This is an entry in the We Said Go Travel Writing Contest written by Shannon Guerreso from America. Thanks for your entry Shannon!
When the paved roads give way to dusty unmarked trails, when landmarks assume responsibility for guiding your way, you will know you’re close. However you get there, whether by bus, open-air jeep or motorbike, the experience is the same: a sparkling utopia of sea and sand, a private haven so relaxed even the palm trees yawn horizontally along the shore.
Building on the beach is not permitted; an exquisite wall of vegetation springs along the curving length of shoreline, as far as the eye can see. Human life is sparse: a few locals, a few visitors, maybe with boogie boards, maybe with snorkel gear. A dreamscape of beach, the stretch buzzes with the contentment of undisturbed growth.
Punta Uva means “Grape Point”, derived from the grape tree located at its point. Stroll through the trees to the shore, the soft squish of mossy soil at your feet, listen for various bird calls against a backdrop of lapping waves. Look for three-toed sloths hanging lazily amid the paradise. Hear the howler monkeys hopping through the tree tops, ruffling the leaves. Watch them pop down to say hello, many of them “white-faced”: black but for the white fur cloaking their shoulders like a shawl, the white space surrounding their curious faces.
Rest a few days on the smooth ivory sand, feel the sun on your face. Lounge in a hammock to read in the shade. Explore the coral reefs. Luxuriate in the warm light breeze of coconut and saltwater. Spend the night at The Tree House Lodge, serenaded to sleep by crickets and a symphony of exotic jungle animals. Begin the morning with a rainbow of fresh fruit and yogurt, succulent and plentiful. Hydrate with any variety of refrescos naturals, fresh fruit drinks ranging from strawberry to blackberry to mango or cantaloupe.
Hike to the waterfalls, find solace in the meditative rush of cool water onto rocks. Stop at a local grubbery like Selvin’s Restaurant for the seafood soup. Relax in the open air of Coco’s Bar or drop into the Arrecife Restaurant for authentic cuisine. Try the casado, a dish of rice and beans typically served with carne asada, fish, chicken or pork. Enjoy a friend plantain, a local specialty, for dessert.
The expression is pura vida, which literally means “pure life”. Here, it is a way of life – enjoy it, relax, take satisfaction in yourself and your surroundings. Live well, smile often. Share your happiness with others. Learn from this. Remember it. Take it home with you.
You will find that Punta Uva becomes more than a physical destination; it morphs into a place of clear-sighted peace your mind can return to again and again when the stress and doubts of life – work, family, health, children – clouds your judgments, your choices, your vision. Escape to this place when you feel lost or uninspired. Let it heal you.
As children we are asked to imagine a paradise; a place free of danger and bullies and bad dreams and overpopulation. I pictured a small boat afloat azure crystalline waters, the heat of the sun melting all worries away. I pictured an escape from civilization. I pictured unadulterated beauty, the scent of swaying palm trees, a quiet place of refuge at what seemed like the edge of the world. I dreamed of this place often, but never believed in its existence.
Punta Uva proved me wrong.