Costa Rica Bound: Wave After Wave of Water Sports

Oh Costa Rica, you slay us with your lush, tropical beauty. But you’re not just another pretty landscape. Truth is, there are oceans of things to see and experience all over your breathtaking countryside, which makes it sometimes hard to figure out exactly what to dive in to. However, since there are so many incredible Costa Rica water sports to check out, diving in was exactly what one of our True Beach Lovers decided she should do.

When our TBL and her fam arrived in Costa Rica, they headed to Father Rooster for dinner.  Situated on the Bay of Ocotal and built in 1917, this breezy spot was the home of the Guillen family and is one of the last beachfront haciendas. They tended to the first order of business: ordering drinks, which was followed by a delicious meal and then discussing all the fun they had ahead of them, as they had a full schedule of gettin’ splashy with some epic Costa Rica water sports in the coming days.

(Deep-sea fishing, Bay of Ocotal, Costa Rica, photo by: J. Clegg.)
(Deep-sea fishing boat, Bay of Ocotal, Costa Rica, photo by: J. Clegg.)

Deep-Sea Fishing in the Deep Blue. Our TBL and crew headed out bright and early on a large cool boat. They sailed out a bit until they came to just the right spot, where all the fish were jumping and biting. Catches of the day were primarily tuna and mahi-mahi. Our TBL partook in something novel right after the fish was caught. The fishing guide carved out a few morsels from the just-caught tuna and she enjoyed the freshest “sushi” she’d ever had. When in Rome, right? Other fish that you can catch in this area are grouper, blue marlin, billfish and rooster fish (thus the name of the restaurant).

As if this trip wasn’t exciting enough, along came a school of dolphins that joined in the fun and swam with them as they sailed along in the turquoise sea. According to our TBL, after they found a spot, cast their lines and started fishing, the dolphins continued to hang around for a while, just to keep them company. Can you say Costa Rica water sports are Pura Vida Magic?

White-water rafting, Tenorio River, Costa Rica.
(White-water rafting, Tenorio River, Costa Rica, photo by: J. Clegg.)

White Water Rafting on the Tenorio River. The next day the crew left from Guanacaste to ride the waves down one of the most jungle-ish, scenic stretches of Costa Rica. With Class III and IV rapids, this was going to be a blast. And it was. They dipped in and out of frothy drops and standing waves. The adrenaline was pumping and so were their arms, paddling to keep the craft steady. Heart-rates were up and they got soaking wet, but they didn’t care. The sun was bright and they could dry off later. Of all the Costa Rica water sports you can choose from, and there are quite a few, white-water rafting is one of the most exhilarating.

After all the crazy fun white-water rafting on the Tenorio River, our TBL and fam came upon a waterfall in Cortez on the way back to home base. “The waterfall was beautiful and unexpected. Once you parked, you took a trail to the waterfall. It was breath taking to walk up to it,” said our TBL. In a word: incredible.

The waterfall was beautiful and unexpected. Once you parked, you took a trail to the waterfall. It was breath taking to walk up to it.

For dinner, they found this off-the-beaten-path Italian place that was truly amazing, Villa Italia. It was run by a couple: the wife was the cook and the husband was the sommelier. The menu was delish and included hand-made pasta, fresh seafood along with grilled tomatoes and sizzlin’ steak. Our TBL was very, very happy, as was her tummy.

Surfing in Tamarindo. On day three, our TBL and crew headed down to one of the hottest surfing meccas, Tamarindo. Of all the Costa Rica water sports this hearty group had on their schedule, surfing might have been the most challenging. A few brave souls decided to take surf lessons on the shore, while she and others decided they wanted to hang on land at the Volcano Brewing Company to chill and “supervise” the surf lessons. They sipped on Banana Daiquiris and Witch’s Rock Pale Ale, as well as enjoyed some good old fashioned American fare like burgers and fries. But here’s something cool: right next to this bar/restaurant is Witch’s Rock Surf Camp (inspiration for the beer’s name), where Robert August, the legendary surf star of The Endless Summer, hand-shapes boards and teaches seminars. Gotta love the surfing star power here in the wilds of Costa Rica.

(Surf boards, Tamarindo, Costa Rica, photo by: J. Clegg.)
Banana Daiquiri and Witch’s Brew Pale Ale, Tamarindo Beach, photo by: J. Clegg.)

Secret Snorkeling Spots: Playa Cocalito and Playa Huevo. These two beaches are so remote they’re only available by boat, which was a real treat for our TBL and her group. Playa Cocalito is a quiet place where few tourists ever frequent so our TBL was in paradise. Besides snorkeling, where you’ll get an eyeful of eels, you can also scuba dive, swim, fish and mountain bike. Hermit crab hunting was a popular activity for our TBL, after which she kicked back in a hammock and pondered life with a cold brew. Not too shabby.

(Secret snorkeling spot, Playa Cocalito, Costa Rica, photo by: J. Clegg.)
(Hermit crab, Cocalito Beach, photo by: J. Clegg.)
(Hammocks, Cocalito Beach, Costa Rica, photo by: J. Clegg.)
(Bohemia goodness, Cocalito Beach, Costa Rica, photo by: J. Clegg.)

At nearby Playa Huevo, which is a black sand beach, our TBL had two totally different experiences. One side was a beach, where she dug her toes into the sand, but she also wandered over to check out the caves, where waves gently crashed into the hollows. But best of all, she got to see some lively, adorable howler monkeys. On the other side, she hiked up a cliff to a panoramic overlook and saw breath-stealing views of the ocean. This is one of the many beautiful things about Costa Rica: there are surprises around every palm.

(Playa Huevo, Costa Rica, photo by: J. Clegg.)

 

 

(Panoramic overlook, Playa Huevo, Costa Rica, photo by: J. Clegg.)

Costa Rica is a slice of heaven on earth, a veritable Beach Eden. Better still, the water sports here rock. All you have to do is dive in.

Lisa Mitchell

I am a blogger for CheapCaribbean.com who is a travel junkie and addicted to the beach.

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