“Pura vida” Part II, Central and Southern Costa Rica

Our reach from the Tortugas to La Herradura marked our entrance into Central Costa Rica.  Pura Vida.  Here, the Papagayos take a bit of a break.  So too did Elizabeth Jean and her crew, coming in to the new marina in Quepos, called Pez Vel (Sail Fish) Marina.  True to its name, the marina is home to a sport fishing fleet and we arrived just before a fishing tournament began.  We chose Quepos as our destination because of its proximity to Manuel Antonio, one of Costa Rica’s premier parks, and the San Jose airport.  Here we would say good bye to our faithful crew Nancy Israel, who had been with us since Chiapas Mexico.  We would also greet Lal’s sister Mary Helen and our niece Caroline, who planned their visit to the park to coincide with our travels.  We luxuriated with them pool side at their hotel Mariposa, enjoying its stunning Pacific Ocean view and trekked in the park to the sound of howler monkeys and myriad bird species.  Volcanic eruptions delayed Mary Helen and Caroline’s departure, but nothing could hold Elizabeth Jean in harbor and we headed south to snug anchorages in Dominicalito and Drake, named for the famed and feared Sir Francis.  A four masted tall ship, Spirit Wind, we first spotted in Quepos, shared our Drake anchorage.  Reports of 100 foot visibility and the largest reef building colony in Pacific Costa Rica lured us to Isla del Cano, twelve miles west of Drake.  Our snorkeling confirmed the island’s reputation.  Isla del Cano is also known for having the highest incident of lightening strikes in Costa Rica.  We would have been happy not confirming this reputation; however, mother nature had other plans.  Dark clouds moved in as we sailed southeast towards Golfito.  Lightening flashes ahead of us, along with building seas and stiffening winds prompted us to turn back towards Drake where a rainbow and clearer skies seemed more welcoming.  Soon the storm filled in and white bolts split the sky in all directions.  Progressing north, the storm eased.  Nine miles out of Drake we saw Spirit Wind heading in our  direction.  As darkness and calmer weather arrived, we decided to join Spirit Wind and resume our night passage to Golfito in the Golfo Dulce. In Golfito, we stayed on a mooring ball and Land Sea Services, owned and run by former cruiser Tim Leachman.

Central Costa Rica

Puerto Quepos is a little above the map’s center.  Dominicalito, our first anchorage south of Quepos is near the town of Dominical.  Drake is above the peninsula in the lower right hand corner.


We said farewell to Nancy Israel, crew member extraordinaire.

Through Golfito 011

Mariposa’s Pacific view, the scene for our reunion with Lal’s sister Mary Helen and our niece Caroline.

Through Golfito 013

The sunset view over the infinity pool.

Through Golfito 018

MSV Spirit Wind, a 390 foot tall ship anchored outside the Pez Vela marina breakwater.


A white faced monkey plotting the next move.

Through Golfito 016

Captain Lal instructing Caroline on the finer points of taking the helm.

spirit wind

Spirit Wind followed us to Drake.  We kept her company later that night in our transit to Golfito.


Isla del Cano.

land sea golfito

We took a mooring ball at Land Sea Services in Golfito where we cleared out of Costa Rica.  Pura Vida, Costa Rica.  Next stop, Panama.

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