What a difference 4 kilometers can make!
Previously, in my COVID chronicles, I was sweating all the uncertainty we were feeling about the rest of our plans for the year. We had just purchased a July flight home from Costa Rica that we weren’t sure we’d be able to take and the odds of making it to Europe for the second half of our 2020 travel plans were growing slimmer by the day. You can find that hand-wringing post here. It was preceded by a post about finding normalcy and a post before that about being stuck and one before that about the general travel fall-out when the pandemic first ramped up in March. I’m glad I’ll have these COVID chronicles to look back on how the pandemic impacted us and our changing moods and outlooks throughout.
For example, the difference between my last and this one is pretty much night and day.
The day after my last post was Chad’s birthday and our two-year travel-versary. To celebrate, we rode our bikes to the big beach in Coco and went for our first swim in weeks (maybe months). It was so much fun. We followed it up by going out to breakfast at a Mexican restaurant to enjoy some fantastic chilaquiles. It was an awesome morning, though it had to end with two grocery stops and the long bike ride home.
However, that day really changed things for us here in Costa Rica, because we spent part of it trying to figure out what we might like to do for our last couple of weeks here. As I wrote in my May 24 post, at that time we were figuring we’d stay in place until the end of June and then spend the two weeks prior to our flight doing more exploring of Costa Rica. What we discovered on Chad’s birthday is that we’ve really seen and done most everything we wanted and there was nowhere else we really wanted to go. So as Chad looked at and discarded alternative location options, I took a glance at other properties in Coco on Airbnb. And I found that prices had dropped so dramatically due to the pandemic that there was hope that we could afford a place in the town of Coco, maybe even with an ocean view.
Chad didn’t take much convincing, and within a couple of days, we’d negotiated a great rate that was only slightly more expensive than our country-desert-Ocotal place within the swanky Las Palmas neighborhood of Coco that had not only an ocean view from the bedroom and living room but also a private rooftop terrace for viewing spectacular sunsets over the Pacific. Moving four kilometers down the road into town would mean leaving behind our bicycles and washing machine, but gaining proximity to the now-open (from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m.) beaches, plus easier access to groceries and dining out. It was a no-brainer and five days after Chad’s birthday, we were set to move.
This change has been completely revitalizing for both of us. We’d both been working nonstop and our first week in the new place, we stepped way back from work (although that lasted only a week and the following week, Chad was pulling 14-hour days to make a grant deadline). We went to the beach almost every day, we had cocktails on the terrace almost every night, and we lingered over sunset meals and breakfasts on the terrace. We took nice walks and hung out and it really started feeling like our relaxed life of travel again. And, the pools at this complex are open (with social distancing – only 4 people at a time allowed; but there are 4 pools and maybe only 10 units rented, so it is never hard to find one empty).
It’s been three weeks now in our new place and we are still so happy with the move, so much so that we’ve extended our time here straight up until the night before our flight (which we still don’t know whether that will happen as planned because the government has been slow to announce its decision on keeping the borders closed. But we’re still hopeful about finding a way home in mid-July one way or another).
Today is Friday, we took the day off just because. We got up early to walk almost three miles to Playa Hermosa over the ridge and snorkel there. It was a lot of fun capped by a phenomenal Tico breakfast. At our old place, we had run out of places to walk to and explore, and were maybe in a bit of a rut. Here, we have new possibilities and several more walk-and-snorkel adventures planned. Even better, yesterday the government announced that the beaches can now be open 7 days a week and for 90 minutes longer. We’re very happy to be able to go to the beach on the weekends, starting tomorrow!
I don’t think we realized how much our weeks and weeks (10 of them to be exact) spent in Ocotal were impacting our moods, because we have never spent that long in one place since we started traveling two years ago. Although we’re basically in the same town still, living in Coco with a gorgeous view feels like an entirely different place and we’re so happy we made the move.
We’re still very ready to go home in July and get back on the road in September (fingers crossed). But in the meantime, we are really enjoying being here in Costa Rica.
What a difference 4 kilometers makes!