Desirable Destination: Costa Rica
Springtime Retreat | April
For many boaters April is an okay month to be on the water. While there are some nice days, consistently great boating weather is in short supply stateside. But there’s an alternative that offers consistently warm and sunny days and placid waters to calm the nerves in April. It’s a Pacific coast paradise called Costa Rica.
The Pacific coast is generally undeveloped (so far) and surrounds you in lush, every-shade-of-green rainforest. But the big reason this is a top destination is that it offers the opportunity to take a short ride over oftenflat seas and fish for large Pacific sailfish and marlin.
Heading out of Herradura Beach’s Los Sueos Resort and Marina, a 200-slip facility that has become known for several high-profile, all-release billfish tourneys, the fishing is fast and furious. (I know, I’ve been there four times.) Less than 45 minutes out you’ll see tailing sailfish, compliments of charter operations such as Costa Rica Dreams, and shortly thereafter these feisty pelagics are likely to turn on your slow-trolled baits, and you’ll be off to the races with single, double, and triple hookups. Rods will bend, sweat will fly, and all your fish will be photographed and sent back to the deep-blue, near-purple Pacific bath water.
But there are plenty of tasty yellowfin tuna and mahi-mahi, too. And if you take a few back to the marina, your catch can be cooked at Los Sueos or at one of the nearby local eateries in Jaco. I can tell you, this makes a fitting end to an incredible fishing day.
But Costa Rica is about more than fishing. Aside from the watertoys available all along the coast, I recommend hiking through the rainforest and taking a canopy tour. What’s a canopy tour? It’s several thousand feet of steel cable strung across the top of the rainforest. You strap into a harness, follow a guide, and race from tree to tree and platform to platform, from high up the mountainside back down to sea level. You fly at breathtaking speeds (occasionally I tried to set tree-to-tree speed records) while taking in amazing ocean views.
You can also get a close look at some amazing plants and animals. If you like monkeys, macaws, and greenery, Costa Rica is for you. Or tour one of the country’s several active volcanoes. Trips can be arranged through a hotel or even online prior to your arrival. This one is on my to-do list on the next billfish tournament lay day. If you climb high enough on one of these volcanoes on a clear day, it’s said you can see both coasts.
But if climbing a smoldering volcano is a bit much, try the bird’s-eye view as you fly into the country’s principal city of San Jose. The two-hour drive down to the west coast gives you an opportunity to stop at a well-known overpass and view some enormous crocodiles. If you’re really adventurous, take your own boat and crew. Companies such as Dockwise Yacht Transport tote East Coasters’ yachts through the Panama Canal and drop them in Golfito, Cost Rica, about 100 miles up the coast from Herradura Beach. I’ve heard there are good fishing and accommodations there, too, although I haven’t been there...yet.
Whether you charter or run your boat, the west coast of Costa Rica is a waterfront retreat without equal. The hardest part will be deciding what you want to do first.
January: British Virgin Islands
February: Great Abaco Island / Bahamas
March: Little Harbor Cay / Bahamas
April: Los Sueños / Costa Rica
July: Washington, D.C.
August: British Columbia
September: Montauk, Long Island
October: Hudson River, New York
November: Half Moon Cay / Belize
December: St. Barts
This article originally appeared in the December 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.