Three nights at the (expensive) Los Suenos Marina and Resort
From Isla Tortugas we crossed the Gulf of Nicoya, about 25 nm, over to Los Suenos
Resort and Marina on Bahia Herradura, where we were expecting an important DHL
package. As instructed, we called marina security on channel 16 as we entered the
bay to see if there was a slip available that we might want. The only slip they
had available was a 65' end-tie, which normally, we would have taken, especially
as it had been almost a month since we stayed in a Marina. However, the price of
$3.50 per foot per day, plus a 13% tax, made the slip cost a whopping $260 a day,
making this the most expensive marina we have ever encountered, far more expensive
that U.S. prices and even more expensive than Cabo San Lucas or Acapulco, the most
expensive marinas in Mexico!
Because of that we elected not to stay in the marina, but instead dropped the
anchor outside of the breakwater in the bay. It was very rolly, being completely exposed
to the south swell, which was running between 2 and 3 feet. In order to minimize
the effect of the swell, we dropped a second anchor off the stern to keep RHAPSODY
pointed into the swells, but it was still rolly, particularly at night, when we
were trying to sleep.
And even though we decided not to stay in the marina, we still had to pay $40/day
just for dinghy landing privileges. Due to the break on the beach, it would have
been impossible to land the dinghy and so we needed to use the marina dock in order
to have access to the shore. So, we went to the marina office, paid $80 for two days
worth of privileges and started looking for our DHL package, while simultaneously
checking out the facilities. Our $40 allowed us to use the showers and bathrooms,
and also gave us the right to dine at any of the 3-4 pricey restaurants at the marina.
There was a dinky under stocked chandlery and a gourmet "provisioning" store, but for
the real needs like laundry and groceries, we would have to leave the marina and
go about 1-2 miles into the nearby town of Herradura for provisions.
We had tracked our DHL package on the internet and had confirmed it had been
delivered and signed for, so it was merely a job of tracking it down. I had
it shipped to the Harbor Master at the Los Suenos Marina and Resort, so the first
place we checked was the marina office. No luck - they told us to try this little
computer store in the complex called "Megabytes", which we did. They guy at
Megabytes, an official "DHL Express" office, ran the same tracking information
down and suggested that next time we have our package mailed directly to them,
but was of no help in actually locating our package. From there we took a cab
the short distance to the Marriot Hotel and went to the concierge's desk for help.
The concierge was very helpful, especially when he noticed that the person who
signed for the package was an employee of the resort. While we waited for him
to track it down, we retired to the bar and had a couple of beers and some
nachos to pass the time.
Finally, about an hour later, he was able to find the package. He said that
coincidentally there was another "Horton" registered at the hotel and the
package had been delivered to their room. He took me to the room where I
met the other "Horton", possibly a distant relative from Mississippi, who
relinquished the package to me. It contained credit cards to replace those
that I had lost when my wallet went missing several weeks before in Liberia,
so I was very glad that these folks were honest and upstanding and had not
even opened the inner envelopes. With new credit cards in hand, all was
good, so we returned to RHAPSODY.
The next day SOUTHERN BELLE and KETCHIN UP made their way into the bay and
joined us at the anchorage. Due to the rolly-ness, I had decided to leave
after one more day and head to Puntarenas to do a bunch of boat chores.
I needed to change the oil in the engine and genset, and did not want to
do it while the boat was heeling back and forth. SOUTHERN BELLE and KETCHIN UP
were planning on leaving from here to go to Ecuador, a 600 mile passage, and
so they needed to do some heavy provisioning and laundry. So they headed into
town to do their chores and we went over to the Marriot to check out
the pool, which we figured was included in our $40/day dinghy landing fee.
The pool was very nice and we spent most of the day lounging around in it,
meeting tourists, and buying multiple drinks from the swim-up bar. Later
we heard that the pool was NOT included in our dinghy fee, but no one ever
hassled us, so we never asked! In fact, George (SOUTHERN BELLE) elected
to stop paying the $40/day and no one ever even hassled them about the dinghy
During our second night at the anchorage, our stern anchor line chafed
through and the rode split. When I woke up in the morning there was
the anchor line dangling off the stern of RHAPSODY with nothing connected
to it! Since it was a brand new, somewhat expensive, Fortress Anchor,
I pretty much immediately got the snorkeling gear and the dinghy and started
looking for it (or the 80' or so of rope that was tied to it).
After about 2 hours of snorkeling, we finally
found the rope and were able to retrieve the anchor. But by then we
had missed the timing to go to Puntarenas, which required us to arrive
at high tide, so we spent a third night in Bahia Herradura, this time suffering
the swell on the beam at times, for another marginal night attempting
All in all, I think what George said about this place sums it up best.
Altough Los Suenos was rolly and uncomfortable, at least it was expensive!
On the third morning, we said heartfelt adieus to George, Melinda, and Joshua
on SOUTHERN BELLE, and Noel, Ashley and the boys on KETCHIN UP, and made our
way to Puntarenas and the Costa Rica Yacht Club.