Journal from tours

To get a better impression about our overnight sea kayak tours check out the videos we have made and read the journals here from some of our previous trips.

Videos from some of our overnight trips:

Sea kayaking journal – 23. – 24. May 2014
Sea kayaking overnight trip

Mara and her familie and friends from Colorado wanted to experience the bio-luminescence and discovered that we also do overnight kayak tours!
The rainy season has begun and it has turned very green and lush. We did not get a drop of rain on the tour, but the cluds made for really good pictures. We kayaked around Isla Cedros and made a stop at Gonzalos beach in the afternoon for a swim.
We set up camp at Isla Jesucita, and Alex and Angie as always treated us well with home cooked food.
We took the kayaks out again after dark and had a blast experiencing the bio-luminescence. In one area there were a lot of needlefish swiming away from our kayaks in a flash of bio-lumisent light.
Some of us could not get enough of it and went in for a late night swim. It is amazing to see your whole body glow in the water.
After a nice and relaxed morning, we ventured into the Paquera mangroves and up Rio Grande. From there we continued to Playa Lorenzo where we spent a long time swimming and enjoying the beach

Sea kayaking journal – 4. – 5. December 2013
Sea kayaking overnight trip

Benjamin and his girlfriend stayed with us for a week and part of their stay was the overnight kayak trip. They did a PADI dive course with Curu their first days so due to their limited time we could only spent one night out.

Day 1
After packing our stuff and prepping the kayaks we set out. Since the tide was coming in we headed north and kayaked with the current towards Playa Blanca. We had a little break at Islas Pajaros where we could watch all the pelicans and Frigate birds circle in the air above the islands.

It was nice and calm in the morning and before we knew it we were already Playa Blanca. We rested and had lunch at the beach before we slowly paddled down to Isla Gitana. The wind was picking up a little bit which was nice in order to cool us down a bit.

We arrived at Isla Gitana at the old hotel site. It has a beautiful grass lawn with lots of palm trees to hang our hammocks in. We put up our hammocks and watched the sunset. After dinner we headed out again with the kayaks to see the bioluminescence. We came over some shallow areas where there were thousands of small fish. Their movement in the water when they got scared up by our kayaks set of a firework of sparkling splashes in the water.

Day 2
After a good night’s sleep in the hammocks we paddled over towards the mainland and keep close to shore.  There were a lot of stilts and egrets on the muddy sandbanks in front of the mangroves searching for treats in the mud. We got to see several kingfishers and Ospreys as well as a couple of eagle rays and cow nose rays.

We arrived back at Bahia Rica at midday.

Sea kayaking journal – 3. – 6. August 2013
Sea kayaking overnight trip
resized_IMG_2671Deborah and Steven from Colorado came down and stayed with us for a week and part of their stay was the overnight kayak trip. This trip turned out to be very different from the plan however. We had a beautiful first day kayaking, but when we woke up on the second day Steven was in no shape for kayaking. He had caught a bad flue and had high fever and muscle ace. The rest of the trip had to be improvised.

Day 1
After packing our stuff and prepping the kayaks we set out. Since the tide was coming in we headed north and kayaked with the current towards Isla San Lucas. It was nice and calm in the morning and before we knew it we were already at Playa hacienda Vieja at isla San Lucas. We rested and had lunch at the beach before we crossed over to the main land. The current was picking up, so we had to do a big “half moon” route in order to end up where we wanted: at Playa Blanca. As the name indicates this is a perfectly white sand beach.
resized_IMG_2697We put up our hammocks and settled in for the night. Steven soon crawled into his hammock to read and only got out for dinner, meanwhile Deborah and I explored the beach and took in the scenery.
At Playa Blanca there is every now and then people camping, and this night we were joined by some Ticos from the mainland. Our biggest surprise of the night was when they brought out their new pet for us to hold….. a Boa Constrictor. As Deborah said “the strangest part is not that they have a snake as a pet, but that they bring it with them on a camping tour…”
We got a little bit of rain in the evening, but our hammock kept us nice and dry.

