Tracking the Tides


If you stay in a place long enough, you start to learn how different the same spot can look based on the time of day, the light, the weather. This is particularly true at the beach, where the changing tides completely alter the shoreline AND the surfing conditions.

We are really loving playing in the water at low tide, when the waves are a bit smaller – and gentler – and we can go out quite far in the ocean before it gets deep. Sierra is becoming addicted to boogie boarding, while Cassidy seems to go back and forth, but adores jumping and playing in the water regardless.

This morning we experienced one of the lowest tides I think we’ve had since being here, which exposed a bunch of rocks that we hadn’t even seen before. There were lots of little tide pools as well that got so hot in the sun that some people were soaking in one like a jacuzzi!

Rocks on Playa Santa Teresa at low tide

As predicted in my first entry, the sunsets are also quite different each night — and I don’t think any have yet rivaled the first one we saw! But like the tides, they almost seem to have moods, these sunsets. That first one was fiery, attention-seeking, lots of orange. Last night was so peaceful, a comforting indigo with soft clouds and soft air.

Sierra and Cassidy, 5:20 pm Monday evening

The water is such a glorious temperature at sunset, we have to force ourselves to get out so that we can make it back up the jungle path before full darkness descends.

Entrance to the jungle path (from this morning, not sunset)

The last thing I did want to capture in this blog are a few photos of our beach lounge dinner on Sunday night. It was about a 15 minute walk along the beach to Rocamar, where we had ceviche and fish tacos. Yum. We will definitely be going back!

Rocamar, Playa Santa Teresa

We don’t have a rental car right now, so are limited to exploration within 9-year old walking range! Not so bad, if this is the sidewalk 🙂

Our walk to dinner

Animals of Santa Teresa

– Cassidy Goldberg

Russ with Cassidy

There are lots of dogs at the beach in Santa teresa. While we are hanging out at the beach we meet lots of dog friends who’s owners are out surfing. This dog, in the front we decided to name Russ. Right behind Russ is hyena. (Who is a dog, but looks a little like a hyena.)And behind hyena is Zara.

Iggy the rock iguana

We find Iggy bathing in the sun very often. Although hard to spot, Iggy likes to hang out in trees with lots of poky spikes. The first time we saw Iggy, was on one of Cassidy’s zoom calls right after she spilled her smoothie all over the lower deck of our condo.

Can you find Waldo and Wenda?

Two monkeys, witch Cassidy and Sierra named Waldo and Wenda were taking a nice nap in a tree when we were walking back to our condo from the beach.

Your Average School Day in Santa Teresa

– Sierra Goldberg

Santa Teresa Schedule:  (Dad not included in most of this schedule- he leaves early to go surfing.)

7:00- Wake up. If you wake up before then, read or go back to sleep.

7:15- Actually wake up. Rolling around in bed doesn’t count.

7:30- Breakfast. Usually cereal for me and Dad and nutella toast for 

Cassidy and Mom, or eggs.

7:45- Wash the dishes. Our condo is beautiful, but has a very small kitchen, which means no dishwasher. Me and Cassidy’s first thoughts: Yay, we don’t have to unload the dishwasher anymore! Dad’s reaction to me and Cassidy’s first thoughts: Yay, Sierra and Cassidy have to wash the dishes!!

8:00 (or 8:10, depending on the mood of the dishwashers)- Change into swimsuits and put on sunscreen, grab a boogie board and a towel and go outside to wait for Mom.

8:15- Walk down our steep hill and along the dusty road. Watch out for ATVs and motorcycles with dogs balanced in the driver’s lap! Stop at the Cafca Cafe for a coffee or smoothie and randomly meet Dad leaving the beach. 

8:30- Arrive at the beach. Dump your towels, hats and clothes on the ground, grab your boogie board, and run into the ocean. Catch as many waves as you can! Some days are better than others- I had one really bad day when a bunch of waves crashed on top of me, one after another. But sometimes the waves are the perfect size and you can boogie board for hours!

10:15- Dry off, put your clothes on, pick up as much stuff as you can carry, and start walking home. Stop at the outdoor shower by the pool to rinse off all of the sand before you go up to the condo. 

10:30- Cassidy school

11:00- Sierra school (Dad and Mom start time varies)

Lunch time is different for everyone, usually late

2:30- Cassidy and Mom go down to the pool

4:00- Sierra joins Cassidy and Mom- walk to the beach and play in the water

5:30-5:45- Watch the sunset, walk home in the dark

6:30- Dinner

Making our Way to Playa Santa Teresa

We got up early on Tuesday morning with the goal of getting to Santa Teresa in time for Sierra’s first class (a bit ambitious, given that it was supposed to be a 4 to 5-hour drive). Still, we were miraculously on the road by 7:15 am, and we only stopped once for disappointing dry baked goods from a roadside panaderia.

