They call them wet landings for good reason: You get your feet wet because there aren’t any docks along the beaches Star Flyer visited in a week sailing along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.
Coming in at one of our beach stops at the north end of Costa Rica, the water close to shore was so shallow that Star Flyer had to anchor far off shore. A ship’s tender brought passengers half way in to shore but then we had to hop from the tender into one of a pair of flat bottomed inflatable boats that could get us to shore. But even then, we had to jump out in knee deep water and wade to shore because at low tide, the boat’s motor dragged in the sand.
It made for some acrobatics, but the passengers of Star Flyer tend to be adventurous types. And the effort was well worth it.
Once we got to shore, the remote beaches tended to be nearly uninhabited other than for sea birds, crabs and the occasional horse. Costa Rica has wisely kept its coastline off limits to large scale developments and vast sections of the shore are national reserves of protected rain forest. (For a full rundown, of the country and its coasts I recommend a new book: Costa Rica: The Complete Guide.)
That means every day on a Costa Rica cruise can be a beach day. And photos tell it better than words:
One of the more interesting stops was at Playa Flamingo, which has a high choppy surf, so the beach we came ashore on was in a protected bay–Bahia Potrero, which is a 20 minute walk from the mile-long beach.
It was worth it because this is a resort that’s reminiscent of California in the 1950s, with surf shops and small hotels and cabanas. When I was there, they were in the midst of filming a survivor-type series featuring gorgeous babes and surf dudes. I’ll be watching for it on late night cable.
At Playa Panama (no relation to the country of Panama) the sand was verging on black due to the fact that much of the material has eroded from lava flows from nearly volcanos. Flocks of shore birds splashed in the waves and the air was full of flower petals blowing out of trees that line the shore.
At palm-fringed Isla Tortuga the sand was nearly white.It’s a gogeous beach, but that can be a weakness as well. It’s so attractive that it sees a lot of day trip boats coming to it from resorts down the coast. Even though Star Flyer was the only cruise ship at anchor on the day we visited for a beach picnic, we ended up sharing the beach with a couple of hundred other people.
Still, there’s plenty of sand to go around and it’s kept in pristine condition by attendants who really are conscious of the need to recycle and keep things from polluting the sand, the air or the water. I give it five stars for its dramatic stands of coconut palms and bight white sand.
Its ranch with horses to ride was fabulous as well. The horses were beauties, some probably from a breeding line that goes back to the days of the Spaniards.