Paco and Luna Crocs at Croc's Casino and Beach Resort

Croc’s, Monkeys and Monica

Matt’s mom, Monica came to visit us in Costa Rica and stayed at the very nice Croc’s Casino Beach Resort around the bay from us.  It was easier for her to stay on land as it’s not easy to get on and off our boat and we had no easy way to get her on and off the dinghy from shore.  Croc’s offers creature comforts that we don’t have, a pool, casino, spa, and access to many land-based tours.  As a result, we all took advantage of the beautiful pool and some good eateries at the resort.

Croc's Casino Beach Resort Pool

Croc’s Casino Beach Resort Pool

Croc’s has taken in two rescued crocodiles from the wild and has a team of professionals caring for them.  Paco and Luna were out sunning themselves regularly.

Paco and Luna Crocs at Croc's Casino and Beach Resort

Paco and Luna Crocs at Croc’s Casino and Beach Resort

Croc’s is located at Jaco Beach (pronounced Haco) and there are no anchorages in this bay.  So, we anchored Sugar Shack at Bahia Herradura, the next bay over.  It is a quick 8-minute cab ride or 30-minute bus ride to Croc’s.  The only problem is that the water taxi that we take to get from our boat to shore only runs until 1730 at night so we cannot stay ashore for dinner, drinks or evening activities as we would have no way to get back to the boat.  In essence, a minor setback.

Monkey Mangrove Tour

After we spent a day at the pool, we decided to take a Monkey Mangrove Tour.  Our tour guide, Crazy Alex was absolutely AMAZING!   He was able to replicate all of the bird calls, monkey sounds and lizard noises.  Half the time you didn’t know if it was him or the real animal he was so good.  He educated us on all of the flora, fauna, river, and islands.  It was a constant chatter of humor, information, and wildlife.

Below is a photo of Crazy Alex along with his favorite American Pigmy King Fisher and a Yellow Belly Grey Kiskadine.

Monkey Mangrove Tour with Crazy Alex

Monkey Mangrove Tour with Crazy Alex

He guided us along the Paquita river which consisted of 14k acres of mangroves. The river was pretty narrow and covered with a canopy of trees.  The river banks were full of wildlife and birds.

Birds, Birds, and More Birds

Image below: Top Row: 2 images of river, and a shot of a Tiger Heron.  Middle Row: Crazy Alex’s favorite bird an American Pigmy Kingfisher, a Yellow Belly Grey Kiskadee (part of the fry catcher family) and a shy iguana.  Bottom Row: Three varieties of ginger flowers.

River and Bird Wildlife

River and Bird Wildlife

Jesus Christ Lizard

We saw several Jesus Christ Lizards that can walk on water for over 60’.  They are super funny to see scramble across the water and actually look like prehistoric dinosaurs.

Jesus Christ Lizard

Jesus Christ Lizard

Monkeys Galore

The river spilled out onto a bay surrounded by mangroves.  Crazy Alex nestled the boat inside a nook within the mangrove and we were instantly blessed with 3-4 white face Capuchin monkey family.  Of course, they all had names and came when Crazy Alex called out to them. They were delightful and so sweet.

White Face Capuchin Monkeys

White Face Capuchin Monkeys

We each had an opportunity to be a human throne for the monkeys where they jumped on our heads and at banana from our hand.  They were remarkably gentle.  This particular family has claimed about 2 hectares of territory and protect it fiercely.  They drink water by dipping their tail into the bay.  Since it is brackish water, the salt falls off their tail while the fresh water clings to their hair.

Who is playing with who?

Who is playing with who?

Sloth

We saw one 3 toed sloth ashore.  The photo did not come out too well, but Crazy Alex told us all about them.  They have 3 stomachs (along with 3 toes), eat 200 grams of leaves per day (110 calories) and only come down from the trees once a week to do “their business.”

The males (have a black stripe down their back) emit a strange smell and holler to attract females during mating season which can last up to 48 hours.  The females decide when to become pregnant and they determine the sex.

Lunch at Jaco

It was a spectacular tour, full of laughter, information, and wildlife.  We loved it.  Afterwards, we walked around the town of Jaco and ended up having a really delicious lunch at Rugala.

Jaco village and lunch at Rugula

Jaco village and lunch at Rugula

Shoe Surgeryy

When we got back to the boat, Matt had to do some surgery on our shoes.  We both wear Reef’s and for some reason, the center fabric keeps pulling up so Matt has to out a piece of dynema there to hold them together.  very annoying and poor quality!

ANIMALS SPOTTED:

  • 3 Toed Sloth
  • White Face Capuchin Monkey
  • Jesus Christ Lizard
  • American Pigmy Kingfisher
  • Yellow Belly Grey Kiskadee
  • Iguana
  • Tiger Herron
  • Green Herron
Uncle Sam at Quepos, Costa Rica

Uncle Sam Lost in Costa Rica

Marina Pez Vela hosted a lovely 4th of July celebration, complete with Uncle Sam.  You might think, why would a marina, in a small town in Costa Rica celebrate America’s birthday?  Well, there happen to be a lot of Americans in the yard and marina and Ticos (locals) love a good party.

The GM of the marina showed up as Uncle Sam, and of course I had to have a photo.

