Posted on September 23, 2017
Up to Puntarenas
As it turns out, Costa Rica is not a very big country. We took out time getting up to the sheltered waters of Puntarenas, but it still didn’t take long to find our way up the whole Gulf of Nicoya.
Our favorite spot had to have been anchoring just inside Punta Leona. On one side of the point, there’s a well-protected, calm bay; on the other, a white sand beach with fun waves. The actual point has short but spectacular hiking trails, and we finally got up close with scarlet macaws. (Of course, the camera stayed home for that adventure. Of course!)
It’s possible, however, that some cruising fatigue has settled into our boat. Beautiful deserted bay—yawn. Quiet stretch of beach—whatevs. Back to school pictures of friends and the idea of cider donuts and apples has us very nostalgic for crisp fall air, instead of 90 degrees with 110% humidity. We’ve been seeing the same lovely jungle for months, and having pretty much just each other for company is starting to wear on everyone.
Our guidebooks had us hoping for some cruiser-friendly spots that might be hiding year-round travelers, but they were all pretty much a bust; most of the resorts were shuttered, all of the bays were empty.
We did find some novelty on Isla San Lucas. This island right off of Puntarenas was the home of a notorious prison, since closed and turned into—you guessed it—a national park. Trails criss-cross the island, and the ruins are available for exploring; best of all, the bay is completely protected from all waves and weather.
From San Lucas, it’s a short hop to Puntarenas. The long channel is no longer dredged, so it needs to be navigated at high tide; we called ahead to the yacht club for a pilot to guide us, and still saw eleven feet of water under us while up on a nine-foot tide. Rafted up to a short floating dock in the channel, we touch bottom at low tide—although not so badly that we heel over. This will be our home for about three weeks.
Like many spots around here billed as “cruiser-friendly,” the Costa Rica Yacht Club seems to be dying out. The pool is still maintained, the yard seems busy, and they have a full house of primarily sport fishing boats at their piers; but the restaurant is closed, and the whole place has an abandoned feel to it. It’s a twenty-minute bus ride into town; there are no stores within walking distance, and the only restaurants are at two nearby hotels. The laundry that we sent out took a week to come back. All in all, it’s a strange little place…but we’ll make it work, and it’ll be a good place to do some boat work and visit with family.