The drive was pretty easy, except for the last hour on rather pot-holed gravel roads. That took some time, but we pulled into our condo complex (Maramar) in Playa Santa Teresa right around 11:30. The girls did their online school from the pool area, which had decent Wifi and some shade — as we couldn’t get into our condo until 2pm.

Cassidy at ‘school’ in the pool area

We have a 2BR condo that is quite cozy, but bright and modern, and with everything we really need (with the exception of a dishwasher – but perhaps good for the girls to have a new chore!) It’s a bit farther from the beach than I had hoped, though easily walkable — we can get there in less than 10 minutes (down a hill, cross the street, short jungle path to beach).

We have a lovely upstairs deck and are surrounded by jungle. We saw a bunch of howler monkeys in the trees above the pool on that first day, though have not seen them since. Cassidy also spotted a big iguana outside this morning.

Balcony of our condo at Maramar

I will admit that my very first impressions of the town of Santa Teresa were not stellar — mostly because the main [dirt] road through town is bumpy, dusty and rather loud. There are tons of ATVs (4-wheelers) and motorbikes here, along with trucks doing deliveries. It’s by no means manicured like a resort in Hawaii – it’s more of a jungly, hippy vibe, and I swear 95% of the inhabitants are between the ages of 20 and 30. This is TRULY a surf town.

However, when we walked out on the beach for the first time on Wednesday morning, I felt my body relaxing and the little voice in my head telling me that everything was going to be all right. THIS is what we came for. The beach is stunning. Everything looks so big – the wide sand, the waves — most of all, the sky. The sky seems to go on forever.

Playa Santa Teresa

The only people on the beach are surfers, who are all way out in the ocean. No sunbathers. No swimmers. Only surfers. Oh, and surfers’ dogs. I honestly think Cassidy is almost as excited about all the dogs as she is about the monkeys!

It’s so nice to have the beach – and actually the ocean – completely to ourselves. The girls are learning to boogie board — so far closer to shore, as the waves are rather large.

We experienced our first incredible Santa Teresa sunset last night.

At sunset the scene on the beach totally changes, as all the 20-30-something town residents congregate on the beach for a sundowner, futbol, beach volleyball, and general socializing. It still doesn’t feel crowded, but there’s a great community vibe. I get the sense that many of the ‘locals’ are expats from all over the world, but there are definitely a lot of Costa Ricans here as well. There are just a few tourists like us, and almost no families. I can say more about this in another post, but the town feels quite far (in both good and bad ways) from the COVID-pandemic.

After last night, I have decided that I don’t want to miss sunset on the beach if I can help it for the entire month we are here. One person already told me that the sunset here is different every single night. I’ll report back if that’s true 🙂

Journey to Costa Rica

On Sunday night, we did something that for me felt VERY out of character. Well – not pre-COVID out-of- character, but post-COVID out-of-character. We went to SFO for the first time since last February, and we boarded a flight. Two flights, in fact: first to Houston, then to Liberia, Costa Rica. I felt such a mix of emotions as we arrived at the airport — a weird combination of excitement, fear and guilt. And lots of anxiety about how crowded it would be, whether everyone would be wearing masks, how we would eat, and whether I could possibly sleep with all my PPE!

I’ll spare you the details, but just address the issues above:

-How crowded? SFO was empty at 11pm (phew), so security was a breeze. Houston started off empty and then was way too crowded for my taste by 9am. First flight about half full (2 rows to ourselves!), second flight less than half full.

-Mask-wearing? for the most part solid — except for some lapses in the Houston airport and one #$!* on the flight to Liberia who refused to wear his mask correctly for the entire flight. I really wanted to sock him.

-Eating? Not much, not healthy — and when I finally removed my N95 mask at the hotel I discovered a small stash of crumbs from the muffin I scarfed at the airport. Yuck.

-Sleeping? Needless to say, the mask/face shield combo is NOT conducive to sleep. Then again, I never sleep well on airplanes. Cassidy was out like a light before we even boarded the first flight. Jealous.

Suffice it to say that the trip felt extremely long, and it was a HUGE relief to walk out of the tiny airport in Liberia into the bright sunshine. We were completely alone on the hotel shuttle, and it was only a 3-minute drive to the Hilton Garden Inn right by the airport. This part felt easy and safe, and the hotel was quite empty. We had a late lunch, and Sierra and I were both sound asleep by 6:30 pm!