How a cowboy saved me $30,000 in Costa Rica

One of the questions we posted to the panelists for our Insiders’ Guide to the Perfect Costa Rican Trip, available now in our High Season Print Edition, was: what is your favorite memory from your first trip to Costa Rica? Panelist Marshall Cobb, who now lives in Monteverde, recalled this anecdote from a visit to Costa Rica as a tourist.

About seven years ago we took in a large swath of the country as tourists. Part of that trip was down on the Nicoya Peninsula. We were using a paper map trying to get to our spot on the beach and discovered that the road had disappeared and was instead a large, fast-moving river.

Not crossing at this spot meant that I would have to retrace our steps and take another route that would add almost two hours to our already long journey. If, on the other hand, we were able to cross we had only 10 or 15 minutes until we reached our destination. My overconfidence was as high as my patience was low.

I was about to try and cross in our height-challenged, teeny rental car when a caballero passed us atop his horse. He led his small herd of cattle across the river, his cattle dog swimming along beside him. All of us watched, mesmerized, as the water rose up to the belly of the horse.

As he neared the far bank the cowboy turned, smiled and wagged his index finger at me. He then urged his horse forward to follow the herd which had already disappeared into the brush on the other side.

As I turned our car around, grudgingly accepting the fact that our trip was going to be at least a couple of hours longer, it sunk in that the caballero had just saved our trip (as well as $30,000).

Marshall Cobb and his family moved to the Monte Verde district in 2015. He takes breaks from working on his novel by posting blogs on his website and can be reached at: marshall@marshall-cobb.com.