A Five-Hour Long Bus Ride Later…

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“Is it okay to walk to the bus station alone with my backpack?” I inquired at the hostel. The Tico owner pouted, slightly offended. “Of course! This is Costa Rica, it’s a safe country! It’s not like Nicaragua, you know.”

I found his comment very funny because when you are in Mexico, Mexicans would tell you that their country is much safer than anywhere in Central America, Ticos make fun of Nicas, etc. The neighbour is always worse, right?

I ended up walking the 14 blocks to the bus station.

There are two kinds of buses: those where you freeze because the air-con is on and those where you sweat because they are packed and there is no air-con. Because I was cold in the theatre in San José, I prepared for an air-con bus and wore jeans and a sweater.

There was no air-con. I was already sweaty from walking with my backpack but after an hour in the bus, I was dying for some fresh air.

As soon as we got on the bus, the woman sitting in front of me crossed herself and muttered a prayer. That pretty much summed it all. Taking the bus in Central America is an act of faith—maybe that’s why there was a huge drawing of Jesus on the dashboard… besides the Transformers symbol.

Destination Sámara, a five-hour ride South of San José, on the Pacific coast. Why Sámara? Porqué. I liked the name, it sounded nice. And you can’t really go wrong with a beach town, right?

The passenger sitting beside me was Tico working in San José and going back home in Nicoya for the weekend. I asked him if he was going to see his family. “Yes,” he nodded. “I am going to do the fiesta!” he grinned. “Party?” I wondered. Well, why not. The word just sounded incongruous in the mouth of a sixty-something gentleman. He then proceeded on pulling a Walkman—I hadn’t seen these in ages! —out of his bag and sang sotte voce, slightly out of tune.

The gentleman got off right before Sámara. He was greeted by a bunch of other latinos, who screamed “FIESTA!” as soon as they saw him. I guess he was a party animal after all.

We stopped in Cangreja for a quick smoke and bathroom break and we arrived in Sámara, más o menos.

I checked into the hostel, changed to shorts and walked to the beach, fifty-meter away, to catch the sunset.

It felt good to be by the sea again.

You can see the com­plete set of Costa Rica on Flickr.

Bus Stop in Cangrejal

Bus Stop in Cangrejal

Por la Carretera...

Por la Carretera…

The Bus (Note the Transformer Symbol!)

The Bus (Note the Transformer Symbol!)

The Bus

The Bus

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

First Glimpse of Playa Sámara

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

10 Comments

  1. I don’t know you personally but read about your blog through apt613.ca.

    Samara is not far from Nosara…If you end up at Playa Guiones, go to Juan Surfo’s surf shop and tell my friend Stephanie (she’s also from Ottawa) that I sent you…she’s at the shop most of the time! And take a surf lesson while you’re there!

  2. It’s a shame! You just missed the big party of the Elections Day — the first Sunday of February every 4 years. It was on February 2nd 2014. Next one will be on 2018: don’t miss it!

    The electoral tables are usually at primary Schools, one table per classroom, 600 voters per table. Only one person, the voter, is allowed inside the classroom, plus the table members, who are representatives of the political parties and the Tribunal Electoral. No political signs are allowed inside the School, but outside each party has a team of teenagers, “guías”, to help people to go to vote. It is a big day indeed.

    That day all public transportation is running free of charge.

    Lots of “voluntarios” use their own cars for free to help mobilize old, poor, disabled people to the voting tables. This is true even if you (were registered to) vote 150 Km far from your home. (You can register to vote anywhere you want, but it must done in advance.) All this are organized by the political parties, since they do not want their votes to get lost.

    That day the President is not the Supreme Chief of the police: the police body belongs to the Tribunal Electoral’s President for one day. The same for all Public Transportation authorities.

    The voting tables close at 6pm sharp. At that time, the mayor parties declare victory and make a car rally/parade around the city, on every city, where the party voters use their cars to make lots of noise. Imagine 10-50-100-or-more cars together in line, all waving flags and hooking at the same time. A similar rally did happen the day before.

    The Electoral year happens to be a very slow year for local tourism. You probably fund the beaches without too many “ticos” around for that reason.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to provide some valuable background. It’s so cool to learn about the country you are visiting from a Tico!

      There beaches were busy but not as much as I would have thought. That explained it!

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