Cahuita: Caribbean Costa Rica

Life in Cahuita: kids playing soccer in a flooded stream.
  • Life in Cahuita: kids playing soccer in a flooded stream.

I gave the taxi driver a $20. He looked at me in disappointment.

I'd arrived in Cahuita, Costa Rica, poorer than I’d expected. Having to chase a bus down with a taxi from Limón put my wallet on a diet plan.

There were no ATMs in Cahuita and hardly any tourists here either. It was quiet. Very quiet. This town was way different from the party atmosphere of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca when I visited it earlier in the year. It seemed like everyone was asleep here at the hours that bars were packed in Puerto Viejo.

I checked in at Hotel Belle Fleur, on the edge of Cahuita National Park. My plan for the afternoon was to wander the town looking for a restaurant that served Afro-Caribbean cuisine. I wanted a break from the fried chicken and gallo pinto ubiquitous in Costa Rica.

I decided to eat at Miss Edith’s, where a plate cost me the same price as a family restaurant in the U.S.

I ordered the spicy jerked chicken in hopes of giving my taste buds an experience of foreign and exotic flavors; what I got instead was some undercooked chicken meat with spiced-up Salsa Linzano. The chicken was flavored with allspice, but the execution was poor. I stuck the pieces of raw chicken on the side of my plate.

Originally I had wanted to sample the rondon: an Afro–Central America dish of green plantains, fish and other meats, cooked in a base of coconut milk. When I asked Edith to cook it she declined, saying she only cooked it on Sundays for two or more people.

After lunch I wandered over to the park. The park was a path traversing a jungle bordering the sea. It was nice, but I grew tried of the trail. I walked thirty minutes, seeing crabs scurry across my path.

I came across a waist-high river that blocked my path, and decided I didn’t want to traverse it. I stopped and snapped a few shots of kids playing soccer in a flooded stream before heading back to my hotel.

Unlike Nicaragua, where baseball reigns supreme, in Costa Rica the national pastime is fútbol.

Cahuita's Playa Negra

Cahuita's Playa Negra

After exiting the park, I walked to the opposite side of town to check out Playa Negra for surf. The beach was tranquil, but I saw nothing surfable. Walking back, I saw a dreadlocked resident riding his bicycle. I was definitely on the Caribbean coast.

I spent the rest of the afternoon napping in a hammock, writing and people watching. From my vantage point in the hotel, I spotted tourists going to and from the park.

The pace became relaxed, as the rains made the air stuffy.

I laid on the hammock planning my return to Nicaragua. With very little surf and less than 30 dollars at my disposal, I had to get to San Jose.

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