Will Smith’s party tune, Welcome to Miami, became my personal anthem for our big American road trip.
I sang it silently in my head in the queue for the aeroplane, hummed it as we picked up the Mustang and sang out very loud as we drove along en a 2000 mile route towards Miami. Will told us to: ‘Party in the city where the heat is on. All night on the beach ‘till the break of dawn’. And we took his advice!
Mustang Jo now baby
We’d been talking sometime about a road-trip across the States. The usual had come up: the north to south California coast road; east to west coast; and the infamous Route 66. Too predictable, too far, too obvious. If we were going to go to the States, we wanted to just make our own journey. And I wanted some nature, the great outdoors. Plus some of that musical Hispanic culture of Cuban dissidents and Latino immigrants. My partner requested roller coasters, shower facilities and the occasional cold beer.
This time last year my boyfriend and I were sitting on a beach in Costa Rica. It was just coming to the end of the rainy season and subsequently there were still relatively few tourists around. Those that were there were surfers, typically North Americans or Europeans, who had rented a room for six months to take advantage of the cheap long-term ‘green season’ rates, the epic waves and the empty beaches. We were also coming to the end of our own six-month trip, during which I’d been working as a freelance travel writer in Ecuador and Guatemala. And Santa Teresa, on the Nicoya peninsular, was the perfect place to stop, re-group and take it all in.
We also had spent a day sipping fresh fruit cocktails and eating seafood on the beach in Puerto Lopez. This working beach-town has definitely not been spoilt by tourism. The only travellers here are backpackers, happy to stay in very basic hostels, ignore the rubbish on the streets and eat at plastic tables, knowing that as soon as a swanky resort hotel is built all the authenticity will disappear. And you can’t get it back.