Costa Rican Poisonous Creatures, Rainforest, Volcanos, Wicked Rivers…35

Our arrival in Costa Rica was a joy. We LOVE Mexico, but it was time for a change, a totally new place was exciting and we made progress down the coast towards the Panama Canal.

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In our last blog, Leaving Mexico, Costa Rica Here We Come! , you will remember that Loren and Stephanie helped us cruise to Costa Rica. They were with us 3 more days and we really enjoyed ourselves. We were located at Papagayo Marina which is a resort area and we were able to use the pool and enjoyed the drinks and food at the “Dive Bar” at the marina.

We decided to go have dinner at a nearby resort restaurant, “Andaz Costa Rica Resort”. This required us to walk a mile or so on a small paved path. It was a nice evening, the sun was just starting to set while we walked through the forest vegetation along the path.  We had flashlights in hand and it felt good to walk after a long transit. We end up at a cute & friendly spot for dinner, “Restaurante Chao Pescao”.  All of the restaurants are open air with some combination of barely covered roofs. We had an awesome dinner, all of the food was fabulous, way too much food to finish. As we were preparing to head out the waitress said she would “called us a shuttle to get back to the marina” She then warned us of walking in the forest in the dark. (yes, it is a forest, but with the paved path & flash lights, we didn’t think it was dangerous). She said that the snakes, scorpions, and spiders in the forest are mostly poisonous and are abundant at night and we should NOT walk the path at night…. GOOD THING to know! Right? So Glad nothing happened!

img_4451We also signed up for a volcano tour at “Rincón de la Vieja National Park“. It was a bit cloudy and rainy the day we went, but we had an excellent time. Got to see all the bubbling water holes, smell the steaming sulfur gases & enjoy the interesting nature all along the path.  Throughout our hike the tour guide was very detailed explaining what we were seeing, educating us on the animals, vegetation, & volcano activity, he was awesome. We also got to see a small group of monkeys high in the trees. It was a good day in the rainforest.

The next day we did a beach day at a nearby location. The marina office told us that we had the ability to visit this beach for free, normal cost was $50usd a head. We decided to take advantage and spend the day, have lunch and relax. We had food and drinks and got to sit on these unique “beach bed couch loungers“. (mouth full huh?) We had a great afternoon of relaxation, but the wind decided to pick up and we got hit with a bit of sand flying in our faces… so as we were picking up and getting ready to leave the white-nosed Coatimundi animals came out. They are smart like raccoons and know how to steal food from the humans. img_4554It was pretty funny watching them and how smart they were. We now realized the reason we were served food in a large bowl with a covered lid.

Our time with Loren and Stephanie was coming to an end and we were sad they were leaving. We had to say goodbye to our friends and crew helpers! Couldn’t have done it without you two! Thanks for all you did!

A few days later we left Papagayo Marina headed to Pez Vela Marina down the coast.  We had decided to do it in a couple jumps and anchor out. We get to see more of the countryside and don’t have to run all night! BONUS!

Our first stop was at Bahia Portero. It was a short run and very good choice. The bay was quiet and calm.  A small resort near a small town and a accumulation of small boats across the way by the resort. We stayed one night and slept well. Up early to head to our next location Bahia Ballena. We had to leave early as the run to Bahia Ballena was going to take about 12 hours. We wanted to anchor before it got dark. (Always a good thing) We had a pretty calm run for about ¾ of the time. As we transited down the coast we hit a bit of unpleasant waves but we kept pushing as we didn’t want to lose time and miss our anchoring window. We arrived with about 10 mins to spare as we dropped our anchor. It was a pretty deep bay and we anchored over by the fishing village. Cooked some dinner and crashed from a long day of travel.

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Pointing which way to go around

We got underway the next morning about 8am and had a 7 hour run to Marina de Pez Vela. As we left the bay we saw rows and rows of fishing nets. We had a hard time deciphering which way to go to get around them. The locals place floats with nets hanging down stretched out from float to float for a mile or more. We don’t want to hit them.. 1) we can get it caught in our props and cause issues. 2) this is their livelihood for food and income. Sometimes we were lucky to see a Panga (small fishing boat) to direct us around their nets, other times we just guess. I stood out on the bow and pointed out flags while Dan drove around, and we attempted to miss them. It was a good 2 hours + of time to get out of all of the net areas going slowly. Afterwards we had calm seas and made good progress.

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Map of our trip & stops from Papagayo to Quepos

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We arrived at Pez Vela Marina around 3pm to a very nice slip and dock hands to help us. When Dan went to checked in, he was told that they were doing a Christmas celebration in the marina that night and the boats would be lit up with lights. The marina is popular with the nearby town of Quepos. Many local folks come to the nice restaurants and join in the activities that are located at the marina. Dan and I found a sports bar that was on the 3rd floor with a great view of the marina and enjoyed the food and watched the boats turn on all their lights. By the time we got back to the boat we were both exhausted and crashed early that evening. We were woke up an hour later with fireworks all around the Marina going off over our heads. Not quite as regulated as the US.

We had new guests, Molly and Scott Bradley arriving in a day.  Molly is one of my good friend from my IT Job. I am grateful for our friendship and we were eager to see them. We planned on staying in this marina until after Christmas, as we were going to fly home to spend time with our friends and family. This allowed us to just enjoy the town.

We scheduled some cool adventure trips near Quepos with Molly and Scott. We enjoy the city, mountains, ocean & rivers with our friends and of course all the good food and drinks. We did a couple guided tours where we paid for a guide. Our first one was a white-water rafting trip with “PRO Rafting“.  This trip was amazing and I highly recommend it. We all had a blast and were thrilled, scared and laughing the whole time. The crew on the boats were top notch and we would do this again if we ever come back. Thank you, Marcelo, Felipe Rambo, Chris & Moises!

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Our second tour was a zipline in the tropical forest. We took a bus to the top of a mountain top where we crossed a suspension bridge. We have done multiple different zip lines in other countries. This one was fun, lots of lines and a good stopping system. The weather didn’t cooperate at all, we had low clouds and rain which prevented us from seeing the views. It was fun and I’m sure it would have been better if the clouds weren’t so low. We had a fabulous traditional Costa Rican lunch that was provided by the company.

We did some amazing snorkeling off our own dinghy out in the bay which was fun afternoon. Our dinner was at “El Avion” a historical, actual, real airplane. It is a C-123 cargo plane which the US CIA purchased in the 80’s and used with the Contras then abandoned in San Jose, Costa Rica. If you remember the scandal that involved Oliver North and the illegal selling of arms in Nicaragua, this is one of the planes! The owners purchased the plane for $3,000 and made good use by transforming into a bar/restaurant. The sunset from this location was amazing and we got to watch monkeys climb around in front of us. It was a fun evening. img_4843-1

A few days after Molly and Scott returned home, we also headed home to Portland, to spend time with our family and friends.

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We had another reason to celebrate! Our daughter Kylie got engaged. We are excited to have Ryan join our family.

We had a fun time at home during the holiday season with all our family home. We also had fun with an escape room WIN for the family with only 1 min 34 sec remaining! We pulled it off just in the nick of time!img_5020

We are truly bless!

Thank you again for following our adventures!

Stay tuned for a bit more about Costa Rica and Our Terrorizing Cruise to Panama…It’s a nail biter!!