With gusty winds on our third morning out of El Salvador, the jagged mountainous landscape of Costa Rica slowly appeared on the hazy horizon. Our original plan was to dock in one of the marinas and explore lush tropical forests inland, volcanoes and national parks. I was flabbergasted when I found out how expensive all the marinas in Costa Rica are; the rates- at almost $3/foot/day- are steeper than that of Cabo San Lucas or Acapulco and they are all geared towards the sportfishing boats and mega pleasure yachts. Realizing it was extremely out of budget, we threw our plan out the window and decided to anchor along the Costa Rican coastline, leaving the interior for another time.
I was quite sad with this new plan, but our first anchorage did not disappoint and was a beautiful preview of Costa Rica’s stunning charisma. We dropped anchor in Bahia Santa Elena at approximately 1.30PM, giving company to the only other sailboat there. The bay is surrounded by hills and mountains that were not quite as lush as I have imagined as the northern part of Costa Rica is more affected by the dry season. It was pristine and it was quiet, except for the wind and the wildlife. I imagined the hills must be sporting heavy and lush vegetation on their slopes once the rains start. Powerful gusts of wind would come every so often over the mountains to the north-east, sometimes howling loudly sending Gidget scrambling down the companionway into the cabin with a look of terror.
At nightfall it turned into a magical place for us. The water around Vento Dea, even without disturbance, sparkles with tiny plankton emitting phosphorescence, a display of blue twinkling dots on the surface. I put my feet in the water and swirled them around, creating the brightest bioluminescence I had seen so far. My feet created a trail of glowing blue light underwater. We found ourselves on the edge of the boat playing with the water or just staring into it to watch the glowing schools of fish swimming around. I then looked up to the black sky brilliantly illuminated by millions of twinkling star and spotted a shooting star every so often.
The white twinkling stars up above and the blue glowing creatures down below –we were witnessing nature’s parade of lights. It was as heavenly as it gets. My mind drifted back to a mere six months ago when we were living in Bakersfield in California’s central valley -the smog and the smell suffocating, the very environment we lived in sucking the life out of us. It trapped us inside a world of flat land, brown sky, spoiled air, materialism and unhappiness. Living there long enough will make you forget how beautiful the world really is. I consider myself to be very fortunate and privileged to be able to see with my own eyes the wonders of Mother Nature that so many have forgotten.
After staying 3 days at this delightful anchorage, we continued southeast down the coast. Along the way we anchored near beautiful beaches, visited a national park, saw glimpses of howler monkeys far above, and met a new friend. Mauricio, a chef in Playa Panama where we anchored, helped us from the first day we were there. He drove us to Playa del Coco and invited us to his home so we could do laundry for free. He, like any other Costa Rican we’ve met, showed great pride in his country and could not stop talking about the places we needed to visit. Throughout our stay, we felt the warmth and welcoming gesture of everybody we have met – adding the charm to this beautiful country we fell in love with.