Intending to find an alternative spice trading route to the East Indies, Columbus sailed westward from Spain, only to stumble upon a mysterious world full of gold, jungle, temples and Indians. And what a treasure he found: aptly named the New World, Columbus’ discovery remains a world full of wonders.
Central America’s mainland is a narrow land bridge connecting the two great American continents and consists of 7 (8 if you count Mexico in) amazing countries. The one thing they all have in common? Passion. An exhilarating lust for life stimulates all your senses: it’s in the air you smell, the beer you taste, the conversations you hear, the colours you see, and most of all: in the waves you ride. Flanked by the Pacific Ocean on the West and the Caribbean Sea on the East, your choices here seem endless.
One of the biggest gems in this treasure chest is Costa Rica. With very progressive environmental policies, no army, bans on hunting and zoos, the largest ratio of national parks and areas to total country size in the world ( 25%!) and almost 1300 km of coastline, this land embodies all the good things in life. Or as the Tico’s put it: Pura Vida.
Understandably, it’s hard not to fall in love with this country. And, especially as a surfer: the warm water, mellow waves, cruisy beach breaks, endlessly long point breaks and insultingly beautiful sunsets leave you high on life. Every avid wave rider will remember the scenes in Endless Summer II where Pat & ‘Wingnut’ surf the incredulously perfect Witches Rock, wishing it was them out there instead. Since then the country and line-up have changed a lot, but the waves here never lost their appeal. I too got addicted, and can’t seem to get myself to detox.
Adding to the irresistible attraction is the wildlife. Not many places on earth seem to have man and animal sharing their worlds so naturally and joyfully. With howler monkeys’ calls as an alarm clock, real iguanas on the loose in the supermarket, turtles crossing the road, pelicans soaring by in the water and dolphins frolicking around your surfboard, it seems as though borders have faded. A perfect world.
In the next editions, I’ll share my passion for this part of the world with you, taking you on a virtual tour through several countries. Hopefully, it will stimulate your senses too.