Where the heck is Junquillal ( hoonk-a-lawl)?
As much as I love having the GPS, it is definitely not infallible. For instance, last week we wanted to check out a place called Junquillal. Junquillal is a nice little beach town south of Playa Flamingo. So we punch it in the GPS and off we go on another adventure. Little did we know the true adventure it would be. You see our GPS always looks for the “shortest” route, as that is the way I have programmed it. What the GPS does not take into consideration is the condition of the road. In this case, the shortest route was along the beach on a series of “roads” that appeared as a series of dashes on our old-fashioned map.
It turns out these “roads” would be a challenge for an ATV, much less our Suzuki SUV. There were rivers and dips, and ruts, and trees and iguanas, and occasionally a dirt bike. Our top speeds were in the 25 kilometer range, and my patience was running very short. Every once in a while there was a small “road” that turned off from our “road” and towards the beach, and through the dust and jarred teeth, I was often tempted to turn down one to take a break and change the shocks out. After about 45 minutes, our GPS told me to turn right, and since I had blindly been following it for over and hour I listened.
There we were, parked in a tiny little dirt circle, 4 small wooden beat down shacks, 5 or 6 old skiffs strewn around the area, some upside down and sun bleached, others upright, well used, but appearing sea worthy. There were also a couple of Ticos. It reminded me of an old abandoned fishing site, except people still lived there. This was not Junquillal. So I sat in the car, pulled out the old-fashioned map, cranked up the air conditioning, and in sheer frustration tried to figure out where the heck we were, and where was Junquillal? Tracy, every so cheery decided to walk out to the beach, perhaps to get away from me. After several minutes I determined that we were just above Junquillal, and had to do some backtracking to get there. I looked up to see Tra waving me out of the car, so I decided to stretch my legs.
As I walked down to this tiny black sandy beach, I could see it was surronded by rocky reefs, with waves crashing all around. Not a good swimming beach, I thought to my self. I saw Tra smiling and taking pictures as fast as she could push the button, pretty much normal operating procedure for her. So I looked down at the beach and saw why she was excited, the beach was littered with shells. Not your normal clam size shells, but large pieces of giant shells, shells like I have never seen. They were everywhere, impressive in their color design and stature, and she was picking them up as fast as her hands could move. Her ideal beach.
As we were collecting, a young Tico boy was out on one of the reefs bent over the water in his ragged jeans and orange t-shirt. He then stood up and walked towards us, and we could see he was holding three shells, three perfect unbroken shells, that he had just washed off. All three different styles and colors, all three ranging from 8-12 inches long. He told us his dad had just found these three on this beach, and of course, they were for sale. Although we were not buyers of the shells, we were buyers of the beach. I promptly saved the location in my GPS, knowing that we would return, and it was saved by the GPS as “4X4 High Clearance Only”. And after about 1/2 hour , we were off to Junquillal. It was nice, but is was no big shell beach
We did return and this time we brought the Daniels with us. The drive was not near as adventurous as we were able to find an alternate route, but this time the tide was high and the shells buried by the Pacific Ocean. Still we managed to do some free diving to gather some shells and enjoyed watching the locals fish and swimming in the bath water ocean. It was an adventure we will always remember and goes to show that the road , trail, path less traveled, although more time consuming and rougher, is often the most rewarding.