At 7:30 on May 15 we walked down the beach to the main beach area of Playas del Coco to catch a boat. It was a sunny day with a light onshore breeze and the temperature was already nearing 30 degrees. We were headed out for what turned into a terrific day with Marcy, the skipper of the “Silver Bullet” who owns and operates Mystic Rides. This was also the last day that Erik and Keegan were with us before they headed back to Nova Scotia.
After wading into the warm surf and climbing aboard, we headed out into the southern Gulf of Papagayo past the impressive looking villas which dot the hills and cliffs around Playas Hermosa and Panama just north of El Coco.
It was a perfect day to be on the water and we were all soon enjoying ourselves immeasurably. As we settled in and got to know Marcy better it became apparent that he was an experienced and professional mariner, knew how to relate to his guests very well and took great pride in his boat and his surroundings. In is own words he has the greatest job in the world being able to support his family doing what he loves in this dramatic and idyllic setting.
As we steamed towards Culebra Bay to the north we experienced some of the fascinating marine life that abounds in these waters. In addition to the bird life we were treated to flying fish off the bow, dolphins chasing fish in the tidal currents off the points, stingrays jumping completely out of the water and we were lucky enough to spot an olive ridley turtle on the surface. We didn’t approach too closely but were able to get a good view before it dove.
This isn’t the best time of year for fishing along this coast but we trolled for a while as we headed toward the first beach of the day. Erik pulled in a small skipjack (black) tuna which we released and then Keegan reeled in a larger one which we kept to try for supper. Skipjack tuna is not highly regarded by many as it has a strong flavour and needs to be bled quickly when caught, but following Marcy’s preparation advice we found it quite tasty. A few other boats were fishing the offshore ledges but didn’t appear to be catching much.
We gradually drew closer to our first beach destination. It was a small, isolated white sand beach that offered a large rocky outcrop good for snorkeling. The tide was a bit high when we arrived but we did see a few fish all the while being observed carefully by another turtle. The calm water provided a perfect opportunity to try our hand at stand up paddle boarding (SUP). Marcy’s board was a shorter one used for riding surf as well, so we will use that excuse as to why it took a few attempts to get it right!
As we snacked on chips and a great dip, washed down with cold Imperials (Costa Rica’s national beer) we headed out of Culebra Bay, past the upscale Four Seasons Papagayo Resort and some very expensive rental and private homes towards our next private beach. Apparently Michael Jordan has a home here.
The snorkeling here was excellent. At one end of the small secluded cove was a large reef which was home to a great variety of fish and at least one sea snake. It was a remarkable experience to have these beautiful, pristine coves and beaches to ourselves. The water in this area is very warm and sparkling clear.
You can easily tell how relaxed, content and happy we all were to be in that place at that moment in time!
Our last destination was Playa de Huevo named for its egg shaped crescent of fine white sand. We didn’t have this one to ourselves as there was a dive party having lunch when we arrived. They had a table set up on the beach with a couple of hungry coatis (raccoon-like mammals with a long snout) sniffing around and black vultures perched overhead.
Anchoring just offshore we were able to explore the beach which had a great little sea cave, climb the cliff for a breathtaking view and relax in the warm water while letting a gentle swell bob us gently off the boat. Cold watermelon was the perfect refreshment after the hot sun and salty water.
Reluctantly we helped pull in the anchor and headed back towards Playas del Coco. We have been on several boat tours in Costa Rica and the Caribbean but we agreed that this was one the most enjoyable we have experienced. We much prefer a small personalized trip over the larger tours that often have too many people, loud music, too much booze and usually charge much more. They can be fun if that’s what you are looking for but this way works better for us. Our hats off to Marcy for giving us a fun and memorable morning. He will customize a tour for your own interests whether that may be surfing, snorkeling, fishing or just having a chill time. At the cost of $60 USD each we were more than satisfied with the memories we created.
Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see where our next adventure takes us!
Tim & Anne (with guest appearances by Erik, Keegan and Marcy)