After a long week at language school we thought Saturday would be a great day to
sleep in and relax all day in our pajamas get up early and drive 2 hours to a hot beach. We are still hanging out with our good friends Jay and Aaron so we shared a van and a driver and took off for a day of adventure.
The road to the beach is not quick nor easy. It’s only 72 miles from Antigua but it’s a pretty rough road through small towns and mountains. I was envisioning the drive from Bend to Portland, Oregon: drive out of town, go over mountain, go into valley, arrive. Uh, no. It’s more like “go over mountain, then another mountain, another one after that, a few more, then a dirt road, then arrive”. But our driver took us to a beach club (probably owned by his cousin, but in his defense it looked like the nicest place in town) and we settled in for the day.
We immediately noticed how warm it is. Yeah, we aren’t in the mountains anymore! It’s hot, like, Panama Hot. I was none too pleased to be back in the humid heat and the fact that I had failed to bring my swimsuit did not help matters. I was able to dip my feet into the water but still had a hard time cooling down. Aaron forgot a swimsuit too but a 20-year old college student with a side job as a personal trainer is a lot easier to fit into a swim suit bought from a street-side vendor. This 46-year old mom body who needs an aforementioned personal trainer… yeah, notsomuch. #ugh
The beach is known for it’s black sand, which is gorgeous but also very hot to walk on. The crashing of the waves can be heard for miles, they are incredibly strong and in fact swimming is not recommended, there are so many rip tides and strong currents. We enjoyed lunch at the beach club and then alternated between beach and pool. The kids love wading in the surf and running, screaming, as the surf chases them. I alternated between uncomfortable beach chair and uncomfortable pool chair.
The gringos were not to be ignored, of course, and soon we found ourselves in the company of Eric the Tour Guide, who was happy to sell us a mangrove tour. I had read, and he re-iterated, that there wasn’t much to do in Monterrico. Wikipedia says it’s known for it’s laid-back atmosphere. That means there’s not a lot to do. So Jay, Aaron, Haley and I decided to do the mangrove tour. Jay and Aaron are always up for anything. They are bueno, those two. Dan and Zoe stayed back at the pool and befriended some American and Dutch tourists. Dan said “I’ve seen a million mangroves and that was a million and one too many.” #grouch
Tour Guide Eric takes us to Boat Captain Juan and we head out. It was a Juan-powered boat so it was quiet, calm and incredibly peaceful. We immediately were glad we did it. It was just lovely. There was not a whole lot to see other than mangroves, some birds, some water grass and flowers, termite nests and a few fish, but it was still a fabulous jaunt. We went through some mangrove natural tunnels and even stopped to swim. They did anyway. I’m still bitter about the lack of swim suit. #anothergrouch
We had heard that Monterrico is well known for it’s baby turtle program, which is a night activity, but we were ready to head back to Antigua before night. So we missed that activity. We had another all-day adventure planned for the next day and even 20- year old college students need to get some rest.