Cruising with Soggy Paws
Soggy Paws is a 44' CSY Sailboat. In 2007, we set sail on a 10 year around the world cruise.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Golfito, Costa Rica - First Impressions
Current Position: 08-37.280N 83-09.153W

Our first impressions of Golfito are kind of mixed.

The Good: It is a wonderful protected anchorage. No rolly stuff here. The hills are very green and when the sun shines it is a beautiful place. It is wonderfully cool at night. U.S. Dollars are accepted as readily as Colones, the local currency.

The Bad: The sun doesn't shine often! And the town is a little squalid. This is an abandoned banana town--Created by United Fruit when the workers got too uppity on the Caribbean coast. When the bottom fell out of the banana market in the 1980's, they left here abruptly. The town now survives off of tourism, a free trade zone, and fishing. The coming of the gringos has provided jobs, but has also caused prices in Costa Rica to rise, so it's no longer an inexpensive Central American country.

As for the rain, it IS rainy season here. But I'm told that there is no 'dry season'. There is a 'less rainy season'. But that's what feeds the rainforests and the eco-tourism that Costa Rica is so famous for. It's just kind of miserable to have overcast and drizzle all the time.

We are on an $8/day mooring at Land n Sea. This is a tiny establishment run by a former cruiser, with a small dock, about 8 moorings, and a help-yourself bar. If you are on one of their moorings you get free wifi ;) and free cold showers :0

During rainy season, most cruisers that are hanging out in this part of the world move to Ecuador, south of the equator, where it's less rainy. And the boats that ARE here are mostly empty right now. So there isn't much 'cruiser social life'. No potlucks, no VHF net.

We leave for San Jose on the 9th, and fly to the U.S. on the 10th. We will hire Tim at Land n Sea to watch over our boat for another $2/day. There is a fairly high crime rate in Golfito, but Tim lives on the houseboat right next door, and he says he has a reputation among the locals as a crazy man with a machete.

Our check-in to Costa Rica in Golfito was a bit of a nightmare. There are 4 stops you have to make (and some backtracking), and none of the 4 places are within walking distance of each other. And none are within walking distance of the marinas. We did: Port Captain, Copy Place, Immigration, Agriculture, Customs, back to the boat for paperwork shuffle, back to Customs, and then a final stop at the Port Captain. We hit a snag at Customs when the lady checked our boat documentation and noticed
that it was going to expire the next day. We explained that the new certificate was with our mail in Florida, and we were going to Florida next week to pick it up. Then she started talking about having to bond the boat and other things we didn't understand (in rapid Spanish). We asked if we could have the new certificate faxed down, and that wasn't good enough. Finally I asked if a color scan of the new certificate, emailed to us and printed out for them, would be sufficient. She relunctantly
agreed. Then it was 3 phone calls to Bryan, Dave's cousin (who couldn't figure out how to scan the document in any format larger than 4x6). But finally Bryan got us what we needed and Dave had to report to Customs at 8am with the update.

There were no fees except the $43 'quarantine' fee at the Agriculture office. They (fortunately) don't come out to the boat or do anything but fill out a few more forms. She wanted to know how many refrigerators we had and how many trash cans. Dave protested the fee, but she was adamant that it was the law. (But Tim at Land n Sea says the boats coming south into Costa Rica don't pay that fee).

So now we are trying to catch up on our internet (correspondence, banking, blog pics, travel research and arrangements), prepping the boat for our absence, and getting ready for America.

But today...we are hoping to find a bar in town where we can watch the Gators stomp Georgia this afternoon. GO GATORS!


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