Uncle Sam at Quepos, Costa Rica

Uncle Sam at Quepos, Costa Rica

The GM also owns this pretty tasty gelato place called Gelateria Amorosi which is a frequent stop for us.

So, what goes on during America’s birthday celebration in Costa Rica?  A good band was playing for most the night, trying to encourage people to dance.  unfortunately, the constant drizzle kept people away from the “dance floor.”

Band at Marina Pez Vela Celebrations

Band at Marina Pez Vela Celebrations

The stage was covered in American flag decor along with a really cool American Flag light decor.

Lit up American Flag

Lit up American Flag

They had an entire cupcake display which made up the American Flag

American Flag made of cupcakes

American Flag made of cupcakes

Of course lots of U.S. Flags flying all over the marina, including around town.

American Flag proudly displayed all over Quepos

American Flag proudly displayed all over Quepos

Lots of cool spots to hang out and meet the locals.

Beachu hang out area at Marina Pez Vela Upper Deck

Beachu hang out area at Marina Pez Vela Upper Deck

I wish I got a photo of the voting area that was set up with a cardboard cut out of the statue of liberty. I have seen this in a few other countries, but not many.  They were offering absentee voting for U.S. citizens abroad.  Pretty impressive.

In addition they had at the Uncle Sam Celebrations:

  • Face painting for the kids
  • Jumpy houses
  • Games for all ages
  • Hot dogs, chili, and snacks
  • and of course fireworks
Fireworks

Fireworks

 

Wind Gauge Showing wind on the Nose and Low Speed

Quepos to Bahia Herradura

Matt and I enjoyed a “lazy” morning and took our time pulling up the anchor.  Our destination, Bahia Herradura was less than 40 miles away so we were not in a hurry.  We pulled up the hook around 0715 and slowly made our way north. It was another uneventful trip, on a beautiful day with no wind.  It seems when we do have wind it is on our nose.  But, today, we didn’t have wind or direction.

Sugar Shack Motoring Along in Flat Seas

Sugar Shack Motoring Along in Flat Seas

Blowing on the nose – the wind is barely a breeze at 2.2 knots.  The speed is shown under the arrow.

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We swung by Playa Hermosa to see if we could find a dinghy dock or safe landing for “Sweetie” but we didn’t.  I thought it would have been great to stay here as I lived in Hermosa Beach in California for 8 years.  But it was not meant to be.  We also swung into Jaco Beach (pronounced Haco) where Monica is staying but there was nothing but hotels and resorts on a long sandy beach.

So, onward to our original destination of Bahia Herradura.  We anchored in front of the very ritzy marina called Los Suenos Marina.  This is a 200-slip marina that was the first government approved marina in Costa Rica.  The 1-mile wide bay was actually developed for the marina and resort.  It is really swanky!!!!

Bahia Herradura is a really pretty dark sand beach that runs the width of the bay and is populated with several eateries and bars.  However, there is no dinghy dock and no place to land the dinghy where she would be safe for extended periods of time.  Crime is prevalent in this area and we’ve been told to be extra vigilant.  So, we headed to the marina to see what they had to offer.

Los Suenos Marina and Bahia Herradura Beach

Los Suenos Marina and Bahia Herradura Beach

We took the dinghy in to the Marina breakwater (without calling security), motored around the docks before we found the fuel dock.  A very nice man from the marina came to meet us and informed us that we have to either call on the phone or the radio to the marina office.  I was perplexed as I just wanted to walk in to talk to them in person, but he was not having any of it.  He called the office and put me on the phone with them.

Evidently, everyone is supposed to call on the radio before entering the breakwater, we did not know to do that.  They were willing to let us leave our dinghy at their dock for a mere $100 per day (yes, that is U.S.) or we could pull the big boat into a slip at $3.95 per foot x 50% which comes out to $277 per day.  We get charged an extra 50% because we are a double wide (catamaran).  Do you remember when we stayed at Vista Mar Marina (VMM) for $25 per day?  Granted, VMM is really cheap as they are trying to attract new business, but Los Suenos is ridiculously expensive.  They are almost full to capacity with million-dollar fishing boats so they don’t need our business and it is apparent.

After I hung up the phone looking dejected, the nice man told us about a water taxi.  You can hail Zapatilla on VHF 69 and he will transport you to and from your boat for $20 a day.  That’s much cheaper, but still crazy expensive considering we are only ½ mile away from the beach.  Convenience and cost won out.  We called, they came to pick us up and we walked to shore, down the beach and to the marina.

The marina does have beautiful facilities including several restaurants, banks, salon, spa, liquor store, chandlery, market, gelato, car rental and tourist stores with clothes and trinkets.  Of course, everything is really pricey.  After we were done snooping, we walked over to the Marriott Los Suenos Beach Resort from the marina via this really pretty, live tree tunnel – the entire place was pretty swanky.

Marriott Los Suenos Live Tunnel

Marriott Los Suenos Live Tunnel

We stopped in at a soda, a local eatery for lunch and met Adriana who is the owner’s daughter.  She gave us all sorts of tips, tours, and contacts for taxi drivers.  A huge score!

Passage Details:

  • Total Miles: 9
  • Total Time: 6:43
  • Max Speed: 7.8
  • Average Speed: 5.6