Travel Destinations

Destination, Costa Rica

Bahamas / Caribbean
October 2017

Costa Rica. If you have the slightest need for outdoor adventure pulsing through your body, it should be on your bucket list of places to visit.This Central American nation covering only 0.03% of the world's surface boasts 6% of its total biodiversity. Borderded by both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, only four hours apart by car or 45 minutes by plane, it is an environmental paradise which still sports virgin forests and clean waters while offering enough infrastructure to support a tourist draw of more than a million per year.From jungle forests to whitewater rivers, tremendous waterfalls and a largely undeveloped coastline with innumerable nooks and crannies for snorkelers, surfers, boaters and anglers to investgate, the eco-tourism call rings loud and clear here.OPPORTUNITY ABOUNDSLike all places recently discovered in today's world, things here are changing. The population is increasing, tourism is booming, businesses are growing. Yet much of Costa Rica remains remote, untouched and unspoiled. Fully 25% of the country has been set aside as protective parkland and reserves to safeguard the beautiful and lush environs from deforestation, logging and development.Within these boundaries lie many diverse habits including rainforests, swamplands, mountains, cloud forests, active volcanoes, hot springs, caves and even entire harbors and islands. From one end of the country to the other, the opportunity to observe a diverse array of wildlife and marine species while enjoying outdoor activities like boating, fishing, hiking, sight-seeing, snorkeling, diving, surfing and eco-touring ranks among the finest in the world.But with so many possibilities the thought of exploring Costa Rica can also be overwhelming. I mean, where do you start?It helps, says Glen Mumford of Blue Water Sport fishing Charters, if you work with a travel pro that deals frequently with Costa Rica to customize your trip. Each one has contacts with a proven record of providing what visitors need and want, which really helps narrow down the selection process.Capt. Gene Kelly of Tropical Fishing Adventures, agrees. Working with a booking service can help put you in the right place at the right time of year for the sh you want to catch, sights you want to see or adventures you want to experience. Costa Rica may be a small country, but it can seem huge if you don't have any connections.Both Mumford and Kelly specialize in setting up trips for anglers, but either can also turn you on to the best deals, most gorgeous beaches and top tours, sights or activities for any outdoors endeavors in this tropical tourist hot spot.


Indeed, one way to break down the opportunities here is to look at the country in terms of regions. With fishing, for example, the Pacific Coast specializes in o shore action with marlin, swordfish, sailfish and other big game pelagics. Further, the northern section sees its best catches in the spring, summer and fall while the southern section is best from November through March. By comparison, the Atlantic/Caribbean side is where you want to go for tarpon, snook and other inshore species. Both coasts offer tremendous fishing, but there are nuances to the game that first-time visitors sometimes underestimate.Both the east and west coasts are accessible by boat and by air from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) which is the only entry point in the country from which local flights can easily connect. Liberia International Airport (LIR) airport is another option for landing if you are headed to the west coast and don't need an additional flight.In general, the most popular Costa Rica ports reside on the Pacific side, so let's take a quick virtual tour of that stretch for this introduction.


Approaching from the north, the providence of Guanacaste, which encompasses the entire north Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, is the first port of entry and lies less than an hour from Liberia International Airport. One of the least populated sectors of Costa Rica, this region is also the most visited.Here you'll find beautiful beaches for sunbathing, great surfing and sailing, several large all-inclusive resorts on the Papagayo Gulf, numerous first-rate restaurants plus tons of marine life especially in the Isla Catalina area, Playas del Coco and Playa Ocotal. Interestingly, fishing is not a big draw here even though it is quite good as peak season for o shore action runs May through October.Marina Papagayo is where you'll want to head if arriving by boat. With a clear approach and 38 feet of water at the docks, this well-appointed marina accommodates even superyachts up to 280 feet. Many larger vessels, in fact, choose this location as a staging stop for trips to the Galapagos Islands, Isla del Coco and the South Pacific.The marina is actually part of Peninsula Papagayo, a 2,300-acre development with a Four Seasons Resort, an Arnold Palmer signature golf course, its own private beach club at Prieta Beach and a Hyatt Andaz right next door.


