Running the Conchal Gauntlet!- DEC 28, 2016
One of the coolest things to do in our area is to take day trips to the beach with friends and family, grab some ceviche and a cooler of ice cold Imperials! Playa Conchal is one of the finest day trips you’ll ever take and is a must see for any newcomers to our area.
Conchal is famous for the crystal clear water and its local vendors who offer everything a vacationer could want. There is, however, a local beach crossing of about 200 yards know as the gauntlet, that is a sandy 4×4 crossing that can be downright treacherous in the rainy season. In the middle you have to hit the drainage ditch just right or you’ll be stuck and at the mercy of the local tow companies. After many years of
witnessing various trappings, a few locals started bringing souped up Jeeps and Troopers with tow ropes. They would set up camp on the edge and let you pass into the gauntlet, with a front wheel drive rental car, without warning and then promptly come to the rescue for a handsome fee. It was all good to me as I had a 4×4 and had run the gauntlet many times without getting stuck. I would take friends and clients on the run to show my prowess and local knowledge of the area.
That was until one fateful Sunday when I got cocky and learned that even the best fall in sometimes. I was cruising along in some tire tracks and about to hit the water crossing when I came to the edge and realized that yesterday’s easy 2 foot drop off was now chest high, I panicked and hit the brakes only to fall hood first into the drainage and bury the front end of my $35k Montero sport into the sand. No one or nothing was hurt but my pride. Then I realized the tide was coming in and would need some assistance asap! There were little ripples slapping my tires, but in an hour or so my whole front end would be emerged in salt water. Plus, I didn’t have insurance for stupidity. So, I swallowed my pride and hit up the local pirate tow crew and asked for help. It was like a scene from the 80’s movie: “Vacation”. I asked them how much it costs for a little help and they slowly looked around, knowing they had me good, and said: “How much you got!”
So I appealed to their good nature and gave them some beers and promptly negotiated an $80 fee. This is where the fun started, as their old rickety Jeep and frayed rope line were no match for my buried Montero. To add more excitement, there was another crew so I made it a competition! All I can say is it was fun to watch! They were digging and pulling and pushing to no avail, and time was running out. So I had to pull out my ace in the hole.
I had recently hired a backhoe to clear a friends lot in Pirates Bay, so I called Fulvio and told him I needed a miracle and fast. To my amazement, and breaking all tico time
Sunday rules, he appeared just in the nick of time to pull my baby to safety. It turns out he was at the other end of the beach and had parked the backhoe at a bar right where he was hanging out with the family. Needless to say it cost me a few hundred to pay him off and give the tow boyz a few bucks. The car was saved and a valuable lesson learned. So let this be a warning to all, make sure you check the daily tide sand conditions before you try and run the gauntlet!
John Lahoud Jr,
Pura Vida Realty
Gold Coast, Costa Rica