Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: Large lobster and shrimp platter served at a restaurant right on the beach-$30

Road trips are one of the best things to do in Costa Rica. It’s inevitable you will find something out of the ordinary, whether it be finding an artist’s pottery store on the side of the road, or just finding yourself stuck in the mud on the side of the road. Nevertheless, it always ends with a great story at the end of the day.

Today, we decide to check out some of the beaches in Guanacaste. We drive towards Playa Grande where we see a sign for Pirate’s Bay.

“What do you think that is?” I ask my husband.

“Don’t know, but I’m in the mood to find out.” He turns down a gravel road and continues past a tiny soccer field. There is always a soccer field in every neighborhood in Costa Rica. Knowing where that field is located is often part of someone’s directions; ones that will inevitably include a right at a banyan or mango tree with a left after a particular bodega. It’s always a blast learning how to get to your friend’s house.

As we continue on, the road quickly changes from gravel to dirt.  It’s soothingly shady and we hear monkeys howl overhead as if to alert the others of our presence. There are watch guards in the trees, I think to myself.

After ten minutes, I consider the idea that we might be lost when I see a large rock in the distance.  As we drive closer, it turns out the large rock sits in the ocean around 200 feet from the shoreline. It towers out of the sea like the tip of an iceberg.

We park and take a walk toward the water. Pelicans fly in a V-formation overhead, some plunging down to the sea and catching fish with their straight bill. The birds tilt their head back and swallow the fish in one swift gulp.  As I’m taking a picture, I see a couple walk towards us with two dogs. The animals anxiously chase sticks into the water, returning as proud with their catch as the pelicans overhead. I ask the woman if she minds if I film her dogs for my blog.

“Sure, what blog do you write?”

“Happier Than a Billionaire,” I reply.

“That’s great. I read your stories off the We Love Costa Rica website.” Surprisingly, complaining about the high costs of Cascade dishwasher detergent has made me the Woodward and Bernstein of Costa Rica.

“I really miss my dishwasher,” she confides. I shake my head. I know, I say. It’s a luxury to have one here.

We stop to talk and I learn the man and woman are neighbors who live near the beach. They each retired to Costa Rica for the same reasons we did; a simpler life combined with a cheaper cost of living. They are both optimistic people and are in awe everyday with the paradise that surrounds them. Even their morning walks with the dogs are filled with the sounds of the surf and exotic birds flying overhead.

Like us, they’ve never looked back.

The man tells us about the other beaches nearby then turns and points to the big rock in the ocean. He explains a cave there is rumored to be the place pirate Captain Morgan hid his rum. At low tide, a sand bar emerges and you can walk all the way out to the rock.

“I’ve done it. It’s a really cool thing to see the beach from that perspective,” he says. “This entire area is so amazing. You would never know Tamarindo is so close. Here, you feel like you are on a deserted island.” I like this guy and secretly hope one day he’ll hand me a treasure map.

It’s not hard making friends in Costa Rica; everyone is eager to share their own story and the places they love the most. I thank Rob for wanting to take a different route today. It ended with us making two new friends and discovering a pirate rum cave.

Now that makes a great story at the end of the day.