Continuing south to the central portion of the coast, Los Suenos is the next logical port to visit. Another easy approach with plenty of deep water, this is a prime tourist location with first-rate accommodations, gift shops featuring all the t-shirts and knick-knacks you can carry home, plus fine dining, golf and plenty of condos.The marina choice is simple here, go with Los Suenos Marina, located in neighboring Herradura Bay. is was the first big, fully outfitted marina in Costa Rica with floating dock systems, great service and all the amenities you might expect. You'll find great restaurants in town, a huge beach just 15-minutes away, plus surfing, horseback riding, zip lining and various eco tours.This is is one of the more ˜Americanized' ports, so if you want a place with a somewhat familiar feel, you'll enjoy it here, says Kelly. There are gated communities, palm tree-lined streets, and although the town is only a few square blocks, it bustles. For fishing, this is where things really start to get interesting in the winter months with reliably great off shore action.


Less than 50 miles to the south lies the town of Quepos, which Kelly calls his favorite. The big difference between Jaco and Quepos, he explains, is that the latter is smaller, more intimate and surrounded by forest while Jaco is far more developed. In addition to super offshore fishing, you can take a catamaran or enjoy a Segway, SUP or jet ski tour. You can also rent your own boat or step aboard a sunset cruise.Like Jaco, there is a full fishing fleet here but the boats tend to run a little smaller and operations are more laid back. Still, the current fleet has no problems dealing with the generally calm waters in this area.While visiting Quepos, be sure to explore Manuel Antonio National Park which encompasses rugged rainforest, white-sand beaches and coral reefs. Renown for its vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife, it features three-toed sloths and endangered white-faced capuchin monkeys amongst its amazing array of 109 mammalian and 184 species of birds. It also sports two beautiful crescent-shaped white sand beaches. Don't expect to hike alone in this park however; it's so busy that the main trail recently had to be expanded from a two-person access to full road-width.With over 200 slips, Central America's only 200-ton travel lift and a full-service yacht yard, Marina Pez Vela (marinapezvela. com) makes a great home base for boaters.


The southernmost stretch of Pacific Coast is known as the Golfito region. Hands down, this is nirvana for anglers. Expect to catch marlin, sailfish, tuna and dorado in offshore waters while targeting rooster fish, snappers, bluefin, trevally, jack crevalle, amberjack, pompano and more on the inshore scene.If you decide to captain yourself to this stretch of fishing paradise, Banana Bay Marina (bananabaymarinagol is the place to tie up. Located at the edge of a tropical rainforest in the city of Golfito, it's separated from the open Pacific by Golfo Dulce, accommodating boats up to 120 feet, and staff can provide ship agency, port clearance, customs and immigration services on site.The South Pacific coast of Costa Rica is one of the few places in the world where fisherman can catch three species of marlin in just one day, says Jorge Martin, a manager at the marina. Plus, this region is one of the most biologically intense places on earth. The area contains 50% of the ora and fauna of Costa Rica. In addition to fishing, popular activities include world class surfing, horseback riding, kayaking, diving, hiking to mangroves and bird watching.For dining, the marina restaurant provides tastes of European, American and Costa Rican cuisine. You might also try Casa Roland which specializes in international cuisine or Mar y Luna which is famous for its fresh seafood. Casa Roland also offers lodging. For gifts, souvenirs and boat fishing gear, take a trip to the city port.The newly opened Golfito Marina Village & Resort (golfito are also worthy of investigation. The latter offers the rare opportunity to own and inhabit your very own private island with full views of Golfito Bay and the ocean. A cool four million gets you the keys a 3,500-sq. ft., custom-designed luxury home one of the several island jewels being offered for sale. Dock owners receive membership to Golfito Marina Village's exclusive Yacht Club, and all the features and amenities of a world-class marina.