Day 2
Deborah and I had a very good night sleep and when we woke up we were surprised to learn that Steven had not slept at all. He had been feeling very bad, cold and hot with fever. The people at Playa Blanca offered him a bed to relax in while we figured out what to do with the rest of the trip.
In the end we figured Steven was in no shape to continue kayaking, so we called a taxi to drive us home. This drive on it’s own was kind of an adventure as Playa Blanca is easy to access from the water but is difficult to find using the roads. We got to some stunning viewpoints of the gulf, and even spotted some wild life as a Coatie crossed the road in front of us.

Day 3
resized_IMG_2714Steven was still in bed, but Deborah was eager to do some more kayaking. Steven and Deborah have their own kayaks and paddle on a reservoir in Colorado. However they wanted to learn some more kayaking skills so I did a session on kayaking skills with Deborah. We practiced how to get into the kayak on your own if you capsize and also how to help a partner get into the kayak.
After some practicing we went out kayaking again. The tide was good for going into the mangroves. We had lunch at the only beach there before we headed up the river Rio Grande. Paddling up this river is like being in a National Geographic’s program. We saw several egrets, herons, kingfishers and other birds and the Jesus Christ lizards put up a show running on the water for us.
We continued into the Paquera mangroves and saw several Ospreys, but no sign of the Roseate Spoonbill.

Day 4
resized_IMG_2730Steven was finally back on his feet and eager to go out on the water, but today Deborah was worried that she was going down with the same as Steven had. So she decided to relax. Steven was very excited about going into the mangroves and up Rio Grande as well.
So 4 days with on and of kayaking due to a bad flu, but at least we made the most of it and managed to get some lovely kayaking experiences.

See more pictures from this tour here.

Sea kayaking journal – 2.- 4. April 2013
3-day kayak tour with camping

Julie from Scotland and Mike from USA are not experienced kayakers, but were looking very much forward to this overnight kayaking adventure. The first day we let the current take us out to Isla Tortuga. The second day we did some snorkeling and visited the Spider monkeys before camping at Isla Cedros. Mike and Julie were quite tired the last day so they were happy that the day’s route was short with several long stops. We returned to Bahia Rica after 3 beautiful days of kayaking and could log about 33 km.

Day 1 (15 km)
Overnight sea kayak tourAfter packing the kayaks and a quick kayak instruction at the beach we could start our 3 day kayak adventure. The current was strong and we could float like in a slow moving river the first part of the day. We stopped at the “tunnel beach” at Isla Nancital, but the swell was quite big, so it was only Vigdis that kayaked through the tunnel. The paddle over to Isla Quesera in Curu Wildlife Refuge was very calm and relaxing. However Mike and Julie were very happy to reach land as their arms were starting to get sore. It did not take them many seconds to get out of the kayaks and into the blue water to cool off. We had planned to have a longer stop with lunch here, but plans were changed as the restrictions in the park have become much stricter and you are only allowed to enter through the main gate or main beach.

Fortunately it was still early so we got in the kayaks again and kayaked over to Isla Alcatraz to have lunch there. We got a pretty strong head wind on our way over, so Julie and Mike got to feel the kayaking can be hard work too.

For the rest of the afternoon we relaxed at our private beach at Isla Alcatraz. Well almost private, we shared it with millions of hermit crabs. At last we made it over to Isla Tortuga and were exited to set up our hammock camp. We had dinner at the workers quarters and had the liberty of exploring a bit to see all the birds and animals they have on the island.

Day 2 (11 km)
Parrot on kayakAll of us slept really well in our Hennessy Expedition hammocks and were well rested apart from the sun burn that both Julie and Mike had gotten, so it was time for long sleeve shirts for them. We went straight out the rock in front of Isla Tortuga where Julie could rest on the floating dock while Mike and I went snorkeling. It is always nice to be at the snorkeling spot before anyone else gets there. The water was still murky, but there is so much fish around this rock that it is still really nice.

