Quepos & Manuel Antonio
We were finally leaving the Gulf of Nicoya and sailing south to Quepos! We had a beautiful day sail there and anchored just outside of Marina Pez Vela just before sunset. Our guide book said that for $20 a week we could tie up to the marina’s dingy dock, get fresh potable water, drop off our trash and take hot showers in the marina’s restrooms!!! Unfortunately, our guidebook was a little out of date and since being printed the marina had come under new management. Now, Marina Pez Vela only caters to high end sport-fishing boats and the wealthier cruising community. At $150 a night, this was a marina stay that we just could not fit into the budget. Not only that, but the fabled $20 a week dingy dock, with all it’s perks was no longer in existence. In fact the security guard at the marina break wall stopped us to see why we were even trying to enter the marina.
This was a huge disappointment for us, as there was no other place we could safely leave our dingy, and we had planned to come in and have dinner in the marina and meet up with our friend Matt Hogan from Finca Bellavista. Luckily, Matt and his colleagues at the 2Costa Rica Real Estate office there in the marina were very helpful and even arranged a ride into the marina for us, as well as organizing a rental car to be delivered for us.
The anchorage outside the marina is extremely rolly, even with a bow and stern anchor out. We should have known, as the guidebooks mention there being a surf break right behind the anchorage waypoint.
After a rolly night at anchor, Matt offered to have us up to his home for a few of nights of R&R, and we jumped at the chance to get off the boat and stretch our legs for a bit. We were a little apprehensive about leaving the boat at anchor though, partially because of the large swells and strong currents around the anchorage, and because of the many warnings we had received about possible theft if we left the boat unattended. Rachel and I decided that if we had listened to every warning or concern we’d ever received, we probably wouldn’t be cruising. So this time we opted to believe in the good of humanity and the strength of our anchors. We locked up everything on deck, left a couple of lights on inside and let out an extra 50 feet of chain to make sure that Agape would stay put even in the worst of weather.
IT WAS SO WORTH IT!!!!
We had a great time catching up with Matt and his wife, and got to meet their beautiful baby boy. Not only that, but their house is freaking incredible!!! They have stunning views of the rugged coastline below and are surrounded by lush rainforest on all sides. We even got a glimpse of our first toucan there!
One day we woke up early to drive out to Nauyaca Falls, and the two hour hike in the heat of the day was absolutely worth it!!!! These spectacular falls are not to be missed. They are surrounded by dense jungle and the trail was full of beautiful blue morph butterflies. We spent a few hours relaxing and swimming at the upper and lower falls. If you are ever in the area, we highly recommend visiting this spot, and if you’re not up for the hike you can also go by horseback or 4x4.
We only spent two nights with the Hogans before heading back to Agape. We would have loved to have stayed longer, but we were pretty worried about the boat and luckily Matt and his family understood our concerns. We love when we get the opportunity to meet up with new and old friends, and we are so thankful for the time we had with Matt and his family!!! If you are ever planning on visiting Costa Rica, consider checking out his amazing tree house community of Finca Belavista, where we originally met five years ago. At Finca Belevista you can sleep in tree houses way up in the rainforest canopy, go zip lining and swimming at their private waterfall. He’s also a real-estate agent with some phenomenal properties.
After returning to the Agape in the rocky-rolly, washing machine that somehow passes for an anchorage, we couldn't move the boat fast enough. Luckily, the famed Manuel Antonio Park was just around the corner, and at least according to the guide book we had onboard, we could anchor right infront of the park.
Parque Manuel Antonio is almost an island, and only connected to the mainland by a narrow spit of land. Costa Rica decided to preserve this beautiful and bio-diverse area back in 1972 and although it is the country’s smallest national park, the stunning beauty and diversity of wildlife in its 683 hectares is unequaled.
This park and the town that shares it’s name is a very popular destination, and they are expanding quickly because of one animal in particular (other than man), the sloth! These slow moving, fungus covered little grease balls are some of the most coveted finds in the jungle canopy, and within the confines of the park there are dozens!
We anchored right off the beach in about 10 feet of water at low tide, with a bow and stern anchor out to keep us pointed into the small swells. We swam in from the boat our first evening and walked the shoreline laughing at the skittish Jesus lizards that ran across streams, and the ever curious capuchin monkeys looking to see if we had any food they could steal.
The next day Rachel wanted to bring in her full camera kit, and we decided it was better if I dropped her off at the beach with the dingy and then swim in, as we didn’t want loads of kids playing in it or a tourist taking it out for a joy ride. We got pretty lucky not leaving the dingy on the beach, as fellow cruisers ended up having their kayak confiscated by park employees for leaving it unattended on the beach all day.
We had a blast walking all over the park and I even spotted my very own sloth! We walked until sunset and our necks felt like they would finally break from looking up into the canopy all day. We only had two and a half days anchored off the park before the swell built enough that it became unbearably rolly again and we decided to continue our voyage south.