Welcome to Quepos

Quepos would be the first and hopefully last time I’d stay in a hostel, in all my travels I’ve always stayed in anything from a rented apartment, bed & breakfast to a hotel and while I can appreciate the saving of money sharing a bathroom and shower with total strangers just didn’t sit well with me.  But beggars can’t be choosers so I made the best of it, if there was one plus I did have my own room and even though it was sweltering with just a fan it was still my own.  Once I’d checked in, unpacked and relaxed I started walking looking for a place to eat and found a great restaurant near the hostel and had what might’ve been the best meal of the trip along with some red wine and a live band it was a great way to start my three days in Quepos.

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I awoke to another perfect sun filled day and a perfect blue sky and what may have been the hottest day since I’d arrived but knowing just how cold it was in Boston I forced myself to enjoy it.  The main road in Quepos was a series of curves, twists and turns. I don’t think there at any point it straightened out for an entire mile.  Everything from busses to SUV’s motorcyles to mopeds and everything else in between so you really had to pay attention if you were on foot.  The street was a mix of everything from hotels and restaurants, grocery stores and retail stores, night clubs and bars and just about everything else in between in this town.

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Quepos is the capital of Aguirre canton in Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica. The town is about 60 km. south (in a straight line) from Costa Rica’s capital, San José, but is 157 km from that city by road if going through the localities of Atenas, Orotina and Tárcoles.  The town is named for the native Quepo Indians who inhabited the place in the colonial era.  The area was home to the native Quepoa people of this specific Costa Rican region. In 1563, Spanish Catholic conquistadores, lead by Juan Vázquez de Coronado, settled the area and founded the settlement of San Bernardino de Quepo. The local native Quepo people were then subsequently subjugated by Juan Vázquez and his conquistadores.  In 1746, the Quepo people that remained were transferred to a reservation which already contained another native ethnic group.

Ponce de Leon is the Spanish explorer whose futile search for the Fountain of Youth became his signature expedition but he’s rarely recognized as the man who discovered Quepos and Manuel Antonio on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast which he put on the map in 1519. Some of the locals say he found it when he arrived here, he just didn’t know it.  The town gets it’s name from the Quepo Indian tribe, a subgroup of the Borucas, who were waiting on the beach  to “welcome” the Spaniard.

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As I continued walking with each turn their was more of natures beauty.  Forests that seem to go on forever with some the most exotic plants and flowers in the world and in between a landscape of trees pointing toward the sky some bigger than others but each one melding together to create this beautiful canvas of nature.  And finally I had arrived and there it was, roaring, powerful and majestic.  It was utter perfection, what we dream of and we finally see it, it’s breathtaking.  We stand and stare and listen to it.  Sometimes it is loud and other times it is so soft.  It can bring so much joy and it can bring sorrow.  How can something so beautiful at times be relentess and unforgiving?  It can be gentle one moment and in the blink of an eye it is violent and shows no mercy to anyone or anything that crosses its path.  It can hold us, cradle us, shake us and even throw us and sometimes it never let’s go and someone is left waiting and then they are crying, it is the Pacific Ocean.

It was three perfect shades of blue that turned into snow white foam each time it came on shore to the white sand that matched it.  A beach lined with palm trees in a perfect row as if they were planted one by one with people lined from side to the other.  I found a spot near one of the trees and sat down, and listened, took off my headphones and just listened to the sounds around me.  The sound of nature and man together and even though I sat on a beach of many it felt as if I were the only person there.

Why can’t I find beaches like this in Massachusetts??!!  I swam and I sank, splashed and floated and every now and then rode a wave.  There’s nothing like being on a vacation where your only concern is what will I do next, not have a care in the world.  Instead it is all about you, your happiness and your joy.  You’re not worried about checking emails or voice mails or calling into your job, the fact is you don’t have to call anyone – you are living your life and no one else’s, living for the day and your only concern is you and only you.  And at this moment it is all about me and only me – and I am on the beautiful coast of Costa Rica swimming in the Pacific Ocean.  Now this is living.

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