Costa Rica's tropical climate makes it a terrific year-round destination. Most travelers prefer to visit during the dry season (December-April). However, there are lighter crowds and lower travel prices during the "green" season (May-November).


  • Marina Papagayo, Guanacaste
  • Los Suenos Resort and Marina, Playa Herradura
  • Marina Pez Vela, Quepos
  • Banana Bay Marina, Golfito
  • Golfito Marina Village & Resort, Golfito


  • Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)
  • Liberia International Airport (LIR)


Visitors traveling to Costa Rica need a passport that is valid for the length of their stay. Expect to pay a small airport departure tax as well. U.S. dollars are widely accepted in Costa Rica. Carrying small bills to pay for souvenirs and for tipping will work to your advantage.


  • Manuel Antonio National Park, Quepos Impressive landscapes, white-sand beaches, amazing plant and animal diversity. Costa Rica's most popular National Park.
  • Arenal Volcano National Park, San Carlos Arenal Volcano National Park features hot springs, two active volcanoes and cooled lava fields, plus diverse wildlife including jaguars, tree frogs and over 700 species of birds.


Costa Rica offers some of the most amazing fishing in the world with both inshore and offshore species available at just about every Pacific Coast port.


Even if you visit on your own boat, it can still be helpful to have an agency set up tours for white water rafting, zip-lining, waterfall visits, transportation and more:

  • Blue Water Sportfishing Charters
  • Tropical Fishing Adventures
  • Costa Rica Expeditions
  • Southern Explorations


Buses run from San Jose to most major tourist areas. Once at your marina, resort or hotel, hiring a car-and-driver service is recommended. If renting a car, know that Costa Rica roads have improved, but still leave something to be desired-acquiring a rental car with GPS is recommended. Spanish is the official language here, but many Costa Ricans speak English as well.

Related Articles
Cruise to Virginia's Historic Triangle

Imagine you were Rip Van Winkle in reverse. You’ve nodded off for 400 years rather than 20. Now, you wake up to find yourself on the deck of a wooden sailing ship off the coast of Virginia. “Your first thought would be to look for a source of freshwater,” tells Steve Ormsby, administrator of The Watermen’s
Museum in Yorktown. “Then, it would have been protection, up a river, and at the same time finding deep water where you could tie up to the trees and row ashore. Your fellow passengers would have been tradesmen, merchants and craftsmen, skills needed to establish a settlement but not live in the wilderness. Still, you wouldn’t have gone hungry at first. Captain John Smith wrote in his journal that the oysters he found were the size of dinner plates.”

Fast forward to the historic triangle of Yorktown, Williamsburg and Jamestown, which is among America’s first settlements and easy to reach by water. It’s a beautiful sail or motor from the Atlantic Ocean across the Chesapeake Bay to the James or York Rivers. Once here, explore ashore and offshore, too. Here’s a sampling of five top stops.


Located on the Yorktown waterfront, upriver from the Riverwalk Landing marina, dining and shopping area, this nonprofit museum is a treasure trove of nautical history. Exhibits narrate how local watermen helped defeat the British in the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Yorktown with their local knowledge to help pilot the ships, as well
as the local watermen’s way of life as commercial fishermen.

“One of the focal points at the museum is the Windmill. Built in 1711, it was used to grind corn, but after that it stood as a waymark for ships sailing the York River,” says Ormsby. In April, the museum re-opened for the season with six new 10-foot by 10-foot kiosks in the Windmill Lot. These interactive displays feature ropemaking, pottery, candle making, boatbuilding and woodwork, sail making, and blacksmithing. The museum also runs an award-winning summer camp, with a pirate-themed environmental camp for kids in grades K to 5, and hands-on camps for those in grades 3 to 8 focused on boatbuilding, an archaeological beach dig and maritime trades.


Cast off from Yorktown’s Riverwalk Landing Pier on this 105-foot gaff-rigged schooner. There are three two-hour sightseeing cruises daily. Along the way, see the historic Victory Monument and Battlefield, working watermen plying their trade as they did years ago, and perhaps a modern naval ship or school of dolphins. The Alliance’s sails are set traditionally with block and tackle, and passengers are welcome to help. The crew provides narration
and sea stories along the way.


