The netted area at the front of a catamaran is called the trampoline or tramp for short. Ours has a seam down the middle and stitching all around the sides. We knew at the start of the season that the stitching was getting near the end of its life span, so we were keeping on eye on it. The UV Light in the tropics is tough on everything. We were hoping it would make it to Panama. No such luck. With all the wind and water over the bow we went through on the last passage the seam let go. Not a good thing as we are supposed to be able to walk on it.

Black line is the “on the water” temporary fix.
Playa del Coco

It did become the perfect excuse to stay at Marina Papagayos just 8 miles up from Playa del Coco. We were given the name of an awning company who thought he could do our repair based on the pictures we sent him. He met us at the marina, quoted us a good price and left with the tramp.  

Marina Papagayos is part of a 2300-acre resort development with several brand name hotel properties and a golf course on the site. The marina is a very nice facility. Possibly one of the nicest marinas we have been to. It is also the most expensive place we have ever stayed at. Even with the Panama Posse discount it was over $100 per night just to tie up.  We knew that Costa Rica was going to be expensive, we are certainly not in Mexico anymore.

Playa del Coco was closer to the canvas shop, so after 3 days in the marina we moved back to the anchorage for a couple of nights to wait for our tramp repair. We had to check out with the Port Captain from here anyways and get our National Zarpe which is good until Golfito. We met Giovanni on the beach to collect our trampoline and headed back to the boat. We have reinstalled the tramp a couple of times over the years. It’s not a difficult job just a bit finicky as you have to adjust the ties on all four sides to get the tension right and center it in position. The winds were blowing the usual 30 knots, while this did keep us cool in the afternoon sun, it also added an additional element of difficulty getting the first few ties done.  

Repaired tramp going back in place

Playa del Coco is a busy ex-pat community with lots of restaurants, shops and tour operators. They even have rinse off showers as you come off the beach. As boaters we appreciate the opportunity to rinse the sand and salt water off after landing the dinghy on shore. We wish more beaches had them.

It was here in Coco we met up with BC boat friends and with 2 other boats. We were a group of 8 and did a great inland day tour. We went on a “guided 2 mile jungle trek” where we saw some Toucans and interesting fauna. We saw a nice waterfall, toured a sloth sanctuary, had a very nice lunch beside a butterfly enclosure and stopped at a coffee plantation.

One of three suspension bridges along the trail.
Just hanging out
Coffee plantation tour with samples.

With the captain and crew rested and rejuvenated after that crazy last passage, it was time to move on. It was a quick hop down the coast to Bahia Potrero. We anchored outside the breakwater and took the dinghy in to explore what we thought was an abandoned marina. We were “greeted” by a young man who advised us that we were supposed to radio the marina before entry.  The Flamingo Marina had just reopened and we were not supposed to be just dinghying around in there. Ooops. We left.

An early morning departure and 55 mile run took us down to Bahia Samara where we anchored overnight. We couldn’t figure out the strange hissing-like noise we were hearing when we shut down the engines.  Was it a propane leak or a weird whistle through the rigging?  Turns out there were cicadas on shore. They are large insects found in warm countries that produce a high continuous sound. Mystery solved. Another early morning departure brought us down to Bahia Ballena. Ballena has a couple of nice anchorages, each better for the wind blowing from a different direction. We stayed for a few days and made use of both areas. There is a small airport here that is clearly popular with parachutists. There were parachutes in the skies many times during the day and they landed on the beach just down from us.

Dinghy parking on Ballena beach
Checking out the estuary at Bahia Ballena. Picture from Stella Blue crew

The next stop was Bahia Curu which is home to the Curu Wildlife Refuge. We went ashore to book a tour for the following morning and to catch a taxi to the town of Paquera about 5 Kms up the road.  The tour guide was heading to town, so he agreed to give us a ride. Just one small hurdle. In order to cross the Refuge grounds, you have to pay the entry fee. Normally $15 US per person. With 5 of us headed to town this was a ridiculous fee to drive out and back on the driveway. We were able to negotiate a rate of $5 per person. They agreed only because we had signed up for the walking tour the next morning and we would be paying the $15 per person then on top of the tour fee of $20. The tour the next morning was great. We saw lots of howler and white-faced monkeys, deer, coatimundis ( similar to a racoon), some Costa Rican rat like thing I can’ t remember the name of and lots of plants and flowers. We were all a bit disappointed we did not see a crocodile in the river though.

We made a couple more stops at some of the islands in the Gulf of Nicoya including Isla Tortugas, which has been the nicest beach we have been to in Costa Rica so far. Isla San Lucas where we toured the remains of an abandoned prison. It was in operation from 1873 until 1991. It would have been the Costa Rican equivalent to San Francisco’s Alcatraz. A life sentence here was exactly that. The movie “Island of Lost Souls” was a portrayal of life in this prison.

Beach at Tortuga
Abandoned jail
Happy hour with the Pilialoha and Stella Blue crews

Our last Happy Hour with Nikki and Luke as they head home to Hawaii after being aboard Pilialoha for 2 weeks. We hope Pilialoha can catch up with us down the road after their 2 week inland trip. So its us and Stella Blue continuing on down the coast.

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6 thoughts on “Costa Rica, Cost a Lota

  1. Hi guys! Flight to Honolulu is delayed for 5 hours so we’re stuck in Houston for a while. Luke and I are reading through some of your posts so we can live vicariously through you, such fun adventures! It was a great time hanging out, and if you ever find yourselves in Oahu give us a shout!

  2. Your adventures always have quite the mix of work and pleasure. Thanks for sharing a great read as always. Love the pictures. Especially the last one with both your smiling faces.
    Happy sails to you both!

  3. Amazing pictures and stories. Thank you
    What wonderful memories you will have.
    Glad you are having such wonderful fun times.

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