» About Costa Rica
The fact that more than one million tourists visit Costa Rica each year does not happen by chance. Our country, located in Central America, is an isthmus where life seems to have created its roots. Covering only 0.03% of the surface of our planet, Costa Rica has approximately 6% of the world's biodiversity.
In addition, Costa Rica is characterized by impressive scenic beauty, a consolidated system of protected areas, social and political stability, high educational levels, and efficient infrastructure and services. All of this offered in a territory of only 51 thousand square kilometers, surrounded by both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, at a distance from each other of only three to four hours by land or 45 minutes by air.
The country's strategic position, in the heart of the western hemisphere, the Government's positive attitude towards foreign investment, its infrastructure, access to international markets, and the quality and cost of labor, make Costa Rica an ideal place to establish commercial operations.
» Heritage and Culture
Costa Rican culture is in many ways a reflection of its racial diversity. The predominant influence has long been European, which is reflected in everything from the official language -Spanish- to the architecture of the country´s churches and other historic buildings. The indigenous influence is less apparent, but can be found in everything from the tortillas that are served with a typical Costa Rican meal to the handmade ceramics sold at roadside stands.
An important aspect of Costa Rica´s cultural heritage is their love of peace and democracy. Ticos like to point out that their nation is the exception in Latin America, where military dictatorships long dominated politics.
They can boast of having more than one hundred years of democratic tradition, and almost half a century without an army. The army was abolished in 1948, and the money the country saves by not having a military is invested in improving the standard of living for Costa Ricans, which has fostered the social harmony that makes it such a pleasant country to visit.
» The Tico
Ticos, as Costa Ricans are commonly known, are famous for being hospitable, and are quite happy to live up to their reputation. They are a polite, well educated and gregarious people, who are quick with a handshake and a smile. They are well aware that their country is a special place, and they go out of their way to accommodate visitors, pointing them in the right direction when they get lost, explaining things that might seem foreign to a foreigner, and helping make their stay as enjoyable as possible.
It has been said the Ticos are their nation´s greatest asset, and once you´ve experienced their friendliness and spontaneity, you´ll no doubt agree.
» The Costa Rica Yacht Club
This nisfty place is located about 3 miles up a river estuary east of the city of Puntarenas . Its facilities are divided on each side of the river, with moorings and clubhouse & motel on the south, boatyard with travel lift on the north.
When you arrive off the west end of Puntarenas, call the Yacht Club on VHF channel 6 and they will send a panga out from club to meet you and guide you along the irregular channel to their facility. They speak English.
The club has no slips. Only moorings (some with platforms to tie up to), but otherwise has pretty complete facilities, including clubhouse, restaurant, pool, Showers, shipyard with 20( ?)- ton travel lift, dry storage for about 50 boats on the hard. The clubhouse area even has a 20_unit motel building and four 2_room cottages, all for rent to club members or guests, many of whom live in San Jose and keep their boats at CRYC.
The club has a website at www.costaricayachtclub.com that describe its facilitie pretty well, but briefly. This is a legitimate yacht club, with a commodore and boat members, and facilities Very comparable to sizeable yacht club I’m familiar with back in the States . They say here it’s the only real yacht club in Costa Rica, and has been in existence for over 30 years. Another so-called yacht club recently opened in Los Sueños Marina (in Bahia Herradura, about 25 miles south of Puntarenas) as part of a large and very expensive resort marina-one that unfortunately reportedly does not cater to-in fact ,discourages - typical cruising sailboats
If we compare CRYC to stateside clubs that I know and am familiar with (those also known to many American or Canadian sailors)-like the San Diego Yacht Club, southwestern Yacht Club, etc-you have all the same basic components: a sprawling club building housing nice lounge and restaurant, adjacent building with restrooms and showers, and right outside those facilities is a very nice pool, kept near immaculate clean by daily crew, and an adjoining area with large knarly old banyon trees for shade. The club has three piers (or Muelles) leading down to substantial but a bit rickety floating docks Where dinghies, club launches (pangas) and small vessels can come alongside.