You’ll find many historical markers along Yorktown’s Riverwalk Landing, a mile-long pedestrian path from the Battlefield to the American Revolution Museum, making this
an educational and entertaining stroll. “Many of the markers involve the water, specifically the Battle of Yorktown and the Middle Passage,” says Gail Whittaker, public information officer for York County, VA. “If you’re lucky, you might see an opening of the Coleman Bridge that crosses the river and joins Yorktown with Gloucester County. It is the largest double-swing-span bridge in the United States and the second largest in the world! The Naval Weapons Station Yorktown is just upriver from our waterfront. It’s awesome to see the bridge swing open as one of our marvelous Navy ships glides by.”


You might not find oysters the size of dinner plates, but you can fill your dish with fresh seafood in Colonial Williamsburg. Try Berret’s Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill, located in Merchant’s Square. There’s she-crab soup for starters, seasonal specialties like lemon pepper-crusted grouper fillet and seared sea scallops, and signature entrees such as The Original Blue Plate: sauteed backfin crabcake, baked oysters Rockefeller and grilled shrimp. The oyster bar features shucked Victory Point
York River Oysters on the half shell.


There is likely nowhere better for colonial history buffs to spend a day indoors and outdoors than in the living history museum that is this settlement. Films and exhibits portray the lives of Virginia’s Native Americans, the first English settlers, and the initial arrival of West Africans, all three here in the early 17th century. The most fun is to climb on board replicas of the three ships on which the first English settlers arrived at Jamestown in 1607 — the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery — and imagine you’re onboard.


European settlers planted roots in the Yorktown, Williamsburg and Jamestown over a century before the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 up north in Philadelphia. Yet, it’s the wealth of national history and its preservation that makes this area one of the best places to celebrate this summer holiday.

Independence Day Celebration

Riverwalk Landing & Historic Yorktown
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Early birds start the day with a 5K walk or 8K run. The patriotic parade follows with the best viewing spots along Water and Main Streets. Bring your flags to wave and toe-tap to the Fifes & Drums corps beat. At 1 p.m., a hot dog eating contest is hosted by Toby’s Dog House in Jamestown, with a satellite location in Yorktown’s Water Street. Patriotic concerts start after dark, culminating in a firework display over the York River. Watch from the Yorktown Waterfront & Victory Monument at 803 Main Street or anchor out and see the sparklers reflected in the water.

July 4th Celebration

Colonial Williamsburg
9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Immerse yourself in all things independence during a day-long of activities. Stand at the Capitol West Balcony to hear Thomas Jefferson read the Declaration of Independence. A special military muster in Market Square, concert of celebration at the Play House Stage, historical reflections re-enacted throughout the day, free ice cream, and live music on the Lawn of the Art Museums culminate in the Lights of Freedom Fireworks Display at 9:20 p.m. The best places for viewing are the East Lawn of the Art Museum, the Palace Green and Market Square.

Regional Marinas

Riverwalk Landing Piers
Yorktown, VA

The heart of Yorktown’s waterfront is within walking distance of historic sights, shops and dining. There are no individual slips here, but all piers are dedicated to transient and temporary stay boaters. Facilities include shore power in 30, 50 and 100 amp, pump-out and private key coded boater restrooms with showers. No fuel is available. The busiest times are May-June and September-October. To reserve docking, email or call 757-890-3370.

York River Yacht Haven
Gloucester Point, VA

This Suntex Marinas property is located at the mouth of Sarah Creek, opposite Yorktown, in a 14-acre rural storm-protected area. The full-service facility boasts 280 slips accommodating boats up to 160’. Transients can enjoy amenities including fuel, laundry services, free Wi-Fi and a freshwater pool.

