Last full vacation day in Costa Rica. And what an interesting day too. We get up and pack before breakfast, sad that our schedule won’t include the waterfalls here. We get some fruit and toast plus eggs for breakfast plus really good coffee- it’s Costa Rica after all. John also adds beans and rice- a staple here. An iguana nested in a tree watches us eat.We do get stopped by police about 5 minutes from town. They check our passports, driver’s license thoroughly and then send us on our way. They really are being strict about the 3 months on tourist visits and driver’s license
NOTE: Even though we now have a paper that states we are in process of residency that allows us to stay without the 3 month run for the border- it does not apply to drivers’ licenses. This is a result of the many DUI dirt bags that obtained CR licenses and then used them in the US when their driving privileges in the States were revoked.
In Jaco- which is large and a tad seedy around the edges but much nicer than Tamarindo oddly enough- we see Ja’nelle and her Canadian associate Stephanie. We give them our info and Ja’nelle is not worried about finding an Esterillos Oeste property if we should choose to settle there. More info- like the fact that Panama requires a return air ticket and proof of owning $500 in cash for any one doing the border run for perpetual tourist or driver’s license purposes but there’s a travel agent in Jaco who will book a flight that is paid for, and then upon return cancels the flight and refunds all for a $10 fee. Smart marketing as she probably gets more business from the folk that way.
We finish and try to pop into Theatro Jaco to see the theatre space where we hear they are teaching kids classes and also presenting plays in English, but they were busy so we couldn’t see it. Back towards Esterillos checking out some very rocky points that are surf spots but the tide will be better at sunset so we decide to try to find this micro brewery that is near Parrita that we read about in Trip Advisor. If you are not a member of Trip Advisor you should be. It’s free and there’s great forums and reviews by real people.
We read that this brewery, PerroVida, serves beer at the entrance to Rainmaker Park so with no other information on location other than its between Parrita and Quepos, 7 KM off the Costanera Highway, we take a stab at turning up the dirt road marked “Rainmaker” plus “Paintball Park”. Dirt road that runs along palm plantations starts to climb uphill where we pass little towns- defined by a soccer field, a bar, a school and a church. Period. We later learn that all a small community has to do is build a school and they get funding from the government.
We find the big arch gate to Rainmaker Park after passing the Paintball Park. Theres two small white buildings on either side, then parking area leading up to a big ad there’s a big open air lodge. We see a Perro Vida sign in the lodge- the micro brewery we are searching for. A cute gal with dreads asks if she can help and we say we are looking for PerroVida and she says “Well you found us. That’s right here.” She pours us frosty mugs of their dark beer, Black Betty, and it is amazing. True this may be because we’ve been only drinking the local stuff, Imperial, that is pretty weak and lacks flavors, but this stuff is incredible. They are cooking castado lunch there for the hikers that are due back any minute and a Tico cook tells us it is $5 per person, serve yourself. Its rice con pollo, beans, cabbage salad and cooked squash plus lemonade. We pay the money and eat up, chatting to the returning hikers and the beer mistress Kaitlyn. Turns out the $5 includes the beer and we marvel at a food bargain!
Next trip must include the hike as we learn it takes a few hours and includes more animal life than can be seen in Manual Antonio by far and a swim in waterfalls. It’s $20 for the guided hike and the lunch- WITH BEER. It’s $15 to wander the park on your own ($4 for Nationales). Kyle, the brew master, and wife Kaitlyn are raising three boys in the small white house at the entrance and brewing beer in the other building. We are offered a tour. Oh yes, please.
It’s a very small Mom and Pop. Kaitlyn keeps saying they are humble. Humble schmumble. This is really good beer and one taste at the brew house of the Mastiff, Black Betty’s Bigger Badder Brother, and I could just pitch a tent right here for our retirement. Kyle tells us they lucked out on an estate sale for the vats and equipment and they use natural spring water from the rainforest. If you’re planning a trip- skip Manuel Antonio tours and just go here. You won’t be sorry!
I sleep all the way back to Esterillos. There is some serious alcohol content in that brew! We get a room at the weird empty Walt Paraiso for the night when there’s nothing available down by the beach except for a very suspect room at La Serena.
Down to the beach for a late afternoon session. I’m not much of a reef surfer so I decide to just snap pictures. There is a local with his baby surfing and it’s the seriously cutest thing I’ve ever seen!
’m with. I point at John and he says “Man, that guy can surf. Where are you from?”
We chat until John comes out and talk some more. His name is Rich and he’s a chiropractor from the California Bay area. He tells us to eat at Los Almendros that night, arguably the best restaurant in town.
This is no lie! We each order a fish special and they run $12 and $11 each. Tons of food and really interesting Caribbean/Costa fusion. Rich joins us for part of the meal and we also see the other folk we have met in this quaint town. He is sold on this surf break and town and though we like it, it’s not our favorite surf.
That night at our weird deserted hotel which is apparently under re-construction, John isn’t happy about the door not having a double lock so he shoves some of the rickety furniture and TV in front of the door. This is such a nice property but its just odd. I hope the remodel gives it new life and a new vibe. Needless to say, it’s a rickety night of sleep to accompany the state of the furniture. Tomorrow we get fingerprinted in San Jose.