When I found out I was going to Costa Rica for my niece’s wedding, I read a lot of stuff that said that the beach, with darker volcanic sand, was pretty hot. It was also the time of year that the sun was heading directly overhead on its way back south. So that’s when I decided to try baking myself a Seri Boot.
Here’s the result, along with a description of a hike I took along the beach.
I thought it worked pretty well. My soles certainly felt tougher to me, both when walking on stuff and when I felt them with my fingers. I had a question about whether the four days beforehand would really be enough to make a difference, and all I can say is that I was feeling results before I left.
The technique really seemed to work well—I was on the sand long enough to challenge my soles without hurting them. When I went to bed I could tell they felt stressed, but by the time I’d awakened in the morning, they felt normal again (or even thicker). I take that to mean that my body stengthened things overnight.
I should mention that there should be a caveat to this. I could just be fooling myself; I’m always suspicious of that. So keep that in mind.
Regarding going on the hot beach, this is the “rainy” season in Costa Rica. That means that it rained just about every day (except the day of the wedding—YAY!) and there was variable cloud cover. That meant that the sand did not heat up as much as it would have if there had been continuous sun.
I had no trouble on the sand at all. Yes, I could feel it, but it felt way cooler than the stuff I’d pulled out of my oven. Actually, one of the paths around the pool (made of a rather dark gray cinderblock) was actually hotter. I walked on it with impunity, even while hearing people around me complain.
OK, on with the hike.
Take a look at this satellite view of the area. (Click for the large version.) By the way, the satellite picture is rather brown because I think it was taken during the dry season, when everything dries up.
The hotel is at point A. (Note: As far as I can tell this was taken in 2006. Another hotel has been added in that blank spot just to the west of the hotel we stayed in.) You can see that there is a long beach (about four-fifths of a mile) heading to the west from point A to point B.
And then there’s a rock barrier.
(Click on most of these pictures to get much larger versions.)
You can walk on that rock barrier as long as it is low tide. Otherwise, you have to find the path that takes you over the top of that outcropping. The tide was low, but I took the high path anyways.
At the highest point there’s a good view of the ocean and shore. In this picture (taken from point B), you can see the Islas Pelonas (Bald Islands), which are at point C.
The path itself was quite easy for a seasoned barefooter. In this photo I’m looking back up the hill on my way down.
I do rather like the barrel cactus along the trail.
Past the outcropping was another nice beach (for about a third of a mile northwest of Point B). Here’s a shot of the RIU Guanacaste looking back where I came from.
At the end of that beach was another volcanic rock outcropping. This time I walked on the rocks. And this is where I think the Seri Boot experiment came in really handy.
The rocks were rather, um, corrugated. After all, they are volcanic, with typical volcanic jaggedness. However, my bare feet handled it just fine. Overall, I ended up doing 1¼ miles on it, and never got the least bit footsore.
You can get a feel for what it looks like in this shot, looking back at the hotel again, after I’d traversed the rocky section. (By the way, in this picture you can also see the new hotel next to the RIU Guanacaste: the RIU Palace, in white.)
From here on it was mostly volcanic rocks, with a few small stretches of beach between. This beach snuggled right up to the rock outcroppings.
Again, you can see the barrel cactus.
Of course there was wildlife. Here’s a turtle shell I found.
That’s about two feet across.
I also came across a bunch of black vultures that had found a dead fish and were working on it. Here, one of them is flying in to join the others.
And here they are settled in.
That point in the back is the turnaround point for my walk, Point D.
Talking fish, along my walk I encountered a fisherman. He wasn’t using a rod and reel, but a mask and snorkel, and a gar of some sort. He’d caught a whole bag of fish (including an octopus). They were going to be his dinner for the next week. Of course, he was barefoot too, and he had no trouble walking on the rocks.
Here’s a strange creature I’d never seen before.
That is a black chiton, as far as I can tell. It’s a kind of mollusc with an articulated shell. It’s about 2 inches long.
When I made it to the tip, there was this very interesting chasm there.
It was quite deep (which is why it looks so green) with the water sloshing back and forth. (There were also crabs there, but they skittered away too quickly for me to get a good picture of them. I do have a couple of nice blurs, though.)
I went just a bit past the tip and saw the next beach, Point E.
But then it was time to turn around. The sky was threatening and it was getting late.
Here’s my fun shot.
(Make sure you click on it: 1470×500.)
It’s a panoramic composite with rain in the background. On the far left you can see just a hint of a rainbow, and of course that’s the hotel on the right. You can also see the two longer beaches with the outcropping separating them.
The only picture I have of the full sweep of the beach is a wedding picture, so here’s one with the bride and groom and some family members. I appreciated being able to not worry about being barefoot at the wedding.
The picture (aside from all the incredibly attractive people) gives you a pretty good view of the sweep of the beaches and rocks out to the point.
And then finally, after that picture was taken, the sun continued to set.
Pretty cool trip, wasn’t it?