Rough wooden sign on the edge of a beach
Costa Rica,  Monday walks,  Photographing Public Art

A short (hot) walk around Guiones

While the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica’s southwest is remote and wild, the Nicoya Peninsula in the northwest is rather more developed as a tourist destination. Nevertheless Pacific waves still pound its shores and there are quiet corners to be found. After all, ‘developed’ in Costa Rica is a relative term!

On our first full day staying at Lagarta Lodge we took the hotel’s shuttle bus to Guiones, the nearest beach town. We’d expected to find bars and cafés on the beach, which is popular among surfers; but as it’s a natural reserve the buildings were all set some distance back from the sea.

It was very very hot! So after taking a few photos of the surfers we retreated to the occasional shade to be found in the streets of the laid-back little town.

Small basic hotel on a tree-lined road
Bare feet, surf board and sun hat – the attire of choice in Guiones

We found a little coffee shop selling excellent iced coffees. The guy working there said they only opened two weeks ago, so all the coffees were the same low price! We sat on a bench outside to enjoy our drinks, then walked around taking a few photos.

Man with dreadlocks on a truck with sign advertising drinks
Coconut water for sale (‘pipa fria’)
Sign advertising real estate pointing to camper van
Real estate sales, Guiones style

I’m sharing this with Jo for her Monday Walks, but I have to confess it was a rather short walk! The heat here was a bit much for me for walking, and there was little shade from the mostly low buildings as the sun climbed higher. But both Chris and I welcomed the opportunity for a different style of photography after the mostly wildlife and landscape shots we’d been taking on this trip.

Despite the hot sun I enjoyed seeking out and photographing various bits of street art, which I’m sharing for Marsha’s Photographing Public Art challenge. The ones on corrugated metal were at a construction site. This area is very popular with ex-pats from the US in particular; we saw signs for new developments in several places around the little town, including the real estate ‘office’ above. I wonder if it will manage to remain so laid-back in character in the future?

After a while we found a spot that was shady, at a juice bar, where we had some very good smoothies made with coconut water.

Colourful signs promoting juice bar
At the juice bar

We’d booked a 12.25 return shuttle but when it didn’t appear on time we called the hotel. They apologised for the mix-up and sent a jeep to fetch us, but it meant a bit of a wait. Luckily we found somewhere in the shade to stand; and even more luckily we had the chance to photograph a couple of Variegated Squirrels in a nearby tree.

Just the same, I was glad to see the jeep arrive; and even more glad to get back to the lodge and its welcoming shade and beautiful pools.

I visited Costa Rica in February 2022

43 Comments

  • ThingsHelenLoves

    You capture places so beautifully, Sarah! I am utterly charmed by the squirrels, love the little greys and reds I come across here in Wiltshire but the Variegated Squirrels are something else.

  • Julie

    I went to Costa Rica many years ago. We stay in Liberia and explored Guanacaste and Monteverde. It was short visit — we only stay four days for the long weekend. I would love to revisit to see San Jose and the Arenal volcano.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I hope you do get to go back. I think the Arenal area was my favourite in some ways. It’s quite touristy but the weather was perfect for me (warm but not hot) and the wildlife spotting was the best we had during the whole trip!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      It really is worth considering. It’s beautiful, it’s well set-up for tourism, it’s very friendly, it’s quite small so you can pack a lot into a trip – and the wildlife diversity is amazing!

  • lisaonthebeach

    Oh my goodness Sarah! I love this post! I would love to explore that area. However, I did almost overheat on two vacations, so I’d need to make sure I’m drinking lots of water. I am not use to hot humidity. BUT, I still love to explore! Thank you for sharing your BEAUTIFUL adventure! 💙💚🦜🥥🌴

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks so much Lisa 🙂 The coconut water is a great option here, really refreshing! But I’m not good in such heat for long, I have to say, although like you I love to explore. Even if it’s hot I would get bored spending all day by the pool as some do on holiday!

      • lisaonthebeach

        I do like coconut water, I have some in my fridge now. I’ve gotten overheated on a hot walk here at home and coconut water takes away that little headache that starts to grow. Although I think I’m smarter now and prevent the overheating by taking water with me… always! 😊

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks – this is probably the last post I have with tales from our Costa Rica trip, but watch this space as we’re off again soon, just on a short break!

  • Pat

    We love finding these small towns when we travel. The photos you took are wonderful and I’m so glad you shared the little walk – I’m not a bit tired after following along. 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Absolutely – even in two weeks we saw so much variety. Mainly in landscape, natural diversity, climate – but also in places like this, coming across a rather different lifestyle and also travellers with differing priorities 🙂

  • restlessjo

    It sounds a beautifully chilled place, Sarah, and as Marsha says, nice street art. I gather you two aren’t surfers? Not much opportunity to practise on the north east coast! Many thanks to you for taking me somewhere I’ve never heard of.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Incredibly chilled! No, neither of us surf – I have terrible balance and Chris isn’t keen on getting wet 😆 But actually people do surf in the north east (in wet suits, naturally) and there’s a well-established surf shop in Tynemouth. But in London, where I’m from, there’s certainly no surfing – although had I wanted to I could have perhaps had a go on family holidays to Cornwall!

  • Marsha Ingrao

    Sarah, your street art is gorgeous and perfect for PPAC. I love the man in the hats, too. And that real estate office is a hoot. Vince was stationed in Costa Rica in the service and served as a translator. They would sit all day in headphones translating. When lightning struck, it would cause a huge blast in their ears. Today he’s almost deaf, but I’m glad he was there during the Viet Nam War era and not in Viet Nam. Back to your post. The little yellow bird is adorable and the pools look luscious. From your description of the heat, although it must have been a pleasant break from winter in England, would have killed me! A little heat and mugginess goes a long way. I’d have to Go Juice Myself!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Marsha 🙂 I reckon that man with the hats and the real estate office together say everything there is to be said about the vibe in Guiones! In your position I’d be very glad too that my husband wasn’t in Vietnam 🤗 Generally the weather in CR was indeed a wonderful break from the English winter – it was just on this particular morning I found it a bit too much.

      • Annie Berger

        I smiled, Sarah, reading one of your comments about your husband not liking water and your obviously not a big fan of hot weather. Yet you still chose to spend two weeks in steamy Costa Rica – I can see the country had so much to offer you with its gorgeous flowers and bountiful wildlife you showed us in your posts.

        • Sarah Wilkie

          Well in fairness only this north west corner was steamy! The climate in the south west was hot but with more sea breezes, while inland was absolutely perfect around La Fortuna (high 20s centigrade) and positively cool (high teens) in Monteverde. And it certainly wasn’t a beach holiday, which neither of us much enjoys, or at least only for a day or so 🙂

          • Annie Berger

            Ahh – thanks for clarifying about the climate varying so much throughout the country. I should have known that from reading your and Phil and Michaela’s posts on Costa Rica.

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