Surfers, Turtle Girls, Bird Girls, Monkey Girl

Punta Banco Travel Blog

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Saying goodbye to Franklin.
After driving over 8 hours and rattling our teeth over numerous dirt roads, the last thing we expected to find were other travelers in Punta Banco.

There were at least 8 surfer guys there who were crashing at a cabinas near the south end of town. Most of them had met each other during separate travels through Central and South America, and they had banded together to form a motley surfing crew. There were a few guys from California, some Aussies, and even a surfer from Holland.

There were also 8 girls who were there as part of PRETOMA, a turtle conservation program. They would patrol the beaches in the middle of the night, collecting eggs that the turtles would lay on the beach and storing them in a secure hatchery to prevent poachers from eating them.
Tortuga turtle eggs are collected from the beach by the turtle girls to be hatched safely within this area.
Many of them were from the states and everybody around town called them the "turtle girls."

There were also two girls there who studied birds. They were called the "bird girls." Finally, there was a woman there who studied monkeys. You can probably guess by now what her nickname was.

This eclectic mix of travelers was even more remarkable given how tiny the town is. Punta Banco consists of a dirt road, a church, a school, a bar, and a market. You could see every building in town within 2 minutes, and meet every local within 15. It had an amazing vibe, though, because there were so many interesting people around and the locals were incredibly friendly and welcoming to everyone. After staying here for a few days we felt like real members of the community rather than ghosts with cameras passing through.
The town bar. Dave and I lived above the bar, on the 2nd floor, in a tiny room for 4

The days spent here were some of the most relaxing of my life. Dave and I would wake up in the morning around 4-5AM, often before anyone else, and surf for a few hours. Our early bird schedule was partly due to our dedication to surfing and partly due to the fact that the roosters living right outside our room would wake us up with their incredibly loud crowing. I used to think that roosters only crowed at the crack of dawn, but in reality they crow all...night...long. My best night of sleep was when the rain was so loud that the rhythmic and predictable sound of it hitting the tin roof drowned out all other sounds.

After surfing we would return to Pedro's bar. Pedro's wife would ask us what we felt like eating and would cook us each a delicious breakfast for less than $3.
The swell hasn't arrived yet...
Since our Spanish isn't too great, sometimes we wouldn't get what we were expecting, but the food always tasted amazingly good. Definitely the best food in town if you are ever in Punta Banco.

At this point in the day I would usually lounge in a hammock and take a brief nap. Then I would wander around to the market and find people to talk to. Since there wasn't much to do, there were always other people wandering around, and the afternoon was spent chatting with new friends. If enough surfers gathered in one place, someone would usually suggest playing a game of volleyball on a nearby jungle court, and we would then go play volleyball for a few hours. The locals would often join us in these games and it was almost as fun as surfing. Playing volleyball barefoot in the jungle is not for the hypochondriac: one of the surfers, Jeff, stepped on a scorpion during the middle of one of the matches. The locals suggested crushing up the scorpion and rubbing it on the bite, which seemed to heal it quite nicely.

By the evening the wind would usually begin to die down and the tide would begin to come up, so we would get another surf session in. If the waves were good we'd surf until sunset. After that, we'd eat dinner, sleep early, and get ready to repeat our stressful schedule again the next day.

X_Drive says:
Are you trying to tell me they have not one Starbucks?!? OMG, must be the only place in the world. :)
Posted on: Aug 21, 2007
Higton says:
Man, that really is what Pura Vida is all about.
Posted on: Aug 21, 2007
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Saying goodbye to Franklin.
Saying goodbye to Franklin.
Tortuga turtle eggs are collected …
Tortuga turtle eggs are collected…
The town bar. Dave and I lived abo…
The town bar. Dave and I lived ab…
The swell hasnt arrived yet...
The swell hasn't arrived yet...
Jungle path.
Jungle path.
Jungle residence.
Jungle residence.
Punta Banco Sights & Attractions review
Consistent, but tricky tides
Punta Banco picks up more swell than neighboring Pavones, so if the longest left in the world isn't breaking it might be worth it to head south a bit,… read entire review
Punta Banco Sights & Attractions review
Fun powerful beachbreak
"Waterfalls", a name that Dave ("buffetrand") came up with, is about an hour's hike south of Punta Banco. Punta Banco was getting pretty mushy, so we … read entire review
Punta Banco
photo by: Eric