GUANACASTE, Costa Rica – October 2, 2015 -There are fifteen luminously green orange-fronted parrots and eight howler monkeys in a tree above an open-air bar just off of the main drag of Playa Del Coco in Guanacaste, Costa Rica as I make my way toward its two-mile stretch of beach, which on this particular morning is empty.
Three Magnificent Frigate birds trace the shoreline as a stingray launches out of the water in full display. Moments later, I come across a beached puffer fish trying to breathe. I move to put it back into the water and as a wave washes over it, it inflates like a spiked balloon.
He rolls back with the tide into the sea and just as he contemplates a heroic return to his watery homeland, one of the magnificent frigate birds descends with a sniper’s precision and plucks the puffer from the water, sailing over the jagged cliff that runs along the beach’s north end, where I also happen to be heading.
I make my way slowly to the cliff for a swim and then return toward town just as an old vendor sets up a small cart selling fresh coconuts. With the thwack of a machete, he cracks one open and a dollar later, I sip fresh coconut water on a bench just off the sand. From the trees the howler monkeys release their guttural hoots and the cackling parrots scatter.
Nature’s way of saying that our time together for the morning is over and it is time for the rest of the world to wake up.
It is nine in the morning and my feet are sandy. My hair and my clothes have that magical gritty feel that one can only understand after being somewhere wild for so long that that you’ve altered your understanding of the term clean. My hotel sits
peacefully on a bluff somewhere not far behind me. As the stores begin to open and sparse tourists take to the beach with bleary eyes, I walk back through town down a dirt road through a small neighborhood and up the bluff to spend the my last day in Guanacaste staring out onto the dry tropical forest between my hotel and the pulsing Pacific, sipping Imperial Beer with my feet in the infinity pool of Villa Buena Onda, the place, at least for the last three nights on my adventure with Costa Rican Vacations, I call home.
Villa Buena Onda is a quiet, isolated boutique hotel ideally located in between three of Guanacaste’s most beautiful beaches: the aforementioned Playa Del Coco, along with Playa Ocotal, a smaller beach with excellent snorkeling, and Playa Del Hermosa.
The two leveled, eight-room hotel is ideal for honeymooners looking to get away from it all but who also want to see and experience Costa Rica’s rich terrain and abundant wildlife. Villa Buena Onda, which was originally designed as a destination eight bed room home has evolved into a world class hotel with locally sourced, incomparably fresh seafood and produce. The fish tacos are among the best and should be eaten at least twice.
Each spacious room at Buena Onda offers an ocean and pool-facing balcony where guests with sharp eyes might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some of the forest’s resident monkeys, iridescent motmots, and parrots.
The hotel offers a two leveled, saltwater pool with swim up bar as well as full spa services. Its “no children” policy and serene setting, located well outside of the town ensures guests the kind of quiet exclusivity that one seeks after adventurous days spent scuba diving, hiking, wildlife
viewing, and sailing among dozens of other activities. Villa Buena Onda works closely with Costa Rica Vacations to set up high-octane adventures from the country’s rain forest canopies to its volcanoes and rugged coastline.
While the hotel is not directly on the beach, guests have access to two beach clubs within ten minutes of the hotel.
Among the activities is a river trip to El Viejo Wetlands and Palo Verde National Park. After winding through the sugar canes of rural Guanacaste you arrive to the Tempisque River where you take a boat up one of the most biologically diverse areas in Costa Rica’s dry tropical forest. White-faced and howler monkeys crash through trees and crocodiles stretch out along the muddy banks for miles.
Little Blue and Tiger Herons fish along the shore under the watchful eye of sunbathing iguanas. Just beyond the river, is the El Viejo wetlands, where hundreds of thousands of shore birds gather each year in October during their migratory season.
A half day sail on a luxury catamaran up the Pacific is another way to spend the day as a guest at Buena Onda. Also set up through Costa Rica Vacations, this stunning sail offers glimpses of pristine, untouched sand and dramatic shoreline.
One need only order a single beer on the catamaran because the service is so remarkable that before you ever finish the first, another will appear in your hand until you’ve had your fill.
Along the sail you might spot whales, sea turtles, and frigate birds with a stop to swim, snorkel and explore otherwise inaccessible beaches.
After any of these activities arranged by the hotel, or your own experiences like my morning walk with the puffer fish and the frigate bird, sitting back in the quiet luxury and letting the familial staff of Villa Buena Onda take care of you is the height of adventure tourism.
As my time in the dry tropical forests and coastline of Guanacaste and I set off with Costa Rican Vacations to the rain forests surrounding Costa Rica’s famed Arenal Volcano, I can’t help but be blown away that there is still so much more of Costa Rica to see.
For more from writer, Matt Payne, visit mattpaynewriter.com and follow him on Instagram @mattpaynetravelwriter.