Pavones, Costa Rica & why it stole my heart

Updated: Sep 18, 2018

Not much to do besides eat mangos and surf. It was everything.

I have been a lot of remote places but Pavones was a little different. The only way to get there is dirt roads yet this little village is full of relocated gringos. People come for the surf and they just never leave. Seemed like the place to go once you hit your mid-life crisis. There are 3 small grocery stores, a handful of restaurants and really not much to do besides be in the water. My dream. Every conversation is about the swell. People fly in from around the country to hit the swell just right and luck had it, we were going to be there for some legendary waves.

We did not take many pictures because we were surfing up to 3 times a day. It was perfection. Here are some photos I ripped off the internet to give street cred to this wave.

They were some of the biggest waves I have ever surfed in my life. Terrifying, but so fun. They call this the second longest left in the world behind Chicama, Peru. So long that it's not worth paddling back out, way easier to walk up the beach. Even on the "small" days you will seeing an ant line of people walking up the beach, sometimes sprinting eager to get back in the water.


HOW TO GET THERE


Rent a car: take the 8 hour drive on dirt roads and navigate your way down there. This is a good options if you have a lot of time and are going with a few people. Also if you have your own boards.


Fly: fly into Golfito then take an 1:30 hour taxi to get to Pavones. We flew on Sansa Airlines and a one way is about 85$. They can take boards on the plane but have to be less than 7ft. Sorry all you loggers. It's the cutest little plane so FUN.

There was a line of taxis waiting to take us to Pavones. They will always high ball you but it will be around 70$ to get there. We had to stop in town to take cash out. If you want to skip the taxi, there is a daily bus that picks you up across from the hospital, it leaves at 3 in the afternoon. We were trying to surf that day so it was worth the taxi.

Pavones, Costa Rica

Welcome to the town square. The taxi dropped us off here. There are a bunch of signs for hostels and places to stay so we just started walking towards the beach until we found a place to stay.

This is what you will see on any given day. Surfers with no shoes.


Pavones we super interesting because there truly is nothing else to besides surf. Life revolves around the swell which at first is really fun but then after a week, you wonder if the locals think about anything else. We learned that the answer is no. We also learned there is a severe lack of women in this town which means the men have a field day when someone new comes to town. We got invited to 4 fish BBQ's. FOUR. We would leave our hostel and within 10 minutes an older man was flirting us up. At first we laughed but after a week of staying there, we could not handle it anymore. Normal conversation:


Man: "How old do you think I am?"


Me: (He was bald, tried to be nice) "I would say low 40's. How old are you?"


Man: "Don't worry about it but if you ever see me with my shirt off you would think I am younger."


...


THAT WAS REAL LIFE. So for any girls that want to go, take a boy or just be prepared to be to make fast exits.


While we may be super creeped out, I think these interactions ended up being pretty profound. It taught me a lot about how no matter where you are in life, everyone seeks love. Most people would see these men and think they lived the life. They surf the best waves, they live simply, they eat coconuts off trees but they ALL talked about how they wished they had someone to share it with. I used to think that simplifying my life would make me the happiest. Declutter my life, take away the stress and go off the grid. These men kinda DO live my dream life but it made me realize that no matter where you go in the world or how simple you live, it won't mean much until you have someone there with you. This was a big realization for me because I am always on the road seeking simplicity and life experience. I think this works for me now but to meet people 20 years older who traveled my same path and to see them lonely, it was a realization that I should maybe care a little more about falling in love. I'll warm up to it.


We met some awesome guys at our hostel that we spent the whole week with. It was nice to be around good guys that weren't trying to hit on us but double nice to have some guys block people off for you in the water. We ate at this Mexican restaurant more than anywhere else. Tico Mex, you HAVE to get the fish tacos. A cute little family runs it.

Blurry Myspace pic.


We ate out only sometimes, there are only so many options in a dirt road town. We mostly bought fruits and veggies from the small markets and made food. I don't know what it is about the beans in a bag but we had them TODOS LOS DIAS.

There are more surf breaks to check out besides the point. Punta Banco is about 10 minutes south. Beach break that can get pretty slabby. There are WAY less people and more waves to be had but it's just not that legendary left that you are looking for. Also check out Sawmills. 10 minute drive north or a 20 minute bike ride. It's a smaller wave where you will see all the groms out but it has amazing shape and it is fun for an afternoon session. Just take the main road out of town and you will see a random dirt road that takes off into the jungle. Follow that. We did not have a rental car but it was nice to have friends that did, we always just hitched rides with them.



PACKING LIST

Here is my wannabe packing list picture that everyone takes. I made a list on my Amazon Influencer page for anything you will need for your next surf trip. We did not bring boards on this trip because for how long we stayed vs the airline fees, it was not worth it to us. There are boards to rent but they are pretty crappy. Next time I'll bring down boards. If you are going to be surfing good waves you are going to want something that works. Most of the boards offered are really dinged or aren't anywhere near the measurements you are looking for. Make you bring a ding repair kit because there are rocks for days. I also brought a camera for when surfing, it was the SJCAM SJ8. It was a pretty rad little camera, shoots 4k and has a touch screen on the back. I am not an amazing surfer by any means but it was really cool to have footage of waves I caught so I could look back at them. Here is an edit I made with it. askdn


After our week was up we headed back to San Jose to sleep in the airport before our flight. We were able to stop at the LDS temple and it was so beautiful. We spent a lot of time here meeting new people. We try and see a temple no matter what country we go to. It is one of the highlights of every trip.

We had one last inaugural meal of bagged beans and tortillas then we headed to the airport for our *really* comfy sleeping situation. The things you do to travel the world on a budget.



WHAT I LEARNED

  • Never be afraid to paddle out even if you are the only girl in the water

  • No matter how awesome life is, we will always seek to be loved

  • Hydrogen peroxide solves earaches

  • Avoid fish BBQ's


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