Half way over to Isla Nancital the water got quite choppy and as we stopped to make a kayak float to have a rest and some snacks Julie started to get sea sick. She had a very though time the last kilometers and I gave her some towing assistance. We kayaked through Boca the Tiburon (the passage between the two Negritos Islands) so that we could stop for lunch at the beautiful little white sand beach at Isla Nancital. After 2 good hours of rest we got into the kayaks to go looking for the Spider Monkeys, and we did not have to go far before we found them. It was a group of 4 females and one pregnant one came all the way down to the kayaks.

The water was calm and nice on the inside of the island and the last leg of the day’s kayaking was pleasant. We set up camp at Playa Langosta at Isla Cedros. Julie and Mike soon found some hammocks the local fishermen had made of old fishing nets and where in heaven. We had a relaxed dinner before Mike and I went out for a little evening kayak tour to see the bioluminescence. It was a dark night and the algae lit up the water around our kayaks. It is just an amazing phenomena and we agreed that Disney must have gotten the idea of Tinkerbell’s star dust from the bioluminescence.

Day 3 (7 km)

Sunrise Gulf of NicoyaWe woke up to the most stunning sunrise, and the beauty of sleeping in a Hammock on the beach is that you don’t even have to get out of “bed” to see it. We had a very relaxed morning treating sore muscles and sunburn and Julie and Mike were pleased that the day’s route was short. The lack of kayaking experience was felt in their shoulders and arms, but that is only normal and they did great and enjoyed the kayaking adventure a lot.

We looped around the small bird islands at the east side of Isla Cedros. It has still not rained this year so they are all covered in white from the bird shit. It looks like a thin layer of snow and frost.

We stopped for a rest at Gonzalos beach where we walked through the “hole in the wall” with water up to our waist. It is amazing to feel the power of the water just from the surge of the ocean swell through the hole. We also had to go up to the view point and look back at where we had come from.

From there we slowly made our way along the north shore of Isla Cedros looking at birds, crabs, iguanas and jumping rays. We stopped for lunch at Isla Jesucita. It was very nice to relax in the shade at Alex’s beach and again meet some of the local people living on these Pacific Islands.

At last we just had a short paddle home to Bahia Rica after lunch, which was good as the wind from south came up a bit and made us work harder.

All in all we had 3 great days, some hard work paddling, some smooth easy paddling and a lot of relaxing and exploring. Mike and Julie could proudly log about 33 km on their first real kayaking adventure.

See more pictures from this trip here.

Sea kayaking journal – 2.- 4. January 2013
3-day kayak tour with camping

 Our first 3-day kayak tour sleeping on different island in expedition hammocks turned out a great success.

The happy group of 4 Norwegians from Tromsø, had varied kayak experience. Nina had just kayaked two times before, while Ellen Marie and Oddvar own their own kayaks and go out a lot. This did not turn out to be any problem at all as Nina seems to be the born kayaker and had no problems keeping up with the rest.

Day 1 (16 km):
After a good breakfast and an hour of prepping and packing the kayaks we set out on the beautiful calm gulf water. Already along the shore here at Punta Cuchillo we spotted a lot of bird and the cameras and binoculars were actively in use.

We stopped for a quick swim and a bit of snorkeling at Isla San Pedro, before we headed out into the “open sea”. We enjoyed being out in the open water watching the islands and shoreline on one side and the horizon on the other. We spotted one turtle on our way to our lunch spot at Playa Quesera in Curu National Refuge. The beach was as always stunning, and we had a great rest with lots of swimming.

As we continued on the west side of Isla Alcatraz (or Isla Tortugo) the afternoon breeze had set in and we got a bit of a work out in the choppy water with head wind. Still we made it easily through the “arch’ – a hole through a small island. We arrived at the day’s final destination at Isla Tortuga in the late afternoon. Everybody immediately threw themselves in the beautiful blue water and even snorkeled a bit. It was still some people on the beach when we arrived, but soon we had the beach all to ourselves.

The hammock camp was quickly set up and we soon figured that the kayaks came in handy for tying up the side straps, as the pegs don’t get a grip in the beach sand.

Just after sunset we were ready for dinner which was served at the workers kitchen. We got a good meal and a funny experience of the local Tico culture.

