Tamarindo to Tapir Valley

I have never been able to sit in front of a television set and watch a sport. Even at a young age, something about watching other males run up and down a court felt like wasted time.

Friends will sometimes claim that I don’t like sports. Others have also told me that if it is not being watched by at least a thousand people, it simply isn’t even a sport.

But I am not sure that my young-age decision to just skip out on watching sports has put me at any kind of disadvantage in life, or even that I’ve missed out on anything. In fact, I have observed that sports fandom sometimes gets in the way of a sporting life.

Have you ever met a college quarterback or soccer champ who had trouble enjoying sports later in life? Who exercised at those miserable indoor gyms or on fitness machines, but felt awkward with a paddle or a tennis racquet in their hand?

Alley in Tamarindo, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

A quiet beachside alleyway in the expat town of Tamarindo, Guanacaste Province.

I remember distinctly a pair of fit kayakers in their seventies, about to cross Clayoquot Sound, and a pair of surfers, similarly aged, towing surfboards on ramshackle wagons down a rocky path in coastal Oregon. That is it right there, I thought: to live a life of sport.

I like to think that my family pushed the idea that sport is something you do; part of an active life, and so when it was suggested that I plan our family reunion, I thought first about finding a sport we could all do together. How about surfing in Costa Rica’s Tamarindo?

The beach break in Tamarindo is known as the best beginner’s wave in Costa Rica, and perhaps in all of North America, and Tamarindo, once quiet and undeveloped, has boomed into an international surfing destination. Stocked with foreign expats, there is very little Costa Rica to the town.  So much so, that when my rice-and-beans loving brother asked about the best place for authentic Costa Rican faire, it was suggested we visit another town.

Is it a bad thing when a town is overwhelmed by expatriates, erasing hints of regional culture? “There are people who have been living here for thirty years, and they can’t even speak the language,” explains our rental manager.

Juvenile Male Green Iguana, Costa Rica

A juvenile Green Iguana, hiding in plain sight, rests in a
low-hanging tree in downtown Tamarindo.