On one dock are fueling lines (both gasoline and diesel), there’s a tiny ship’s store handling a smattering of gear and fish tackle, plus ice cubes and blocks, cold drinks, small quantities of oil ,bottled water, but no snacks or food_ that you can get at the restaurant right next door.
The club has no slips like at many stateside yacht club or marinas. It is located On a swift-current river, with up to 13 feet of tidal range, thus oscillating currents (sometimes as swift as 4-5 knots) are not conducive to the structural needs of slips. So the club has moorings , all are bow and stern and many are actually platform moorings, where a section of floating dock about 8.5 * 28 feet , rimmed with stout wooden cleats, is moored fore and aft parallel to the river flow, enabling two boats to tie up to it, parallel to the river axis, one boat on each side of the platform-exacly like being tied to a “side-tie” in a marina that’s the situation that I have had my boat in for the past six months (June through November 2005). Surprisingly each (actually most) of the platform moorings have fresh water running to them via a hose that runs out along the river bottom from a shore-side sourse (a somewhat crude but effective system –but unfortunately, it too
Often is prone to not working due to damage by sticks , logs, and other debris Constantly drifting by in the swift river currents (more on that below).
Mooring-area water depths vary from 10 to 20 feet, in swift and tidally-oscillating River water, carrying lost of fine silt and coarse jungle debris. But because of as much as 12 feet of tidal variation the water depth in the mooring area can get pretty shallow at time, especially around full moon.
Mooring fees include use of all club facilities and 24-hour launch service (outboard-powered pangas with drivers who take you to and from you boat), are modest: fort a 43-ft boat (the size of mine), the monthly rate is $10.00 per month, or $430 per month.
Fuel is available at the club’s Muelle (dock) 1, the eastern most dock. Both Gasoline and diesel are pumped via long hoses from tanks on shore. Fuel cost per gal are about $3.00 per gallon.
Water (potable) is available free from hose at dock 1, and you can purchase Large 5-gal blue –plastic jugs of purified water in the small marine store at Head of dock 1.
No provisions are available at the club, but of all kinds are available in many Stores in downtown Puntarenas. About 3 miles by bus. Largest stores include the Pali (that does not take credit cards) and the Mega Super, which does take credit cards. They are within a block of each other, and just both a block from the main Mercado (typical village market) in a sprawling building complex along
the waterfront, where there are many vendors selling vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, baked goods, and other goodies . A couple of small tiendas are within a short walk on the main road west of the CR yacht club and Puerto Bello.
Boat workers (for repairs, bottom cleaning, zinc changing, hull cleaning and polish, sail or canvas repairs, etc.) are available at Costa Rica Yacht Club and at Sammy”s shipyard. Plus many independent workers are frequently seen working on boats along the waterfront and in the mooring areas of CRYC and Porto Bello.
Supplies (hardware, propane, bottled water, oil and filters, etc) are available in several general hardware stores (ferreterias) in the downtown area, within a block or two of the waterfront area . A couple stores (such as Borbon) cater to upscale fishing and yacht vessels, and handle up to large outboard motor equipment. The tiny store at the CRYC facility only handles small quantities of oil , a few filters, and some fishing tackle and a few miscellaneous other marine items. It has bottled
water, soda pop, beer and ice, plus (occasionally) the large blue jugs of purified drinking water.
Trash disposal (receptacles at head walk of each pier) is via small trash barrels at the heat walk of the three club Muelles at CRYC.
Transportation, such as for local, regional, and international travel, include the following: local buses stop on the Yacht, and also at stop near the entrance to Porto Bello. You just stand out there and you stick you arm up in the air, wave a bit frantically and flag one down. Some will stop for you, others will whiz right on by you. I never figured out which wouldn’t fares variy from about $ 0.30 to $0.50 per person, depending on which bus you happen to get on (they have different routes), and the ride is not long, about 5-7 minutes to downtown Puntarenas.
