In 1973 we rented a Chevy Nova in San Jose and had had no problems when we stopped in Nicoya for gas and a head’s up on the turn off to Nosara. The man pointed the way but told us in Spanish we barely understood that the Chevy was not up to the task. Given that no ideal vehicle was available and confident in our driving skills, we took off and found what had somehow escaped our less than perfect trip preparation – a bunch of rivers running high and no bridges. Not only was this unexpected but it resulted in a battle between me and Terry about river crossing technique.
Terry was sure we should cross slowly and carefully and I was just as certain that attacking at full speed was the way to go. Somehow, whatever we were doing, we made it close to what we later learned was Garza. At that point, with me driving, we came upon our widest and deepest river of the day. With total confidence I gunned the Nova into the water and with the tide half way up the body and our 5 year old screaming “we’re gonna drown!” we stopped dead in the middle of the stream. Uh oh.
I knew nothing about cars and repeated efforts to restart this one proved futile. It was late in the afternoon, the light was failing and we were just about ready to abandon ship and camp out when along came an hombre on a motorcycle and carrying a big catch of fish. Without a word he walked into the river, opened the hood, took out a rag, wiped the points and whatever else needed drying and directed me to start up the Nova. Miraculously it responded, he said nothing but, possibly, “va despacio, senor” and took off, leaving a family too happy to be back on the road to attack me for my really bad river crossing skills. All we had to do now was find the Beaches of Nosara and somehow, in the dark, climb a steep hill to its summit and find the cabin we had rented from Bev and David Kitson. Why worry?
Happily mobile again, and without further incident, we arrived at the Beaches of Nosara. Now what? It was dark, we had instructions that even master map reader Terry did not understand, and things again looked bad for our team. Once again, an angel appeared in the person of a young man from Minnesota, name of Jim Rondigen. Jim pointed the way up the steep hill of what is now Section A and at the peak, as promised, was the Kitson cabin. To orient those unfamiliar with the terrain, it is the current site of Casa Kitson, Bev’s lovely house adjacent to Lagarta Lodge. I don’t remember how we gained access or if there was a light but we dropped into bed and slept like rocks. Morning exposed what is certainly one of the most beautiful views in Costa Rica. Directly below is the ever changing delta of the Rios Montana and Nosara and north are beach sightlines straight to Ostional. Magnificent! One caveat however: when the afternoon son hit that cabin there was simply no place to hide. It was brutal.
I took my boys fishing and caught nothing but an old boot while a couple of Ticos nearby had a terrific haul. Clearly, my training growing up in New York City was unequal to the task at hand. Undaunted we explored the delta, climbed back to the cabin, took another walk to what we now know is the Boca and, totally unprepared for mountain climbing, collapsed and then we all washed down at the roofless shower where Terry had a secret admirer. She looked up to find, perched on the wall, a Howler monkey, who politely took off when asked.
We ate all of our meals at the hotel, Jim Rondigen ( some years later, Jim suffered a tragedy when his mother, visiting from Minnesota, was killed by a car backing up) took the boys snorkeling, we walked the beaches and just “hung out” until our much too brief visit was over. In those days our time was limited to school vacations and four of the 9 or 10 days was spent traveling. Longer stays were coming.