Life on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica is tranquilla indeed. Surfers pepper the breaks at high tide as a slight mist enshrouds the rocky coast. The jungle creeps close to the ocean and rivers meet the beach on either end, infusing el mar with cool water and the threat of crocodillos. At low tide, the ocean bows backward revealing a smooth sandy area comfortable for walking barefoot. A surfer’s paradise, indeed.
Life is quiet here at the moment, smack dab in the middle of el temporada baja, or the slow season. Not many tourists come to Central America in May and June, the rainiest and buggiest months of the year. That’s not to say all it does is rain, though. Rain here is not as predictable as it was when I lived in Florida, where you could set your watch by the evening’s thunderstorm, but it does storm almost every day. Last week’s thunderstorm sent lightning cracking into the mango tree across the street, sending a sparkling branch and a large, stunned iguana into the packed dirt street below. The iguana shook his head once, slow, twice, slow, before turning and crawling to relative security over the rock wall. That storm, and the rain last night, caused the “candlelight flow” yoga classes to truly lit only by candles. We practice to a percussion of raindrops on the tin roof with frogs and toads keeping melody in the jungle night.
The rottweiler/boxer mix I’m caring for cowers when lightning splits the sky, trying to press his large frame into a puppy-sized ball in the closest corner or person he can find. When it’s not booming thunder, the dog is all heart, begging for you to throw just one more stone down the beach for him to chase into the ocean, spotted white paws speckled with wet sand. As a lifelong cat owner, I’m digging that I get to hang out with a dog for the summer. He warns me when strangers pass too close at night – his fierce bark and sharp teeth make me feel safe.
The town is smaller, but life isn’t that different. There’s a farmer’s market every Thursday in the city of San Isidro, where you can go to buy organic, locally grown fruits and veggies, fresh meat, fish, or locally made cheese, and an array of crafty items sold by extranjeros and Ticos alike. If you miss Thursday’s market, there’s a smaller one held on Saturday mornings in Uvita, only a 20 minute bus ride out of town. This market caters more to the expat crowd and features one table of greens and lots of homemade breads, gluten-free goodies, and jams made from the amazing array of tropical fruits that Costa Rica offers.
The yoga is beautiful! A second story studio floats among the trees, eye level with hummingbirds, bamboo, and palm fronds. After more than a year traveling in Central America with little or no access to yoga props, it is a joy to teach with heavy bamboo blocks, a wall, bolsters, and yoga straps. There is even a yoga swing available for personal practice or private classes! Check out Sofiah, the owner of this amazing space, demonstrating a yoga swing routine below:
When I’m not flowing into a yoga practice or strolling the beach, I’m bussing it to friend’s houses for co-created meals “jungle to plate.” I feel good being close to river life again. Rivers to me feel more approachable than angry oceans with 17 foot waves and an undercurrent strong enough to warrant signs warning swimmers away. I spent one morning this week on a flat smooth rock warmed by the sun as the cool river water flowed by, rushing towards the ocean. Butterflies of every color swirled around me, and I felt grateful for this life.