Costa Rica Misadventures

Lost Glasses in Ocean – Costa Rica Misadventure

Last updated on March 3rd, 2022

What started out like any other day of our trip turned out not how we planned. After 4 hours driving from San Jose, we had finally made it to the small coastal beach town of Tamarindo. The plan was to spend the night then continue onward to Nicaragua the next day.


Feeling tired and hot, we decided to enjoy the rest of the day relaxing at the beach. While swimming, we watched the surfers ride the waves. The waves weren’t overly high to not be able to swim, but they were high enough to catch a wave and for it to go over your head.

waves at tamarindo beach costa rica










It was fun jumping through the waves. With our new waterproof camera, it was a great time to try it out in the water.


Patrick chose to wear his glasses into the ocean to enjoy the view. I didn’t like the idea as he does not normally wear glasses while swimming, but he seemed to have a handle on it, so all was fine.


We continued to swim and enjoy playing and taking photos in the waves. Whenever a wave approached, Patrick would hold his glasses onto his face to ensure they wouldn’t fall off while it moved through us.


The next wave came. We jumped through it. When we came out. I looked at Patrick, and he looked back at me.










Where are your glasses?


Oh, shoot! Where did they go?!


While wouldn’t you know it, that one wave managed to knock his glasses off. Plop, into the ocean, his glasses went. The glasses sunk right to the bottom.


He started to panic.


The search began immediately.


Gently feeling around the ocean floor with our toes, we attempted to search within the area his glasses fell off.


No luck finding it with our toes. We needed to find them. We widened the search area to the direction the waves would bring the sand. Still having no luck locating them.  


Patrick had an idea. Maybe we could find his glasses using his prescription scuba mask so we could see below the surface of the water. So off he went and a few minutes later, returning with his scuba mask. Searching and searching, there was too much movement of the sand to be able to view the ocean floor clearly from the waves. We were not going to be successful using the scuba mask.










As the search continued for over 15-20 minutes, the sun slowly set. With the sun setting, we couldn’t continue to search, without the sun to light our way. We gave up for the rest of the day and decided to enjoy the last of the sunset. We would continue the search tomorrow morning before moving onward to Nicaragua, as he needed those glasses badly.


This is where I should probably mention that these were the only pair of glasses that he brought on this entire trip, and we still had about a week left before going home.


Can you believe it?!


No spare pair of glasses and now his only pair of glasses are lost in the ocean in Costa Rica.


What bad luck we were having.

tamarindo sunset costa rica










With the sun set and nothing else planned for the rest of the evening, we decided to walk the beach strip checking for eyeglass shops. We spotted one shop, but, the town of Tamarindo is very remote and tiny, and the shop closed super early, so we would have to wait until the next day.


Hungry, we headed to find some dinner. Patrick with scuba mask in hand as his only set of eyes, I was in charge of finding a place and checking menus.


Thankfully his scuba mask was a prescription mask, so at least for now, it was now his only set of eyes. Holding the scuba mask up to his face momentarily, he would read the menu, then set it down near him to use as needed.

prescription scuba mask for eyes










And that’s how we got through this day.


Now, the next day gets more interesting!


We had to leave Tamarindo, to start heading over the border into Nicaragua, and he was the only driver. So he needed to be able to see to drive.


We checked with the local eyewear shop, and they said it would take two weeks for glasses to be made! There was no way that we could wait two weeks for a new pair of glasses to be made. That amount of time we did not have. We were to be moving onward into Nicaragua today and wouldn’t be coming back to Tamarindo, so we just couldn’t wait.


Having driven an hour and a half from Tamarindo to the nearest major city of Liberia, we stopped at an optometrist shop. During the drive, Patrick had to drive with one hand on the wheel and one hand holding his scuba mask to his face so he could see, while I shifted the gears of our standard rental car whenever we needed to.


What a ride that was!  He called out whenever it was time to shift gears. We made it work, after all, we had to keep going, and he needed to be able to see, to safely drive.


When we finally arrived in Liberia, we stopped at an optometrist shop. They said it would take a few days for glasses, but, they could do contacts.


Patrick had never tried contacts, not ever in his whole life, but desperate to be able to see and enjoy the rest of our trip, he agreed to try out contact lenses. After his eye checkup, the optometrist came out with contact lenses matching his prescription.


It was an unusual sight to see, Patrick battling this contact lens, staring into a mirror, trying to get it in his eye. He just couldn’t manage to get the contact in his eye. He was struggling.


Then it happened. He managed to get the first lens in. 


After about 20 minutes, he was finally successful at getting the first contact in. The second one took much less time. Patrick was getting the hang of putting them in.


Blinking semi-rapidly he was trying to assure they were in the right place within his eyes. A few moments later, he opened his eyes, and he could see again! It was such an incredible experience for him.


opticas vision liberia costa rica










He was able to see in a way he couldn’t see before. Everything was crystal clear, unlike with glasses where there are spots that are still not clear, such as peripheral vision. So happy, he stated that he wanted to try wearing them more often, especially for travelling.

It was a life-changer!

We purchased a few extra pairs and off we went. When we returned home from the trip, Patrick ordered 3 pairs of glasses as well as more contact lenses, and now we always travel with both contact lenses and glasses to ensure this does not happen again. There are double and triple checks to ensure he has spares.

How to Avoid This From Happening to You:

  • Always make sure you bring spare contacts and/or glasses when you travel. You never know what is going to happen, whether it’s losing them or breaking them. It’s good to be prepared so you can fully enjoy your trip.

Our crazy story about losing glasses in the ocean turned out to be a good thing. Now Patrick uses contacts when we travel or even special occasions here at home when he wants to see everything crystal clear. He’s like a kid in a candy shop, with big open eyes, admiring the world whenever he wears contacts. It makes me so happy to see him that way.

Have you ever lost your glasses while traveling or at home? Share your experience in the comments below.

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