On Tuesday, our last day before heading back to Grecia, Tezzy and I got up early and took a short walk down to the beach before trying to find a coffee shop or restaurant open at 7:00 am, but they were all closed. We met an elderly Afro-Costa Rican man walking down the street and asked him about any coffee shops that might be open. He replied in perfect English that one was open about 100 meters down the street. Cahuita definitely has an Afro-Caribbean vibe, even in the colorful restaurant and coffee shop façades, which I find amazingly beautiful. We came upon a nice little restaurant named Soda Kawe, which was a 10-minute walk from our cabinas. We enjoyed breakfast while waiting for Jeanetta and Gerardo.
After everyone finished eating, we packed up, checked out, and headed toward Puerto Viejo, about 17 kilometers away. I had been told that Puerto Viejo is a party town, especially on the weekends. Tezzy and I will definitely have to come back and spend more time to find out if that is true. Along the way, we passed by some gorgeous beaches, including Playa Negro (or Black Beach), which is so named because of its black sand. We made a brief stop in Manzanillo, a village located just outside the Jairo Mora Sandoval Gandoca-Manzanillo Mixed Wildlife Refuge, at the end of Route 256. Manzanillo is situated south of Puerto Limon in Limon Province on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. The main attraction of this tiny town is its white sand beach lined with palm trees.
We came upon a roadside vendor selling jackfruit, which Jeanetta and Gerardo had never tasted before. I had first eaten jackfruit while visiting the Philippines years ago. We bought a huge jackfruit and shared it with Jeanetta and Gerardo to take home. We left Puerto Viejo at about noon and drove past the Port of Limon, through the outskirts of town, and onto Highway 32. Gerardo decided to take some of the less traveled roads as we headed toward Turrialba, a charming little town in the lush and beautiful Central Valley in Cartago Province. Turrialba is a major agricultural center of Costa Rica. We decided to make a pit stop and buy coffee at a local soda. Tezzy has always wanted to visit La Negrita, the Black Madonna shrine at Our Lady of the Angels Basilica located in Cartago, so we snapped a few pictures but the church was closed to visitors due to COVID-19.
We arrived back in Grecia at about 7:30 pm—a little tired, but extremely happy and grateful that we could spend such quality time on an amazing adventure with two wonderful friends.