XtremeBigAir.com's Kiteboarding Xpedition:
Costa Rica November 13 - 21, 2003

by Scott Metzger


Costa Rica consists of 7 provinces ; Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, and San Jose. It's considered the Switzerland of Central America with eco-tourism as the top industry for the country. Costa Rica offers a wide variety of activities including; sports fishing, backpacking, diving, canopy tours (rain forest), volcano tours, surfing etc.

Bahia Salinas, Costa Rica is on the northwestern tip of CR. Nicaragua is across the bay. 
Good flat water sailing spot with 80 degree water and side-shore tradewinds. If
you go bring some booties and some small kites, it can really rip there.

There is a kitesurfing center there run by Nicola Bertoldi. He's got a
fair amount of Cabrinha gear. www.suntoursandfun.com/kitesurfing.htm

There is also some great kitesurfing to be had at a popular surfing
break called witches rock. It blows directly offshore there but since
you need a boat to get there anyway you've got somebody to retrieve you
if things bad.

When you arrive at the kite site, the launch point is about 200 meters from the road.
The beach has enough small rocks and shells that you'll want some kind of foot protection.


Scott Metzger playing at Costa Rica



Climate:
The dry season (November-June) is the time to go. The air temp is 85-100 degrees Fahrenheit (30-38 degrees Celsius).

Wind:
The seasonal trade winds come with the dry season. The wind gradually cycles through a 5 knot range through the day. For people like me who like to rig over powered, you can go big and take a break in the lulls. At the beginning of the season the wind starts at 8am in the morning and can taper off by early afternoon. By the end of December it can be blowing 24/7. They start from about 15 knots in November and build to 25-30 knots in December-January. It can blow over 40 knots here so bring some small kites.

The wind gets channeled down this large bay and generates a pretty steady force by the time it hits the launch point. The direction is almost a perfect side-shore with a starboard tack (wind over your right shoulder) on the way out, port tack back to the beach.

Nightlife:
You have to bring your own or drive down the coast for a while. Tamarindo is probably the closest night life scene about 90 miles south.

Accomodation:
Nicola can board 6 or 7 people at his place in Bahia Salinas in accommodations similar to those of a hostel. Otherwise you can stay in Playa Hermosa or Playa del Coco about an hour drive south.



Other important information:

Electricity:
Electricity follows the U.S. standard: 120/240 Volts/60 Cycles.

Phone:

Phones use the typical RJ11 jack. If you use a credit card for calls be prepared for a large bill. It’s better to get a pre-paid calling card.

Entry and Departure Requirements:
Visitors from U.S.A. and Canada may enter without a passport, if they have an original birth certificate (or, a notarized copy) and a photo id (e.g.. Driver's License). Visitors from other countries do require passports.

 

DEPARTURE TAX: $26 US.

 

Language: English

Currency:
The Colon (CRC) is the official currency of Costa Rica. The exchange rate in November of 2003 was 412 Colons to one US dollar. Most hotels, restaurants and taxi services accept traveler’s checks, which can be cashed at local banks. US currency is widely accepted as well.

Most credit cards are accepted and banks offer ATM's as well as cash advances on credit cards. Tipping is normally paid to waiters, taxi drivers, maids and porters at 15%.

Health risk: none

Time:
Costa Rica is on Central time (-6 GMT) and they do not use daylight savings time.

Transportation:
Via Liberia;
The closest airport is Liberia Delta Airlines, Continental Airlines, American airlines, Grupo Taca and other companies fly to Daniel Oduber airport, located in Liberia (a one hour drive from Bahia Salinas) from Atlanta, New York Toronto, Miami, Huston, Montreal, Minneapolis and other US cities. Check out this link for the schedule of flights (http://www.suntoursandfun.com/Aeropuerto-Daniel-Oduber-flights-schedule.xls).

Via San Jose; Most major airlines cover San Jose. Bahia Salinas is about a 3.5 hour drive from San Jose, CR. If you fly into San Jose, I would recommend a night-time arrival to avoid traffic. The roads are in great condition in CR these days. Only the last 10 miles to Bahia Salinas was unpaved. There are plenty of major car rental companies in both San Jose and Liberia.

The car rental was easier than I expected. The rate was $65/day and they required a $1,700 deposit on the credit card. The story I heard was if you crack up the car they use the desposit in the short-term and you get re-imbersed from the insurance. I checked to make sure my credit card had auto coverage in CR before the trip otherwise I would have purchasd the local insurance for another $25/day. If you don't want to rent a car it is pretty easy to book a ride there through Nicola.

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