After exploring the beautiful Golfo Dulce in Southern Pacific Costa Rica we began the journey North to Nicaragua, stopping at some beautiful anchorages along the way. This blog post will share the locations and descriptions of the areas in Southern Costa Rica we visited, why we loved them (or didn’t love them!) and more. It was Jim’s first time sailing out on the open sea, and it is a great area to learn in with many pretty anchorages that can be reached in only a few hours.
GPS anchor point: 8”32.604’N 83”18.116’W
Another small town in Southern Costa Rica, Puerto Jimenez has retained a lot of its wild west feel. Once a huge gold mining area, the agricultural scene is still big here, with a lot of farmland, horses and cowboy hats. But it also has one of the best supermarkets around – the illustrious BM – selling hard to find goods like almond milk and sushi wrappers. There is also a gas station with diesel and gasoline, a few restuarants and lots of amazing tours that can be taken into Corcovado National Park and the surrounds from here. Landing the dinghy is easy on the beach, tying off to a tree or rock. The water here is calm most of the time and has great visibility for hull cleaning
GPS anchor point: 8”23.929’N 83”8.277’W
Ah Pavones… I left a chunk of my heart and soul at the lovely left point break… it is where I learnt to surf and rediscovered myself in many ways. Taking the boat and anchoring it off the surf break here was just a dream come true… however it was very rolly and not the type of anchorage you want to relax in for days, but to paddle out to one of the best waves in the world was priceless!
In terms of things to do other than surf… well there is one local bar by the beach, two small tiendas and a couple of restaurants that may or may not be open depending on the swell and tourists… the town can go from having 40 people to 200 overnight when waves are predicted… getting to shore is possible in the dingy if you time it really well in small swell.. but if there are waves take the board!
GPS anchor point: 8”39.346’N 83”15.336’W
Further into the Gulf is a lovely anchorage near a botanical garden named Casa Orquidas. There is a long stretch of beach, and although there is reef marked in the centre, we drove right over the top with no change in the depth sounder so suspect you could anchor anywhere along here. The best anchorage, with the least amount of rolling in slack tide, is on the Southern end of the beach, tucked in behind the point. The water here was clear and calm, with macaws flying overhead and howler monkeys hollering in the jungle. There is some snorkelling a few miles to the North, and good fishing on you way up into the Golfo Dulce. There is nothing here except small eco resorts and the lovely botanical garden, so just relax.
GPS anchor point: 8”37.208’N 83”9.154’W
Golfito… where I spent sooooo much time fixing Chuffed and Janet, getting to know the town and the people, and had some life changing moments both good and bad. Shane Acton, who circumnavigated the globe in an 18ft boat, before retiring in Golfito, wrote a song with the line “If you get to Golfito, You’ve gone too far”. And at times that feels very true. It is a seedy little drinking town, with a fishing problem, but it has some real characters along its shorelines, with friendly faces, an amazing group of ex pats, some great bars and restaurants and the calmest waters known to man.
There are three marinas in town with varying prices, but both Banana Bay and Fish Hook are pretty cool about using the docks, especially if you buy a beer or eat at the restaurant every now and then. Further into the gulf is an amazing restaurant Mar y Luna with some of the best seafood dishes I have ever had at reasonable prices. Katie and Michael at Land and Sea also cater to cruisers, with a mooring ball, one small dock and dingy docking facilities. Golfito also has a Port Captain, Immigration and Aduana (customs) office for checking in or out of the country, and is generally easy and cheap compared to some of the Northern Areas.
Punta arenitas (Golfito)
GPS anchor point: 8’37.475’N 83”10.142’W
Just across the bay from the town of Golfito is a fun and quirky restaurant and bar scene on the beach, locally known as Punta arenitas. You can anchor off the beach and enjoy the reggaeton vibes, with a plate of lobster and fries costing you about $10USD. This is a nice place to get away from it all for a day or two, how ever there is nothing else here, but only 15 minute motor away is everything you need in Golfito.
This way point we won’t give away so easily… you will just have to find it for yourself… but there are some beautiful waves that break along the Western side of the Golfo Dulce, many of which you can anchor near, with an incredible jungle feel, and less crowds than the more famous wave of Pavones… in big swell the waves here can be challenging for experienced short boarders, and in smaller swell it is longboarding heaven. This place is as about remote as it gets, there are some nice waterfall walks around though, swim to shore or take your board.
GPS anchor point: 8”41.732’N 83”40.056’W
Another calm and tranquil bay in Southern Costa Rica. After being stuck in the Golfo Dulce for so long it felt good to be anchored in a place I had never been. The infamous pirate Sir Francis Drake used this port in the 16th Century and it is one of many areas fabled to have buried treasure! Many people believe the gold of El Dorado could be located near here…
One the Southern end of the anchorage is a little resort with a dinghy dock you can use for the day. Take a stroll along their manicured paths to one of the beaches, or head into town. The town has a few small grocery stores, restaurants and bars, and offers many tours to surrounding areas including Corcovado National Park. If you are feeling fit and the weather permits you can even hike your way into the edge of the park.
The fishing as you come from the Golfo Dulce to Bahia Drake is some of the best in the world, and don’t be surprised to have a dolphin or twenty on the bow of the boat in this area of the world!
GPS anchor point: 9’13.641”N 83”50.682”W
We have mixed reviews about the anchorage… it is a nice little cove that could be very calm, we how ever copped the swell rolling directly in from the South West and it was the rolliest spot we had been in! We had heard there was a little wave nearby, but not even that was enough to keep us there and we lifted anchor at 5am and headed to Jaco… despite the beautiful scenery of this area. So we don’t have much to report from this little bay except to use a stern anchor!
Check out the photos below and I have provided links to the episodes in these areas:
Stay Tuned for the anchorages we stopped at in Northern Costa Rica, one of which has been my favourite anchorage so far! Until next time, Stay Chuffed Everybody!!!