We were up early again this morning as we had another 50+ mile passage to Quepos. We readied the boat and had the anchor up by 0615. It was another beautiful day, flat seas, clear skies and no wind. Matt made an attempt to look like a sail boat by raising the main. But, frankly, it just bopped side to side as the winds were mostly under 5 knots.
It was a truly an uneventful passage as we both tried to hide from the sun and the heat. Kind of hard to do on a boat, but we did our best. Even though we had the fishing poles out, we did not drop a hook as we were going fairly slow and were only in 25-40 meters of water (not very deep).
Quepos (pronounced kay-pohs) used to be a sleepy little village with a high built peer for loading bananas, pineapples and sailfish. This was once a bustling banana exporting port, but the town was crippled by the demise of the banana plantations in the mid 1950’s. Evidently, there was a banana disease that overtook the banana plantations in Panama which severely impacted exportation in Costa Rica.
Today, there are thousands of acres of palm oil plantations just beyond the beaches which are controlled by Palma Tica, Inc. (formerly United Fruit Company). However, palm oil has a dubious future resulting from the concerns regarding cholesterol. So, the town of Quepos is reliant on tourism which has been booming. Quepos has over 7,000 inhbitants, a large marina (Marina Pez Vela), hotels, and vacation villas lining the beaches.
We anchored just outside the marina entrance as it was fairly shallow (8 meters) and a wee bit more protected than where the fishing boats were anchored. When I say a “wee bit” I mean barely at all. It was a a little rolly during low tide, but during high tide it got darn right uncomfortable.
The marina has a large jetty that is made of large, semi-circle, concrete forms giving it an unusual look from the outside. Dozens of small fishing vessels anchor in front of the marina but come and go in the opposite direction of where we anchored. Behind us, there is a long sandy beach backed by green lowlands that rise to a beautiful mountainous terrain beyond.
We had an unobstructed view of another very pretty sunset.
Matt wanted to spend his birthday walking around the small town of Quepos. But first we had to find a way to get to shore. There is a large banana pier that has been converted to a commercial dock so we started there first (see above collage, bottom photo). They were very nice but told us we could not leave our dinghy there. So, we headed to the marina.
First, we passed a guard gate at the channel entrance who took our boat name, called into someone on the radio and told us to go to the to the fuel dock by their marine store. From there, we were pointed to the office. On the way to the office another guard stopped us on the street and pointed to the office. Then a third guard let us in to the marina where the office was located. Tight security don’t you think.
At the office, the ladies could not have been nicer. They told us that the banana pier is under construction and not available for us and that they don’t have a dinghy dock. They normally charge $25 for 30 minutes to pick up and drop off (can you believe that rate?). But, they allowed us to pay the fee for the day as long as we moved the dinghy close to the office and promised to be out of the marina before they close at 1700. Sweet. We had to give them our boat and clearance paperwork, passports and boat insurance. Keep in mind, this is just to leave our dinghy for a few hours.
We meandered through town, had a late breakfast, caught up on a little wifi, shopped at the fresh fruit and veggie market, walked through the grocery stores, and then celebrated our day with a birthday beer. Pretty cool little town!
At the fresh fruit and veggie market, there was a man squeezing sugar cane which was pretty darn interesting as I had never seen this done before.
We found a new little eatery called Love Shack…unfortunately, we had already eaten so we did not stop in.
They have a huge 3-4 meter tide here which exposes pretty dramatic shallow spots. The top image is Sugar Shack in the bay just beyond the river and small sand bar. Then middle shot is the view to the right where another small marina lives. Boats have to hug the shore and follow the river to avoid the sand bar. Bottom image is the view to the left toward the MPV marina.
Manuel Antonio Park is a biological reserve and is only 10 minutes away from Quepos making this another great tourist attraction. This is Costa Rica’s smallest park at just over 4,000 acres and was established in 1972. This is a tropical wet forest that receives over 150 inches of rain each year. There are over 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds. We hope to visit this park on another visit, so stay tuned for more to come.
- Total distance: 55.22 nm
- Total travel time: 9 hours 13 minutes
- Top speed 7.8 kn
- Average speed 6.0 kn