had a cohesive group! It reminded me of the 2007 Europe trip, 2013 Colombia trip (photos here) and the 2014 Croatia trip (photos here). Those groups were comprised of my childhood friends, college friends and some of their friend's. We emerged out of those as very close friends. Exploring together, growing together and looking after eachother. Things pick right back up whenever these groups get back together and this group will be no different when we have a reunion back in SF to eat Empanadas and drink Ron Colas.
A typical day
Planned activity (hike/beach/zipline/snorkel/scuba) then return to watch the sunset at our house, listen to music, make drinks and cook a family meal. One night, we opted to watch the sunset at Playa Tortuga (more on that beach below).
Costa Rica - Dominical (South Pacific)
In recent years, Costa Rica’s tourism industry has grown to around $2.6B annually up ~9% from 2013. 67.5% of international arrivals came from North American countries, followed by Europe at 16.5% and South America at 6.9%. Their steady surf, remote beaches, scuba/snorkeling, jungle activities, wildlife and world renown fishing are amongst the main attractions.
The Costa Rican’s personality is as welcoming as their untouched beaches. This place defies most stereotypes of tropical places with stubborn locals treating tourists negatively. Here, they welcome you with open arms. Practice their English, while you practice your Spanish.
Beaches - We recommend beach hopping and discover the many untouched beaches without agenda...
Playa Dominical - street vendors line are the last defense to the active beach ahead. Certainly the most active and a launch pad for activities around Domincal and Uvita. We decided to just drive and pull of on smaller beaches heading south toward Uvita and found our favorite after a couple, Playa Tortuga.
Playa Tortuga - Not for its surf - but for its untouched sands, fresh coconuts and shallow water lounge for sunset watching (or photo shoots ;). I would later meet the paraglider in the airport bar after they saw me editing photos and recognized their parachute. Nice pair of paragliding pilots!
Here is a gallery, click to expand to full screen -----
The Costa Rican people - The Costa Rican’s personality is as welcoming as their empty beaches. Them and Colombians have to be the most friendly foreigner's I’ve ever met in their home country. This excites me for the rest of this journey through South America. One of my closest buddies, Matt Gosnell, said it best “…This is very exciting. The world is your oyster. Take it a day at a time, meet as many people as you can, and don’t be inhibited. As you know people in LatAm are incredibly inviting and will have you in their home. Put yourself out there as much as possible. Skype with me along the way, its going to be one hell of a journey...” Matt received his International Relations Masters in Bogota, Colombia and was the lynchpin to the 2013 Colombia trip.
There is no fear of too much tourism and it doesn’t alter their approach to interactions with visitors. They thrive off it in order to welcome us, educate us on their culture and learn from us as well. Their children are some of the most joyful, playful and curious as well. I'm not sure why the average age is one of the lowest in the world (maybe Baby Boomer generation). You always get your mix of tourists. Those who take…and then those who give twice as a way of showing thank you for being a part of the land/experience and their culture. In Los Suenos you have about 90% takers. In Dominical, and the smaller towns you have a majority of givers (from what we saw).
One example of this: Our group was conscious of the caretakers of our house (Jose his wife and their two daughters). The past renters of Mar y Luna would wake them up at 1am if they needed something. One of the perks of the Mar y Luna is that for a small amount of $, you can have a home cooked local meal prepared by Jose and his wife. We decided to invite them over as their 6 and 9 year old daughters for dinner and post dinner games. It was apparent to us (and Jose confirmed) that no other guests had invited the caretakers over to join them for dinner. It was very apparent they enjoyed the invite as you will see from the photos. Dice games, El Wire jump roping, shake faces and gifts to end the evening. The power went out later that night and Jose was able to use the new headlamp I gave him. After dinner they gave us a tour of their home.
Quality of Life - Pura Vida- In Costa Rica it is "live to work" vs "work to live". The ongoing question of balance. [another entry will be dedicated to just this and will have a few stories from these folks we met]. Pura Vida is on buildings and spoken in every casual greeting. Literal meaning is “Pure Life” or slang for “Everything’s cool".
Other Travelers -
Meeting others along your trip and keep in touch usually is everyone’s secret passion for traveling. If people from 2 sides of the world find themselves at a small beach in a foreign country because they’ve done their research and they value travel…..well they are bound to have a mutual respect for one another. From there its curiosity and learning of eachothers cultures. Language barrier aside, each party is usually as curious and motivated to bridge that gap. It never impedes on the success of the interaction and long term contact.
The solo journey has begun and will be certainly more challenging, but more rewarding and self-building in the end. It is the isolation from the routine I need in this introspective transition. I’ve got a mix of planned and unplanned itinerary starting in Santiago with my good friend Darren Hammond, then make my way to southern Chile to Patagonia (Torres Del Paine). I hope to get some quality time fly-fishing, taking photos and meeting other travelers.
“You do not grow on a secure path. All of us should conquer something in life. It needs a lot of work, it needs a lot of risk. To grow and improve you need to be there at the edge of uncertainty.” -?
Also a side note. I created a calendar for some family members over the holidays and others expressed interest to purchase. I've included the purchase information on the About page.