The Gringo Invasion


Just two weeks ago I wrote a post about how this town was comprised entirely of surfers –mostly between the ages of 20 and 30 — from all over the world. I reported that there were no kids and very few Americans.

Wow, has that all changed in the span of a week! Gringos are swarming the cafes and the beach, there are kids everywhere, and I’ve seen loads of pasty white dudes lugging around long boards (vs. the short boards that all the locals ride). The beach is still not super crowded during the day, but there are definitely more people in the water, and it’s getting much more full at sunset.

I’ve been bemoaning the gringo invasion, and the girls keep telling me I can’t complain about Americans coming, since I am one. Hmmm…perhaps a fair point, but that never stopped me before!

In any case, we also got to experience an entirely different tourist scene this weekend when we took a boat trip to Isla Tortuga. Little did I know that we would encounter the Tico (Costa Rican) party boat crowd in full swing. On what I had pictured as a deserted tropical island, we found pumping Latin techno, free-flowing Coco Loco cocktails (rum + coconut water), and – as Cassidy later put it: “a LOT of skin.” It seems most of these Costa Rican tourists were coming over on big boats from Puntarenas, which is on the ‘mainland,’ across the bay from the Nicoya Peninsula. The only analogy I can think of is something like spring break in Daytona Beach…but with mixed ages.

I had selected this particular outing as I really wanted the girls to be able to do some cool snorkeling, and I had read that Isla Tortuga was one of the best snorkeling spots in the area. I was proud of them for jumping right in (off the boat), using the snorkel gear (which isn’t always easy), and getting super excited about the colorful fish. This was Cassidy’s first time snorkeling and Sierra’s second, but they took to it like pros…though to be fair we were probably only snorkeling for about 25 minutes!

We unfortunately did not have an underwater camera, so I don’t have any pictures of the fish. But here are a few pictures from the boat ride.

We had quite a bit of time to kill on the island after snorkeling – fortunately I recently taught Sierra how to play Speed (my favorite card game as a kid), so she and Noah did some of that.

And the girls were excited to have a refreshing drink straight from a coconut!

Our boat left from the tiny town of Montezuma (about 40 minutes from here), which was touristy but actually rather charming. We’ll definitely be headed back there at some point, as there is a waterfall hike there that I want to do.

As always, closing with a sunset photo – from last night!

Cassidy playing in the waves at sunset

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