Everybody was curious about how much sleep we would get sleeping in hammocks. We were dead tired so we hit the sack before 9pm, and all of us were fast asleep within a few minutes.

Day 2 (17 km):
After a very good sleep in the hammocks they all woke up early and well rested and took a morning dip already before sunrise.

There are some nice trails on Isla Tortuga and they all decided to go for an hour morning walk to watch the view and do some birding.

After a typical Tico breakfast (Gallo Pinto) we took down the hammock camp and headed out one the water again. Again the Pacific Ocean proved why it got it’s name as it was dead calm. The visibility in the water was really good so we could spot a lot of sealife just paddling along the shore on the small island in front of Isla Tortuga.

On our way to Isla Negritos we spotted a nice size turtle that poked it’s head above the water a couple of times before it dove. We still had the current with us as we paddled through the Shark mouth (one of our favorite Rooster fishing places).

We landed on the small white sand beach in the Shark mouth for some lunch, and the Spider monkeys made their appearance immediately as we got there. They were in total 6 monkeys, and a mom with her baby and a pregnant one came all the way up to us, while a few youngsters keep playing in the background. They ran after each other in something that looked like a monkey tag game. We had to take our lunch wraps with us and stand in the water and eat, as they got very interested in our food.

The water was crystal clear so we had a great time snorkeling. We swam with huge schools of tiny sardines and saw a lot of trigger and puffer fish amongst others.

As the group from Tromsø are birdwatchers we had to make it to Islas Carretos that are 5 tiny islands with a lot of brown pelicans and frigate birds, but on our way there we got distracted by lots of pelicans diving into the water next to Isla Garrobo and made our way over there instead. It turned out to be a good move as the tide was perfect for paddling through the hole in the wall there, and we spotted a lot of Black Ctenocaurs on the island.

The current had turned and was carrying us through the passage between Isla Cedros and La Mona. We made a pit stop for and cooked up some coffee at Gonzalos beach, and of course a swim ;o)

The last stretch of the day was on the north side of Isla Cedros where we saw a lot of birds and even a couple of Kingfishers. We had a day packed with experiences and everybody was very happy to land on Isla Jesucita. However I had planned for more too happen, so after an excellent dinner made by Alex and his wife we took the kayaks out again and went night kayaking. The experience of biolumecence in the water is unique, and only Nina had seen it before so they were all thrilled.

Again we crawled into our hammock early and had a good night sleep. These hammocks sleep surprisingly well.

Day 3 (17 km):
On our last day we got up before sunrise. We had to get going by 6am to make it to the mangroves in time as the full tide was at 7am. It is very shallow in the mangroves, so when the tide starts going out it is not possible to get in there. We got off ½ hour after schedule, but still we had two good hours of kayaking up the Rio Grande, and when we came back out the water level was still high enough for us to kayak along the mangrove forest for another hour and a half.

The whole group just loved this part of our kayak adventure as they are avid bird lovers. Our first sight getting into the mangroves was a group of White Ibis in the trees, and amongst them 3 Roseate Spoonbills. As we entered into the river mouth we immediately heard the Boat billed heron squeak and we found them hiding amongst the leaves in the mangrove trees. Up the river we saw two Ospreys, a black headed trogon, a stunningly red Summer Tananger, a Tiger Heron and of course a lot of blue and white herons. The Jesus Christ lizards also came out and ran on the water for us a couple of times.

As the tide got lower we had to leave the mangroves and head for deeper water. We looped around to Playa Lorenzo for a quick dip as we were overheated after all the hours in the mangroves. Our lunch spot for the day was Islas Pajaros (the bird island). It was not as many birds as sometimes here this time, but we were surprised to find a small Hummingbird out there as the island are very barren and with no flowers whatsoever.

We spent some relaxing time on the tidal beach here, before we headed towards home. Our last stop was at the graveyard beach at Isla Jesucita. We got a bit of head wind on the last little stretch home, but it was only nice as the sun was baking.

We landed on the Bahia Rica beach after 3 days packed with impression and experiences. All in all we logged about 50 km.

To see all the pictures from this great adventure click here.

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