Do you like boating, if you do, you’ll love Costa Rica. The combination of hundreds of miles of ocean coastline, beaches and countless rivers, estuaries, and lakes equal abundant opportunities to enjoy life on the water. Let’s consider some of the great boating opportunities.
It’s boating but a simpler style. The leisurely end of the rafting spectrum includes peaceful floats down lazy rivers like the Coribici in Guanacaste. Such tranquil trips with occasional class I and II rapids are ideal for families with young children or people just wanting to relax and enjoy the scenery. Along the riverbanks you will likely spot iguanas, monkeys, and a great variety of birds. If you crave the adventure of whitewater, head to the Pacuare or Savegre river to experience class III and IV rapids in virgin rain forests. Some outfitters offer overnight trips so you can satisfy your thirst for excitement.
Estuaries–brackish pools that form where rivers meet the sea–are teeming with wildlife. Boating is the best (and sometimes only) way to discover them. If you prefer self-propulsion, you can rent a kayak and explore on your own. If you would rather ride than paddle, hire a panga–a local open hull center console fishing boat that is also used for touring. The coastal town of Tamarindo is popular for guided estuary tours. You’ll be glad you’re in a boat when you see the crocodiles float by.
If your idea of fun is hooking and fighting a big catch, Costa Rica is the place to be.
The fishing options can be divided into three categories: lakes and rivers, inshore, and offshore. If you’d like to cast your bait in Costa Rica’s largest lake, head for Lake Arenal, home of the Guapote. This bass-like fighter can top 10 pounds, but most are in the 2 -3 pound range. A local guide and boat will help you find the big ones. Inshore fishing–ocean fishing in water that is less than 100 feet deep–doesn’t require a big boat. However, that doesn’t mean that the fish aren’t big.
The Rooster fish, known for its distinctive dorsal fin and the battle it gives, can grow to 100 pounds. The tasty Snapper can also be found in shallower saltwater. If you’re determined to reel in a trophy fish, you’ll need to hire a boat and crew capable of going 20 or more miles into the open sea. Maybe the Sailfish, Tuna, or Marlin you catch offshore will break one of the 95 fishing world records that have been set in Costa Rican waters.
The Papagayo region of Guanacaste is famous for its beautiful bays. The best way to see them is from the water aboard a catamaran. Just imagine sailing across the tranquil water at sunset or dropping anchor in a crystal bay to swim or snorkel. In addition to the gorgeous beaches and shoreline, you may be privileged to sight dolphins, sea turtles, or even a whale. Numerous tour companies can arrange half-day catamaran cruises that include drinks and a meal prepared by the crew.
If you’d like to explore the same beautiful bays but at full throttle, rent a Jet ski. Personally, I don’t call this boating but it is a blast and it on the water.
It’s a fast and fun way for you and a friend to check out fascinating islands just offshore or discover your own private beach. You can rent your personal watercraft by the hour, or you can join a guided tour group. Either way you’ll have a blast.
Venice may boast famous canals, but Costa Rica has canals too. These natural waterways stretch for miles along the Caribbean coast. A leisurely boating ride on a powered pontoon will bring you into close contact with the abundant flora and fauna of the Tortuguero region. You may sight sloths, monkeys, toucans, and crocodiles–all from the comfort of a shady boat.
Costa Rica truly is a boating paradise. Whether you crave adrenaline or serenity, sport or leisure, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the oceans, lakes, and rivers of Costa Rica.
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