Prior to November 2021, our family had never visited Costa Rica before. From friends and acquaintances who have come to Costa Rica by land, we’d heard nothing but great things about friendly people, resorts visited, beaches explored, exciting excursions like zip-lining, and touring the diverse ecology of this Central American country.

From cruisers, it was a mixed bag. Cruising buddies of ours loved it so much they stayed to the very last day of their 90-day tourist visa. Yet other sailors complained incessantly about the expenses of clearing in and out, of food, fuel, and marina prices, and every other little thing. Because of these gripes, some cruisers skip it entirely, and others rush through.

I can’t imagine making either of those choices. Typical of our crew, we listened to all the recommendations and chatter, and decided to chart a course in our own time frame. And I’m happy to report that going our own way in Costa Rice was a splendid way to discover PURA VIDA.

“Pura Vida” is a phrase that you hear and see throughout Costa Rica and, honestly, before coming here I thought it was a cliche designated for tourists. The English translation means “pure life” or “simple life”, and you’ll see it printed on shirts and hats, adorned on wooden planks, and hear it used as a greeting, a thank you, or a goodbye. What we learned during our time in Costa Rica is that pure vida isn’t a catch phrase at all — it is a way of life.

Upon being here for nearly three months, cruising the Pacific coast from north to south, and meeting and befriending wonderful Costa Ricans, we found the meaning to be true and incredibly sincere. In Costa Rica, we absolutely experienced the good life. Whether by land or sea, if you get the opportunity to visit this amazing country, we say go for it — you won’t be disappointed!

Here are a few of our favorite spots:

First stop, Bahia Nacascolo near Marina Papagayo.
We spent Thanksgiving out at beautiful Santa Rosa National Park.
Surf’s up!
Bahia Grande, with its long stretch of beach and estuary behind it.

We had good breezes in the north and were able to sail a lot.
One of our favorite anchorages in CR, Bahia Guacamaya.
Bahia Guacamaya
Turns out Santa was on vacation in Tamarindo before Christmas.
Sunset in Samara, where we met up with great friends from Anacortes.
Bahia Ballena

Well hello!

Horseback riding at the wildlife refuge in Curu was a highlight.

We stopped at Marina Pez Vela in Quepos to celebrate Christmas, Magnus’ birthday, New Years, and our wedding anniversary. Loved it!
Whitewater rafting on Magnus’ birthday was one of the best things we did in CR. Such a blast with awesome guides at ProRaftingCR!

Future river guides!
Bahia Drake is a must see in CR.
We took our dinghy up this freshwater river near the anchorage every day to swim.

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