Kingsmill Marina
Williamsburg, VA

Along the James River, the marina at Kingsmill Resort offers a tranquil getaway with activities on-site. Enjoy everything from lush golf courses to upscale amenities and lodging at Cottages on the James or The Estate at Kingsmill’s private mansion. The marina offers annual slip leases for vessels up to 80’ depending on beam width.

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Explore the Spirited Lakefront of Burlington, VT

A vibrant, compact city hugging the eastern shoreline of Lake Champlain, Burlington abounds in scenic beauty, four-season recreation, a college town vibe, arts and culture, and a quirky character all its own.

Burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Church Street | Michelle Raponi on Pixabay

Eclectic shops named Anjou & the Little Pear or Common Deer, and restaurants called Zabby & Elf 's Stone Soup or The Skinny Pancake dot the urban landscape. A local artist's satirical comment on the bureaucracy of urban planning called File Under So. Co., Waiting for..., consists of 38 filing cabinets welded together to a 40-foot height. Birds frequently nest in the upper chambers.

History buffs stroll through the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum or the Fleming Museum of Art's multi-era artifact collection while hikers trek the 12.5-mile path at Burlington Waterfront Park, which offers bicycle, rollerblade and kayak rentals. In season, the path connects to the Lake Champlain Islands via bike ferry.

burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Bike Path | Michelle Raponi on Pixabay

Since the 1800s, the Old North End has been the city's melting pot, and global cuisine from Nepalese dumplings to the African Market can be found here today. Between munches, stroll over to historic Elmwood Cemetery, whose residents include Revolutionary War soldiers. Hear their stories and perhaps have a chance encounter with a local spirit on a Queen City Ghostwalk Tour. Liquid spirits rule when the internationally famous, regionally beloved and hidden gem breweries line up for the annual Vermont Brewers Festival. Year round, enjoy homemade bratwurst and drafts at Zero Gravity Craft Beer. At acclaimed Foam Brewers, the patio faces Lake Champlain waterfront and the Adirondack Mountains. Hop on the Sip of Burlington Brew Tour for a dozen tastings and the sights of this dynamic, energetic city.

Where to Dock

Burlington Community Boathouse Marina


This full-service marina is the centerpiece of a growing waterfront. Amenities include 105 slips up to 65 feet, Splash Café and a fantastic sunset over the Adirondacks.

Burlington Harbor Marina


With 160 slips (60 transient slips up to 80 feet), this new marina's tranquil harbor setting is convenient to downtown amenities and recreational activities.

Where to Dine

Honey Road


Savor sophisticated Mediterranean small plates, cocktails and creative desserts in a comfy tavern setting.

burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Church Street | Needpix

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill


This farm-to-table gastropub dishes up local burgers, charcuterie and innovative specials. Sip on local brews in the beer garden.



According to Irish playwright Brendan Behan, The most important things to do in the world are to get something to eat, something to drink and somebody to love you. RíRá fuses classic Irish with pub grub to satisfy the first two.

Leunig's Bistro & Café


Step inside the lush garden courtyard to watch fresh local fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood transform into classic French dishes. Come enjoy a romantic evening meal.

Hen of the Wood


Enjoy a true Vermont dining experience in a romantic, rustic atmosphere adjacent to the Hotel Vermont.

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Discover the Island Charm of Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts

Ever wish you could hop in a time machine and go back 50 or 60 years to experience a less frenetic pace of life? It's not as far-fetched as it might sound. There's a place off the coast of Massachusetts where you can do just that ... at least for a weekend.

Cuttyhunk Island - destinations - marinalife
Cuttyhunk Island | tkesner1 on Flickr

"It's like 1960 --you're stepping back in time," notes Captain Jono Billings, who owns and operates the Cuttyhunk Ferry out of New Bedford, about 18 miles north of Cuttyhunk Island, a 580-acre arc of stone and sand that's the westernmost of the Elizabeth Islands that lie between Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound.

