Before arriving in Costa Rica, I had visions of going on hikes through luscious rainforests and exhausting my energy climbing through intense trails.
There was one problem: We were headed to Tamarindo in the dry season. It hadn’t rained since before November. Not one day of rain. Hence, the luscious green national parks were many hours from where we were staying.
There were indeed national parks; they just looked much different than the parks found in the States.
After spending a couple days in Costa Rica, we did some research and discovered a national park with hiking trails about 30 minutes from where we were staying. We decided to try it out, hopped in our rental car, and after driving on some very bumpy gravel roads, arrived at the destination…the beach.
Yes, the national park was the beach. Hmmm. Not quite what we had in mind, but we put on our hiking shoes and pursued the adventure anyways.
After walking on the sand and around a bend, the views had changed. Volcanic rock had taken over the sandy shoreline, and tide pools were present every few feet. How beautiful.
I could have taken photos there all day. No one was around: it was just me, Adam, my camera, and the presence of God’s incredible creations. The waves crashed into the rock and orchestrated a beautiful song. The sun reflected off the water, and I felt as though I was in another world.
We spent a little over an hour hanging out by the rocks and then changed into our swimming suits to enjoy yet another beach afternoon. An older man and his wife walked past us. The man wore a hiking backpack, and the woman wore ankle weights. We called them over and asked if they knew of any good hiking trails, assuming they had interest in hiking. We discovered the key to our hiking adventures for our trip. “Beach hiking!” he said. “We love hiking from Tamarindo to Playa Grande! Just walk along the beach. It’s beautiful.”
This was a new concept to us, but the next day we tried it.
We hiked from Tamarindo to Playa Carbon and back. A total of 10 miles. We walked on the sand, saw more volcanic rock, and the sand changed from tan to black as the miles progressed. We took a few dips in the tide pools to cool off, saw hermit crabs wander along the beach, and we even walked across an estuary!
Yes–when we arrived back at the estuary near Tamarindo, the tide had lowered, and the boats weren’t present to take people across. Extremely hot and tired, we decided to take a chance and wade across. It was so fun! We later found out that crocodile tours are given in that estuary…Luckily, we didn’t spot any 🙂
When we arrived in Tamarindo we had no plans to walk 10 miles along the beach, but when we discovered beach hiking, we loved it! It wasn’t walking up a mountain, but it was just as incredible. Costa Rica has inexplicable hiking even in the dry season; You just need to start at the beach!