Pura Vida

We have been trying to live the Pura Vida life in Costa Rica but first we had to find the Costa Rica we were expecting. We started our journey in the north and have travelled over 300 nautical miles down here to Golfito in Bahia Dulce. Distance on sailboats is not just measured in miles or nautical miles, it is also measured in degrees of latitude and longitude. We are currently about 8 degrees north of the equator. Having started at 34 degrees north in Los Angeles that’s a pretty good distance.

Being on a sailboat our view of Costa Rica is from a “boat’s-eye-view”. Apparently, there are fabulous resorts and amazing golf courses in Costa Rica however, from our view out here we see water, jungle, and coastal towns.There are also world renowned surf beaches however, surf = reef= shallow water which is something to be avoided on a sailboat. We anchor every night in either a Golfito, Bahia, Punta, Playa, Isla or Puerto. We judge these anchorages by the color of the water as we rely on ocean water to make all the water that we use and drink. So…… disaster struck with the appearance of a Red Tide in Golfo Nicoyo. Red tide is an algae bloom that makes the water literally toxic.

Prior to the dreaded Red Tide we spent one night at beautiful Islas Tortugas, and yes we saw lots of turtles. We spent a few nights at Bahia Ballena which sure checked a certain crew member’s boxes. Ashore we found an organic Ecolodge with glamping and howler monkeys in the trees. The third crew member, Pippa, was scared to a quivering mess by said howler monkeys. The owner’s son is an Xterra triathlete who swims across the bay every morning. He also runs swimming and paddle boarding camps from there. To make it even more perfect there were turtles hanging around the boat all day and crystal clear water. This was hard to leave.

Sadly, heading into Nicoya red tide was everywhere.

What’s not green is red (photo courtesy of Sailing Bohemia)

We did a quick u-turn and south we came. This is where the Costa Rica that we were envisioning started to appear. Jungle and heat are upon us now. Our anchorage in Bahia Drake was amazing. Hikes through the jungle revealed slithery reptiles and beautiful macaws. The monkeys were oblivious to us as we strolled to dinner. There are very few tourists down here mostly Europeans with huge cameras. Unfortunately we did not discover the treasure that Sir Francis Drake purportedly hid here.

At anchor in Drakes Bay
Just hanging out
Pippa the jungle dog

Bahia Dulce is beautiful and around the corner is Panama where we will head in a few weeks after enjoying this area with family.


3 thoughts on “Pura Vida

  1. Catherine Schultz

    Ahoy Matt and Fiona! How brave you both are to search for la pura vida, or is it la vida loca? jk. :-). The howler monkeys would have prompted me to seek cover, then book a flight back to civilization, but that’s because I’m a total wimp, plus I don’t camp. Lol. But I salute your sense of adventure and the bravery it takes to make this kind of voyage!! I’m sure your journals will be worthy of a book deal down the road. Stay safe and healthy and hope you find clear water on the next leg of your tour. xo,
    Catherine (and Stan)


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