For such a small place, Cuttyhunk has a long, colorful history. In 1602 --nearly 20 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock -- Bartholomew Gosnold sailed from Falmouth, England to establish a colony in the New World, explored the areas near present-day Kennebunkport, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, and built a small fort on what he christened Cuttyhunk Island.

A 70-foot stone tower was constructed in 1902 commemorating the 300th anniversary of that historic landing. After passing through the hands of several English earls and dukes, Peleg Slocum purchased the island in 1693, and her family continued to live on Cuttyhunk for the next 165 years.

In 1865, a group of Rhode Island fishing enthusiasts bought a large portion of the island and built the Cuttyhunk Club and a few fishing stands, enhancing its reputation as a prime spot for sport fishing. In fact, two 73-pound, world-record striped bass have been caught off Cuttyhunk in 1913 and more recently in 1967.

Local fishermen know all the qualities and quirks of the area's waters, offering their services to visiting anglers and acting as expert navigators for ships sailing into New Bedford Harbor, piloting them through the dangerous Sow and Pig Reef on the west end of the island.

Cuttyhunk Island - destinations - marinalife
Cuttyhunk Island | Ben McLaughlin

Fishing isn't the only way to interact with nature on Cuttyhunk. Half the island is a nature preserve, home to a variety of birds and mammals, as well as wildflowers, sweet peas, bayberry and a host of other flora. Plenty of hiking trails wind through the landscape that's largely craggy and reflects Cuttyhunk's glacial origins. It's covered with the same kind of rocks and stones found in the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont.

Although largely a day-tripper destination, visitors can overnight on Cuttyhunk with some advance planning. Most boaters prefer to stay aboard their own craft if properly outfitted, but limited accommodations are on land as well. Avalon, the Inn on Cuttyhunk Island, offers seven rooms, while Cuttyhunk Fishing Club has eight. A few cottage and house rentals are also available through Pete's Place Rentals.

Where to Dock

Cuttyhunk Marina


The marina offers 50 transient slips that can accommodate vessels up to 110 feet and have freshwater hookups and 30- and 50-amp electricity capability. About 50 moorings accommodate vessels up to 50 feet. Pump out, ice, picnic area and restrooms are available.

Frog Pond Marine Moorings


This mooring field is located in the outer harbor off the port side of Bell 6 upon entering Cuttyhunk. Bright white balls mark the moorings, which are first-come, first-serve. Tie up to any mooring that doesn't say PRIVATE, and the mooring collector will come to your boat to collect a $45 rental fee.

Jenkins Moorings


Located in the outer harbor to the right of the channel's entrance, moorings are first-come, first-serve during the high season. If you spend the night, call and they'll deliver fresh oysters and raw-bar items to your boat.

Where to Dine

Cuttyhunk Café


This coffee shop is located on the town fish dock. Start your day with coffee and pastries, pick up chowder and sandwiches for lunch, and finish the day chowing down on fresh lobster boils with corn, potatoes, onion, chorizo and steamers.

Cuttyhunk Fishing Club


Just south of town on Cemetery Road, this B&B offers the best breakfasts/brunches on the island, and you don't have to be a guest to enjoy it. They don't take reservations, so grab a cup of coffee and an Adirondack chair while you wait for your table and enjoy the porch with a million-dollar view.

Cuttyhunk Island Market


Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., this rustic spot offers all the essentials: dry goods, sundries, bread, dairy, fresh veggies, plus 10-inch subs with a bag of chips. We may be small, but we have it all.

Cuttyhunk Shellfish Farms


This floating raw bar provides fresh Cuttyhunk oysters and clams, along with stuffed quahog and hot clam chowder to boaters during the summer, delivered right to your boat. Call them on VHF Channel 72 or stop in at their shack on the fish dock during the day to place your order.

Soprano's Pizza


The only sit-down restaurant on Cuttyhunk, this in-season eatery serves gourmet brick oven pizzas and seafood specials. Think a pizza oven held hostage in a garage, four picnic tables in a driveway lit by tiki torches, and a croaking bullfrog in the pond! Can't beat that kind of ambiance.

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