Five years ago Sam and I spent three weeks in Costa Rica exploring in a rental Jeep and staying at hotels. We thought we got a really good feel for the country and felt like we did not have much left to explore on this trip. Wow, were we wrong!
The kind of travel you do when you are staying at hotels every night and the kind of travel you can do with a vehicle equipped with solar power, 70 gallons of fresh water, a refrigerator, a toilet and shower and food for a week is a different trip. I had no idea that there was so much undeveloped coast in Costa Rica, or just how easy and safe it was to free camp all over this country if you have vehicle you can camp in.
We headed into the Nicoya on highway 18, basically entering the peninsula on the half way point to the bottom. We did this because we read that the top part of the peninsula is much more developed and we were in the mood for some open space.
Our first three nights camping were at Playa Coyote where we found a perfect spot at the end of the beach that was isolated and far enough from the tide line to be safe, and far enough from the trees and fresh water river to not have too many bugs. This beach was crazy beautiful and we walked so many miles on the sand that we got blisters on our feet. You could literally walk for hours and not get from one end of the beach to the other. The water was easy to swim in and my only complaint was that it was too warm. When the water is the same temperature as the air (85 F, 25 C) it does not cool you off at all. And believe me, you wanted cooling off here!
On our third day we were waiting out an afternoon rainstorm in the camper and we heard a truck pull up. It was Toby and Chloe from Carpe Viam and their dog Tia! We were so surprised to see them and excited they found us because we wanted to travel the Nicoya with them but were having trouble staying in touch with the limited internet we had. That night we had a huge bonfire, drank beer and made plans for the rest of the week. Most of it we spent talking about the fabled river crossings and 4X4 roads we would be facing the following day.