Dolphins

One of the major perks of my internship at Arenas del Mar was to test some of the trips offered by local providers. It’s a good way of ensuring that guests know what to expect and won’t be disappointed when they go on the trips themselves. Just before leaving Manuel Antonio, I had the chance to take a cruise along the coast – and see a few dolphins along the way.

I was pretty excited because I’d never  seen dolphins in the wild and up close before – it was definitely on my to-do list and this was my chance to tick it off. The trip description was to take a ride on a catamaran. Now, for some reason, when I think of catamarans, I imagine something straight of the America’s Cup, rather like this. I assumed that we would be sailing on a miniature and more basic version of what the pro racers use, and was looking forward to learning how to do so. But when I arrived it turned out we’d be travelling on this beast:

Catamaran Quepos Costa Rica

My first note for any future guests – don’t expect this “catamaran” to have any sails. Not to worry I thought – at least this way there’s virtually no chance of falling in!

After a quick safety briefing we were off. Most of the tripgoers were locals. That is, all except me and possibly the whitest skinned Americans on the planet, who had forgotten their sunblock. I took pity on them, lent them some of mine and we got chatting. It was hilarious to see the expression on their face when dance music started blasting out of the huge speakers at the front of the boat. My second note for this trip: it’s not for guests looking for a relaxed, quiet cruise. But it was fun, and the complimentary fruit, soft drinks and really friendly staff were a nice bonus.

Catamaran Quepos Costa Rica Fruit

We were soon tootling past the hotel (the brown buildings in the lower left of the photo – note the parasailor zipping along!), which made me realise just how much thought the planners had put into making it as little an eyesore on the landscape as possible. Compare it to the surrounding hotels and you’ll see what I mean.

Catamaran Quepos Costa Rica Manuel Antonio Arenas del Mar

At some point the captain turned down the music (I was starting to get bored of tunes like this to be honest) and that’s when these grey specs started appearing out of the water. First there were was one,

Catamaran Quepos Costa Rica Manuel Antonio Arenas del Mar Dolphins

and then a couple,

Catamaran Quepos Costa Rica Manuel Antonio Arenas del Mar Dolphins

then three,

Catamaran Quepos Costa Rica Manuel Antonio Arenas del Mar Dolphins

and then a grand total of 8 dolphins were swimming right next to the boat. It was pretty special – click on the video to take a look (sorry about the incredibly cheesy music!)

After about 10 minutes the captain turned off the motors so that another boat could have its turn with these amazing mammals. They slowly made their way over, and we slowly made our way back to shore.

Catamaran Quepos Costa Rica Manuel Antonio Arenas del Mar Dolphins

Before heading back to Quepos we anchored just off a headland where the water was really calm. Apparently a snorkelling session in the wave-free bay was part of the deal.

Catamaran Quepos Costa Rica Manuel Antonio Arenas del Mar Snorkelling

Catamaran Quepos Costa Rica Manuel Antonio Arenas del Mar Snorkelling

I hadn’t been to this part of the beach and was desperate to get in the water – the only problem was that I didn’t have anything to swim in. Hmm. After a couple of minutes of assessing the situation, I decided to wait until everyone else was in the water, quickly strip down to my underwear and dive in. Swimming without getting hit by wave after wave was really relaxing, and helped to work up a good appetite before getting back on board for some more free food!

Catamaran Quepos Costa Rica Manuel Antonio Arenas del Mar Snorkelling Food

With our bellies full, content with having seen the dolphins and been for a swim, we headed back to Quepos accompanied by this beautiful sunset…

Catamaran Quepos Costa Rica Manuel Antonio Arenas del Mar Sunset

Catamaran Quepos Costa Rica Manuel Antonio Arenas del Mar Sunset

and a few tunes played by the resident guitarist!

Costa Rica Catamaran Manuel Antonio Arenas del Mar

 

 

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