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Topic Title: Costa Rica
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Created On: 11/03/2023 05:23 AM
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 11/03/2023 05:23 AM
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Joined Forum: 07/28/2003

Costa Rica 04

It is amazing that I had never been to Costa Rica. One of my best friends had gone there in the mid 70s. As time went by the tales of empty waves, became tales of intense crowds and typical Central American hassle and rip off.

Of late I have decided that before I got too old I would see the surfing world. (See El Salvador and Hawaii recaps) So as a dedicated follower of world surfing CR was on the must do list. I assembled my group of the usual die hards; (Chris, Jerry, Mark & Paul) got the basic needs and wants and made the plan.

I used a lot of input from the 2nd light web site. We decided to base out of Jaco. Flew out of Miami on Lacsa. Very good airline, very surfer friendly. Rented the Galloper from Hertz and stayed at the Hotel Cocal in the heart of Playa de Jaco. I drove from San Jose to Jaco, a 2 hour drive through winding mountain roads on a crowded Saturday morning.

Upon arrival in Jaco we settled in to the Cocal and immediately paddled out to head high, high tide thumpers right behind the hotel. (Slightly choppy) Surfed in mostly closed out but power full waves until dusk.

Then out to hit the town. I would describe Jaco as a small version of the combination of Cocoa Beach (very surf oriented, lots of Surf shops) Key West (funky people, lots of bars and restaurants) and International Drive (touristy). We found plenty of good places to eat drink and shop. This side of the trip was way far better then El Salvador. There was no safety fear factor either.

Next day on Sunday was spent surfing Jaco. Really is a high tide break, still had some chop, but the thumpers keep coming. Lots of locals in the water on the week ends, but as every where, if you give some respect and show some ability you will get your fair share.

Monday...I talk the mob into going to Boca Barranca; this is about an hours drive north of Jaco. On the way there we pass by Puerto Caldera. This is a port, with a rivermouth. We watch 4 surfers in the water catching 2-3' glassy peelers, we all most go out. We then get to the bridge on the river that goes out to BB. Yep there are crocs down there.

We pull up at the point and are greeted by Secondino the parking lot man. He welcomes us and gives us the primo on the point in the cage parking space...We gave him around 4000 colones (around $10). Seems the going rate was about half that so he was very happy.

We could see these waves peeling from the bridge. But from the point we can see people just going and going. It is low tide and we start walking out on the sand next to the river. (Can't see any crocs) Now its rock dance time. Mostly round rocks, some sharp with some barnacles. I am riding the 9'6" QF PT single. This is really a sweet, clean looking board. When I lay it on the ground next to the car a local picks it up and runs his hands along the lines. He tells me he really likes it. (Latter he asks if I could leave it for him.) Back to the ROCKS...for around 50 yards until I am in 2 feet of water and can paddle. I paddle around the line up in the cove, to avoid the crowd and thumping. Takes me around 20 minutes to get down from the main peek. Whew!!!

But I can see how this sets up...incredible...swell comes from New Zealand, into the bay hits the bar at this point rivermouth peeks up and peels for up to 400 yards on this day. There are 25 or more people in the water. Not all are friendly. There is a definite take off point but there are plenty of left overs and it is such a long paddle back that there are some available empty slides. The swell is 4-8 with a long period around 16-18 seconds. I start getting into it, slow at first. A 3 hour spaghetti arm, leg burn session. The last wave I catch is close to 300 yards, (with all the boys on the beach watching). I had not taken one this long before but now it was time to go in. I went farther in the cove to avoid the rock dance. Whew weee what a wave.

We decide to go to Herradura on the way back. On the beach here a dude named Ben, asks us if we want to go by boat to Escondido. I am whooped, but 2 of my gang head out. They came back with stories of a peaking wave on a reef and more whoohooo.

Spent the next 3 days going to Boca Barranca, with afternoon sessions at Jaco. Got some good glass offs after some rain storms.

We then decide to take a scenic tour of the south land. We had been to Hermosa a few times just to check it out. I had heard people aptly rename it Slamosa. This wave just jacks on a shallow sand bar and hammers. I did not go out here. I saw lots of broken boards and no one riding a long board.

We start motoring through long groves of palms, across, one lane rickety bridges out into a very rural area. We get to Quepos. Here we see long peeling lefts around 2 feet. Very pretty set up, just not ride able.

Down to Manual Antonio a national park. The drive down here is beautiful. Just no surf. Some views are like northern Cali. We stop at a bar that is a hulk of an old military 2 engine plane. Very cool with an incredible view. Mountains meeting jungle.

On the way back we see a sign: Boca Damas, so off we go off the main road, down a dirt and cobblestone road for around 4 klics. We go past a fairly large hotel and get down to the river's edge. It is very low tide.

We run into Jorge the boat man. Jorge starts telling us about the area, very ecologically pristine, lots of wild life: Monkeys, flamingos, crocs, iguana, macaws, and parrots. He tells us about the break at the river mouth. Sound very inviting. The tide is too low to get the boat out there at this time.

He tells us about his eco tour and invites us to go on that. We tell him that one of our group is prone to spanking the monkey and we fear that this will not be well received.

So we have a few beers, watch the flamingos, black iguanas and crocs.

Back to check the waves in Slamosa....we meet some dude on the beach. He is by himself and has a sort of panel van. Dude is around 45 years old, looks like an Allan Weisberger wanna be. He is raging about last weeks swell at Boca Barranca. (Apparently it was 10' with hard off shore winds and screaming) He is from Houston and has been down here for 25 years, fixes boards and just wants people to talk to and surf with. So we humor him for awhile.

Get up on the Highway , Chris is driving 80K in a 65K.....Policia...nice guy tells us the ticket is 10000 colones, Mark and Paul in the back seat tell him that they are "policia" too. He is stoked and says " I make it a little ticket for you...5000" Cool.

We had some really good times visiting places like: Beatle Bar, Central and Pancho Villa (no written version on this, verbal only)
Last day in country we did a double session at Jaco, with high tides in early am and late afternoon...very good chest to head clean peaks, some close outs but plenty of workable shoulders with light crowds. Zipped to the airport and back to Miami, got through immigration and customs faster than ever. A really good trip, hope to do this one again.

So if you are a surfer I wish you the prosperity that allows you more time to pursue the salt water dream, and the true happiness that comes from warm water, clean waves and the companionship of your fellow surfers. If you are an internet troll just spewing bs then f off.

Edited: 11/26/2023 at 08:52 AM by jdbman
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