The more comfy bus that will take you to San Jose, takes about 2.5 hours for that 60 mile trip, costs about $3.00, runs from the bus terminal in downtown Puntarenas more or less every hour beginning around 7 am and till late afternoon.
A taxi to San Jose takes about 1.5 hours, and costs about $40 to $60 depending on the exact point you are going and the whim of the driver. The International airport At San Jose (actually located about 10 mi west of San Jose is in the town of Alajuela); It provides major air carriers and flights to and from all major cities throughout Central America and the United States and Canada, plus to and from South America.
Yacht travel regulation (CR) are administrated at Aduana (customs offices) and Port Captain Caldera, which is a half-hour cab ride away from Puntarenas. This where you go to complete your check-out papers for leaving he country or to renew your vessel Import Permit (which you can do twice for a total of 6 monts, and at no cost, yes that’s no fee for the Import Permit! Port Captain and Immigration office are also available in downtown Puntarenas near the stone
Security at CRYC is substantial and quite evident, yet not oppressive. Their gated facilities include 24 -hr patrol, including panga patrol of floodlight lit mooring are area all night long, TV scan monitors, Infrared illumination at night ,etc; and includes security at their shipyard on the north side of the river where as many as 50 vessels can be stored on the hard . I counted 30 sizeable cruising sailboats sitting comfortably on their keels there in October of 2005.
A nice restaurant is located in the main CRYC building along the waterfront, adjacent to the pool .It provides beak fast , lunch, and dinner meals, plus a bar an and Cocktail service, serving both for the restaurant dinning and lounge space in the building and the adjacent outside pool patio areas.
An attractive and comfortable lounge with large wicker chairs, two, make for a pleasant relaxing pleasant to hang out with friends, you laptop, a good book, or just enjoy the tropical air of Costa Rica jungle across the waterway. There is TV With cable channel service (including CNN) in both the lounge and bar areas (and In think in each of the motel room), and a billiard table for some 8-ball is available firs come first serve in an adjacent recreation room next to the front office.
Internet connection is currently provided at the club by a single rather slow computer in a clubhouse anti room to the front office and reception area . Cost is about $2.00 per hour, and no printer is provided.
Boat storage for vessels up to about 40 feet is available at the CRYC boatyard located on the north side of the river (on an island in the estuary), across from the clubhouse facility – you get there only by boat from the clubhouse dock. Space in the shipyard’s covered building is available at the CRYC boatyard located on the north side of the river (on an island in the estuary), a cross from the clubhouse facility – you get there only by boat from the clubhouse dock. Space in the shipyard’s covered building is available for smaller power boats and outboards – powered boats on trailers, and space on the hard for cruising vessels sitting on their keels with typical stands and pads and blocks with chains securing their hulls. I even noticed that there is a “junkyard dog” that is part of the club’s security system. But they also have a regular human patrol, night-lighting, and TV monitoring of the yard areas (?) Space rent fort a boat stored on the hard at the boatyard is the same as for a mooring in front of the club house.
Motel rooms at CRYC come in two grades: Super and regular, and each rent for different amounts at different times of the year, a strange and convoluted pricing structure . In what they call their High season ( e.g; December), super room rent for $45 per night for one person, $62 for two. In the low season (say June) those rooms go for 25% less. A standard room in the High season goes for $32 for one person $45 for two, and gets the 25% discount in the low season. All these prices do not include the taxes that add another 13% to the bill. Now, if you rent moor mooring for you boat, then you can rent a room for $26 per day and no limit to number of persons.
CRYC management and personnel are friendly and helpful. The manager for many years, Carlos Chinchilla, is usually is the office or on the facility grounds every day, and is quite helpful in providing any service needed by a visiting yacht person. Carlos speak very good English, as do many of the club and restaurant employees. But a little Spanish on the part of visiting yachties is very helpful too.