Santa Elena to Playa Coco

24 May

Having the ultimate chill out time, swimming, fishing and reading at Santa Elena, the itchy feeling of moving again was beginning to take a hold. This little gem was certainly ‘up there’ on the list, by no means are me and Katie wishing this away, it’s just to exciting to see what’s waiting for us round the corner…… possibly the next little gem?

It’s an easy 35 miles to Playa Coco, so it should be a nice easy hop down, we can take it nice and easy, no real reason to rush. It was a very straight forward passage until we started seeing the ‘tell tale’ signs of our friend the thunder storm! Better start getting everything tied down and secured…..probably won’t be needing the shades soon either!

We were a few hours out of Coco and we could hear Talaria talking to Saben on the radio, they had left Santa Elena at first light and were already anchored in Coco, to our dismay it was apparently chucking it down over there, so it looks like we’re going to be getting a bit wet anchoring up, we love the rain though right? Anyway the squall engulfed us in its 30knt winds, face stinging rain, roaring thunder and blinding lightning for about 45 mins then died right down, leaving us with just the rain, it really cooled the air down though. We came into the anchorage at Coco a bit fresh, but it didn’t take long to get settled down. As much as we liked to, we couldn’t take a walk around the town as we weren’t actually checked into Costa Rica, instead Katie knocked up a roast beef hash from a tin for dinner, it was actually really, really good considering it looked and smelt like cat food! Coco managed to show us that she’s competing with the best, giving us this amazing sunset on our first night.

We need to go into Coco for the simple but important reason to check in to the country, we have done this for every country we’ve visited, you go and see the relevant Authority’s, which are typically the Port Captain, Customs and Immigration, they ‘make sure’ everything’s in order in terms of passports and boat documents etc.

It was a relatively pleasant experience for us, thankfully, we bumped into Talaria and Saben on the high street, they had been given the wrong paper work by the officials, which means they have to go and do everything they did the previous day again, bit of a nightmare but at least it gave us a bit of a ‘heads up’ to make sure to check everything before leaving. The only senseless thing we found out that day, is that the Port Captain is on the beach, the Customs is at the airport and Immigration is half way up the main high street, you would of thought they would have the offices all in the same place, oh well, after a few taxi rides and $60 down we were done with the official stuff, time to find somewhere to eat! Our taxi driver told us about Papagayo seafood along the high street, we were too tired from rushing around with paper all day to be bothered to find anything else, besides there’s a lot of fishing boats moored up out in the bay so it must be decently fresh! Papagayo seafood definately stands out from the crowd of restaurants around here, they serve you from…..a boat! The whole place is plastered in fishing gear, nets, buoys and hooks, it certainly has character!

Playa Coco is a completely different atmosphere from Santa Elena, its a lot more touristy, but it’s so good to have the different variety of places to keep it exciting. Being a place where people come to holiday theres tonnes of souvenir and other shops lining the main street, Katie found a little boutique after dinner that we popped into but left empty handed, I think the girls more then deserve having a butchers around clothes shops, after being dragged around nearly every tackle, hardware and marine shop along the pacific coast!

Most of the shops along the street are literally just shacks, I found this one that was built around the biggest tree, talk about utilising space!

It was a good idea to leave when we did that first evening ashore, as we were launching the dingy, the sky started clouding over, leaving everything looking like you were looking through yellow lenses, just as we stepped foot aboard Solent the heavens opened, luckily we managed to collect some of it in the water tank. I think the plan for tomorrow is to properly explore Playa Coco, well the main street at least.

Cruising up and down the main street all day was, interesting, there’s a lot of shopping plazas dotted around, that charge extortionate amounts of money, stuff exactly the same as someone selling from a shack down the road but 3 times the price! That’s the biggest give away by telling what a place is going to be like, the price of things, me and Katie realised this wasn’t going to be another El Salvador unfortunately! I didn’t see El Salvador selling these though….

We came across an ‘English pub’ along the strip, this could be interesting, walking past a tout came out to see us as we were checking the menu, he was only from Louisiana in the states, Katie told me that’s where the TV series True Blood is based, it didn’t really give us high hopes of this place….maybe me and Katie could get a job there to add authenticity? To be fair to the place though on Sunday’s they serve Shepperds Pie and a Roast Beef Dinner with Yorkshiiiiiire Puddings, we will definately be up for a bit of that!

It’s thirsty work all this walking, we came up with the brilliant idea of checking out a little bar we could see on the beach from the boat, walking down a little snicket to get to the beach we ran into the biggest pig I have ever seen,

He was a right miserable sod, mind you I would be if I was tied up to a wall, we said hello to him…. At a distance! As we were walking off a few dogs came out of a garden, one of them went straight up to the pig, to be honest I’ve never seen a pigs face light up….but it did! They were both really happy to see each other, the dog even started licking the pigs face! Maybe he tasted nice!

Do you remember the moustache and beard trimmer I found….well I bottled it, I couldnt take it up to the till, even in a foreign country where no one knows me! Cruising is all about improvisation though, so out came the good old kitchen scissors and onto the swim platform I went, this could take a while!

Sunday soon came around, and that meant Yorkshire Puddings! We went back down to the English Pub, to try some of their ‘famous’ English dinners, we couldn’t wait hopefully it’s good! Katie went for the Shepherds Pie and I chose the Roast Beef!

Surprisingly it was actually really good, the thing I’ve personally noticed is that the beef is really good here in Costa Rica where as I haven’t really had a good bit of fish here, I suppose I need to give it more of a chance though! We all thoroughly enjoyed our Sunday Lunches!

On our last day in Coco we went back to the bar on the beach as they have a nice little swimming pool, you get to use it just by ordering drinks so we took full advantage of that! Me and Katie found a hammock and we started messing around with that!

Me and Katie had one last walk along the beach before we had to head off, we walked the length of the black sand beach, along the way we came across loads of blokes pumping bait like I do at home, we went up to one to have a look in his bucket, we were expecting to see worms but instead saw the strangest little creatures called Marucha’s, they were like a slug/prawn/centipede thing, they really were weird!

When we came over in the dingy earlier we loaded it up with all the water containers we could find, we needed to find a tap somewhere ashore because the water on Solent was non existent. At the end of the day we went back to a bar we had brought a lot of custom to over the days and asked them for a favour, without hesitation we were showed to the outside tap round the back, the best thing about Costa Rica is that you can drink straight from the tap basically anywhere!

We kind of got settled in that bar after a few drinks and thought it would be good to get something to eat out, we have a super early start tomorrow and no one wants to be cooking and washing up at this hour! There was a cool looking place a few minutes walk away called Beach Bums, it was always thriving whenever we walked past,

We all ate dinner there then made our way to the dingy to get back to the boat, Beach Bums served us well and we were all stuffed for the short trip home! I nearly forgot to mention Katie’s little friend she met in Beach Bums, she has a habit of attracting the odd ones!

Setting the alarm clock for half 3 in the morning is not my favourite thing to do to be honest, we have a long day ahead of us to Bahia Carrillo, apparently it’s not the calmest place to anchor up but it saves us doing an overnighter!

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