Tourist adventures through the waters of Costa Rica

Views of the Costa Rican rainforest – Photo courtesy of Cheyenne Thorpe

“Last port best port” was continuously being said throughout the ship as excited SASers set forth to our last port before disembarking in San Diego. It was the final international country on our itinerary and we were all planning on making it the best one yet.

The almost two-hour long bus ride from the ship to Jaco, Costa Rica had a view of luscious greenery consisting of endless tropical jungles and local shops, restaurants, and gas stations along the way. When we arrived to the beach, the glossy reflection of the water on the dark colored sand felt as if we were stepping on an unbreakable mirror looking down at our reflection.

A group of us made a spontaneous decision to white water raft the following afternoon. The hour drive to Quepos had a view of endless rows of African oil palm trees that stretch so far away it was impossible to see the end of the row. It was a maze of limitless palm trees that stood about 20 meters tall and the planting of pristine diagonal rows was remarkable.

Our guides lead us to a location of the jungle in which marked the beginning of our seven-mile journey down a muddy river. As we securely snapped in our yellow helmets and red life jackets, we listened carefully to the instructions of how to properly use our paddles in order to reassure a fun, yet safe floating experience. Within 10 minutes, my friends and I were floating down the rapid river which was rated a level three of six on scale of river difficulty. Three foot waves splashed on our faces as our boat dipped in between the rocks and water.

The more intense parts of the river had all of us paddlers carefully listening to our instructor as he told us when and how many times to paddle. Water was gushing left and right as the boat was tipping slightly more and more each time we dipped deeper into the water. Luckily, we did not have to experience a completely flipped over boat despite coming close to it several times.

When the waters were more calm, we had a chance to appreciate the surrounding environment. Looking back at the area of rapids we survived was an enormous, dark green jungle filled with hills of endless trees. The partly cloudy sky enhanced the luscious greenery of the jungle giving it a Jurassic Park kind-of-vibe.

Our bond with the waters of Costa Rica did not end there because the next day another group of friends and I went deep sea fishing off the coast of Los Suenos. Our fishing boat left from the Los Suenos Marina and was guided by our knowledgeable fishermen from Costa Rica Dreams Sport Fishing. About 45 miles into the Pacific Ocean, our boat stopped and floated as the fishermen set up our fishing lines for us to catch our meal of the day.

After 6 hours of no luck, senior at USD Tulio Nascimento caught a four-foot, light and dark green Mahi Mahi fish as its scaly body shimmered in the water with the reflection of the sun. It was a solid catch and the fishermen sliced it up perfectly, exposing a chunk of meat beneath the skin. They sliced and filleted the Mahi, mixed it with some wasabi sauce and mustard, and served to us the freshest fish we could possibly consume. The raw fish was absolutely delicious and served as a prize for our boat members for the longs hours spent reeling in no fish.

Within ten minutes of the first catch, senior Trent Saiget also caught another fish- a two foot, shiny silver Tuna. At that point in our boat trip, we were all excited for our lucky catch that we could not believe anything more exciting was to come.

During the boat ride back to Los Suenos we ran into a school of manta rays. What looked like a normal sting ray was actually a flying manta ray with a gray-colored top and white bottom. Every five seconds a manta ray would jump out of the water to catch its breath and before we knew it, we were surrounded by 30+ manta rays jumping out of the water at different times. It was the most hysterical sight to witness as the manta rays’ bellies flopped back into the water creating lots of splashing noises. To top off our marine life encounters, we also came across two sea turtles mating which according to our fishermen guides occurs for a total of 24 hours.  It was a whirlwind of encounters as we sailed the Pacific Ocean and came across the many different animals that swim in the deep blue sea.

For many SASers, the last port was the best port because it offered a variety of adventurous opportunities to explore the mesmerizing jungles of Costa Rica. From white water rafting to hiking and rappelling waterfalls to exploring national parks to deep sea fishing, Costa Rica left visitors with a desire to return to the unforgettable outdoor activities.

Written by Tayler RV, Staff Writer