Pura Vida! Costa Rica Recap

Pura Vida! 

Michael Sims here, President and CoFounder of Hook + Gaff.  Well, we've returned from our family trip!  I mentioned in the previous blog that my wife and I escape somewhere tropical every January.  She works very hard and runs two businesses herself, culminating in a very busy December, so when the new year rolls around we are always eager to escape for 4 or 5 days and head south for warmer weather.

This year we took the entire family to Costa Rica with some of our friends and their kids.  We took a direct flight from Charlotte to San Jose last Thursday.  On the drive to our destination, we stopped at a roadside restaurant as the sun was going down to grab some food before continuing past Jaco to Quepos and the surf village of Manuel Antonio--it was a 3 hour drive.  We rented a house in Tulemar situated about a mile from Marina Pez Vela.  Tulemar is a sprawling property that covers the mountainside and overlooks the ocean, and all the homes are nestled into the rainforest canopy.  Our first impression was awesome, but we arrived so late that we only had time to put our stuff down before crashing and getting ready for an early day the next day.  

The next morning we packed a few things and took a cab to the marina.  After speaking with the captain the previous few days, we were jacked.  They'd been catching 10+ dorado everyday, multiple billfish, and some tuna if you found a school.  We headed out at 7AM, in the middle of the Pelagic Rock Star tourney. 

Unfortunately, the dorado bite cut off completely for the entire field.  There were only a handful of dolphin caught among 98 boats.  A few boats got into some small schools of tuna and boated a yellowfin or two, but we were not one of them. Fortunately for the guys in the tourney, the sailfish bite was on fire.  I had a few buddies fishing from the Carolinas. The guys caught and released just over 1,000 sailfish over the weekend.  Crazy numbers.  We only hooked four.  I felt like Forrest Gump out there. 

It was a tough day on the water in our boat, and since we had nothing to bring back to the house as far as dorado or tuna, we had to call an audible because we had a local guy coming over to cook for us that night.  He was able to swing by and get fresh mahi from the market near the marina.  Having a chef after a long day on the water was the way to go!  We came out cheaper for 9 people than if we'd gone to a restaurant, and we had an amazing dinner.  

Saturday we'd planned on exploring the rainforest and the national park nearby, as well as hitting the beach for some surfing.  Owen and Fisher were able to do some parasailing for the first time.  The surf report had shown growing swells by Sunday, but Saturday the ocean was relatively flat and perfect for the kids. 

After spending most of the afternoon on the beach, we came back to Tulemar and explored the grounds there.  We saw a mother sloth with her baby, spider monkeys and capuchin monkeys, and when we were sitting on our deck we were able to spot macaws, toucans, solid green mealy parrots, and other tropical birds we couldn't identify.  The monkeys had a wrestling match on our neighbor's deck and one came down to cool off in the pool.  It was hilarious and something the kids will remember for a long time.

Sunday was our last full day.  We spent the morning on our beach at Tulemar.  I traveled with a 3-piece St. Croix spinning rod, perfect for my target species--snook and rooster fish.  I waded in the morning around the rocks and caught a blue runner on a bucktail.  I also hooked a huge barracuda but I was using fluorocarbon leader and he ran about 15ft, jumped in the air, and of course bit right through the leader.  I was nervous about landing that joker in chest high water anyway.  I jumped in a kayak and explored the area a bit more, continuing to cast around the rocks, but never saw the roosterfish I was looking for.  Maybe next time!  

The surf never got big at Manuel Antonio.  After talking to the locals, they said it had been flat for weeks, which is not normal for the winter in Costa Rica.  We had some fun on some smaller waves, but it was not comparable to our trip to Nosara a few years before which was probably the best I've ever seen.  However, it was perfect for the kids, and at the end of the day this was a family trip, so that's what it's all about. We had a great beach day and enjoyed a wonderful sunset and dinner overlooking the water.  We highly recommend both Ronnie's Place for a wonderful dinner and sunset, and El Lagarto for an amazing dinner experience.  Tulemar is a family friendly resort and perfect for kids. 

We had a fantastic experience, and we love Costa Rica and the people there.   Friends, family, warm weather and salt water = TIMEWELLSPENT!

Pura Vida!



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