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Growing New Roots: Jaco - Paquera

Aug 16, 2021

Namaste Cosmic Family!

It has been four weeks since the last post... and despite the expectation that life would be much slower (since quitting our jobs, and going on this freedom quest), a lot of things happen every day! It is hard to keep up remembering all the little or big adventures, hence this blog is in some way our diary, where we can document those moments that can easily be put aside from our memories. It seems that living in a moment, with no schedules, no work meetings, and no friends/family commitments shrink your brain’s RAM memory, as staying in the present is the best option!

When we made it to our $10 per night hostel in Jaco, we quickly realised that this was a very touristy town mainly attracting surfers from all over the world. We could not really afford the surfing lessons, or hiring the surfboards, so we used our time there to rest and recover from the long ride on the busy roads.

At this point, I was quite determined to fit in the e-bike kit on my bike, to help me to cope better with the hills however, Lee and the bike shop guy advised me that this was not a smart idea, since the battery would weigh another 13kg, and if I had no access to charging, I would have to carry even more load with my own legs!

My dream of pimping up my bike came crashing down…but I accepted it.

The only improvement that we had done, was changing my bike’s sprocket to a much bigger one, which would make pedalling on hills a little easier.

In search of some free/cheap accommodation, we decided to advertise ourselves on social media, saying that we are a couple of wanderlusts from England, who are travelling Costa Rica by bike, and we are looking for people to lend us a free room or a garden patch to camp.

There was one Facebook group that kicked us out for supposedly breaking the “covid rules”, but on the other group, we had a fairly positive response!

Several people replied, offering us somewhere to stay in various locations. It seems like being a wanderlust is still admired in the era of overly exaggerated safety and risk averseness pushed down our throats by societal programming.

I got a private message from Wilma, the Dutch woman, who left her comfy=stressful life in Holland, and along with her Tico husband Franco, and their children, started a new dream in a form of a campsite in Paquera, in the province of Puntarenas.

She offered us to stay on their land, as long as we had our own tent!

We did not think twice, and the next day we set off on a 45km ride to Puntarenas to catch a ferry to Paquera.

The ride was long but fairly smooth on a flat, asphalt road. Even for me, it was fairly manageable with my heavy bags. The ferry crossing was a nice break for our tired bums, and a feast for our eyes to enjoy the beautiful scenery, whilst munching some yuca crisps with the refried beans on the viewing deck.

Eventually, the ferry docked, and after a 45 minutes ride, we arrived at Wilma and Franco’s place.

We were welcomed by the roars of the howling monkeys, who literally sounded like King Kong! Also, on the ground, thousands of little crayfish (a type of crab) were popping their orange heads in and out, which was a delightful sight! We were shown that we could set up our tent in their big volunteer’s tent, and this way we were protected from the rain, insects, and more importantly from the falling coconuts!

We could use the campsite shower, eco-toilets and the makeshift outdoor kitchen, as they have not yet built a house for themselves (Story for another day).

What more could we want? We were exhausted, happy and grateful. Later that evening, Wilma had offered us some rice, beans, and sausage for dinner, to save us from going to the supermarket in the dark. We gobbled it up, like two hungry gnomes!

As we built trust between each other, halfway through our stay, we were offered to move to their luxury glamping tent, which had amazing features such as a real bed, a mosquito net, a coffee machine, and a kettle...and even the fans to keep us cool.

Although for most people living in their comfy houses these are the things taken for granted, for us it was like an upgrade to a five-star hotel! We loved it! 😁

Staying somewhere for more than two or three nights allows us to relax more. We stayed with Wilma for two full weeks, to breathe, to be lazy at the beach, to go for little kayak excursions to the Tortuga island, or a hike to a secret waterfall that only the locals know how to find!

It allowed us to slow down, to feel closer to nature, closer to people who hosted us, closer to each other, and Mother Earth in general.

It was important for us to grow some roots in one place, as it gave us a small sense of feeling at home, and belonging to our newly created family!

A small side note here, that thanks to the local knowledge of our hosts, we were able to visit the waterfall that is not even on google maps. It was so hard to find that It took us two attempts on two different days to be able to find it!

We eventually got there on a Tuesday afternoon, and since the place was deserted, we decided to strip completely, and connect with the flowing waters of Mother Earth and surrounding rocks as nature intended: completely naked!

Secret waterfalls

Swimming in the bubbling, jacuzzi-like waters falling down from a twenty-meter rock felt like a re-birth!

We were also invited for a kayak sea fishing trip, and although we are not keen fish/seafood eaters anymore (for ethical reasons), we reluctantly agreed to join Franco and Dixie (the volunteer) for the afternoon of fishing, because we wanted to feel the experience of going fishing with the locals more than to eat a load of fish.

Lee was actually unsure about this due to his previous efforts of sustainable living. After a short chat, we both thought that this would be more sustainable than the fishing ships. However, we learned that for two months a year they do ban fishing, which in our opinion isn't really enough due to the extent of overfishing in the world. We wanted the experience and only took what we needed.

When we returned from the fishing adventure, we got our hands dirty by helping to scrape and gut the fish, and the final reward was to enjoy eating the fish with some boiled yuca together by the fire. This food was earned by an honest day of work, the fish was caught in the same way as the ancient fisherman did.

In some way I felt like reconnecting with my ancestors through this activity, without them, I would not be here now.

Now, this experience is ticked on our list, we continue to minimise our fish consumption to near-zero levels.

If you are a typical tourist, you usually would be expected to pay around fifty dollars for any activity in Costa Rica: dolphins watching, surfing class, swimming with plankton, or a hike to a waterfall.

We, on the other hand, love the experiences offered to us by the people we stay with! Not only this allows us to build stronger bonds with people, but we see a different side to life, we see how “real people do it”.

Eventually, we started feeling so comfortable, that we thought it was time to leave.

We celebrated our time there, by buying everyone a pizza, and some Polish gourmet chocolates that we randomly found in a local supermarket.

Our departure was slightly delayed by some bad weather, but two days later, we were ready to set off to Cabuya, where we were supposed to stay with our next Couchsurfing host.

On the morning of our departure, we could only say goodbye and give big hugs to Wilma, her son, and all four dogs, as unfortunately Franco and Dixie had to leave in the morning to sort out some business.

We will forever be grateful to Wilma and her family for allowing us to spend time with them and feel like we belonged there.

This kind of experience is always priceless.

After a few last-second photos, we rode off onto the next adventure!

Sending you all waves of encouragement, love, and hugs! Much needed in the times of mass awakenings! 🙌🙌🙌

See you in the next post!

Joanna & Lee 🧚‍♀️🧚🏼‍♂️🚲🚲💓💗🤗🤗

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