Tamarindo or Tamagringo

2006 > Costa Rica

Can you tell the difference between the two?

Slow-ass school bus
Worth the bus ride?
I knew this bus ride awaited me, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I even have a seat, but I am not happier. I really shouldn’t complain, because this is the deluxe bus, but I must, mainly at the driver.

Not only does he stop for every single person sanding beside the road, he also stops for any bump higher than a dime. On washboard dirt roads with occasional patches of pavement, this means a maximum average speed of 20 kilometers an hour. A snail’s pace I could beat in a broken wheelchair.

This bus driver is the main disappointment of Tamarindo, which otherwise is a very cool beach town. The two hours this bus takes to cross 40 KM, two hours of dust and discomfort, degrades the beautiful bay and crystal clear waters you find at the end of the long ride. This bus ride also keeps Tamarindo from becoming a full-blown Tamgringo – Tamarindo overrun with gringos.

Still, it’s not like the gringos don’t know about Tamarindo or resist invading it in waves of Spring Breakers intent on learning how to surf in a week. The town is growing up fast, new shops and hotels open every month, and the town will be unrecognizable if you miss a year.

I’m happy that Tamarindo allowed me to recognize that twelve years later, I still have the surf skills of my original Costa Rica surf trips back in 1992. I can still surf with a short or long board, still have great rides, and until the local Ticos swam out to the break, dominate the gringo talent with my old-school surfing skills.

Yet after two days of waves, it was time to go. Surf towns are the same world-wide and after a decade of them in my youth, I enjoy the short visit but need more stimuli. I’d spent every day on the beach, every night in the bechside bars, and the life got repetitive. Not to mention the swell was dropping and Nicaragua was calling, hence my presence on this slow-ass bus, dust and all, heading north to a new land.