My first morning in Puerto Viejo I woke up around 6:00 AM (8:00 AM back home) and the first thing I did was walk directly out the back to look at the ocean. It was so beautiful, I couldn’t believe I was actually there in real life. After a few minutes of taking that in I considered the fact that I was up at 6:00 and wondered for moment if I should try to go back to sleep for a little, but came to the conclusion that was nonsense, I was in Costa Rica and needed to take advantage of every second I had there. I grabbed my travel journal from my locker and went to a picnic table to write about the day I had before.
While I was doing that I would look up occasionally and observe what was going on around me, a few others up early, walking around, but it was pretty quiet. Eventually someone sat alone at a table a couple up from me it was the first day of my trip, and I was ready to start making new friends! I decided to introduce myself, it was early and my energy may have seemed like a bit too much, but I didn’t care. Thankfully he was welcoming of my introduction, and we got to talking about where we were from and what we were doing in Costa Rica, and he gave me a lot of good advice for when I got to Panama. He was from the states, but lived in Panama City for his job, and he ended up giving me some really good information for my time in Boquete.
By the time our conversation was ending it was approaching 8am which was the time I could rent my bike for the day from the hostel. I went back to my locker by my hammock, put my journal away, got my stuff for the day, and walked up to the desk to rent my bike. I rode my bike down the street looking for where I would stop to lay out on the beach for a while, I was so excited I didn’t even know where to start, or rather where to stop! Everything was so beautiful! I was filled with the excitement of the first day of my trip, the first day in a new place, and I knew there was so much to explore, but I reminded myself I still had a few days there, so finally I decided to pull over and find a spot on the beach. I was not in Florida anymore, I was looking at a beautiful beach I had only ever seen pictures of on google images, but this time it was right in front of my eyes. I couldn’t stop thinking about how fortunate I was to be there, this was something I would never forget, and was worth any sacrifice I had made back home to get there.
I spent that day riding around Puerto Viejo, literally just riding my bike through the town, stopping occasionally when I saw something that took my breath away, which was often. I found a place called Tasty Waves where I had lunch and made some new friends, and that became somewhere I spent a lot of time while I was in Puerto Viejo.
Eventually I went back to Rocking J’s to shower and wash the salt water out of my hair. I stayed there for the party they were having that night and I ran into the guy I had met early that morning. I sat next to him as we talked about what we actually did that day in comparison to the plans we had earlier that morning, then he introduced me to some of his friends from college. They were visiting him from Boston, which is what brought him from Panama City to Costa Rica, and the four of us ended up hanging out together all night. We all walked out to the back of Rocking J’s where there were benches and places to sit, and a lot of people were out there for a bonfire. The rest of the night was spent with my feet in the ocean and making friends with people from all over the world.
My first day in Puerto Viejo was everything I could’ve hoped it would be. It was worth every minute I spent confused on a bus trying to get there, and every dollar saved back home. I spent the day doing exactly what I wanted to do, I had salty hair, sun kissed skin, new friends, and experiences that I could only have had that night, in that place.