Costa RicaCosta Rica

Day 11: Sunset Sailing Cruise

Destination: Tamarindo

Some activities are better when enjoyed with a friend, and a five-hour sunset cruise with Blue Dolphin Sailing is definitely one of them. My friend Kim joined me for an afternoon of snorkeling, kayaking and libations from a catamaran hammock. The cruise departed at 1:30 in the afternoon with four other visitors: a newlywed couple and an aunt with her teenage niece.

As we boarded the boat, the captain offered us chips, salsa, and our choice of soda, beer, wine, or a mixed drink. He put music on the stereo, and set sail for Bahia de los Piratas (Pirates Bay), one of the area's prime snorkeling spots. As we motored along, Kim and I and the newlyweds settled into the catamaran hammocks.

Every aspect of the cruise was luxurious. Our captain and an attentive mate named Dani, made sure that every need was addressed, and that our drinks were never less than half-full. "I feel like I'm in a Jay-Z music video," Kim said, " you know, the one with the yacht." As the day went on, the sun became less and less intense, and we were in paradise.

When we got to the snorkeling cove, everyone slapped on their fins and masks, ready to explore. After about an hour, Kim and I decided to try a different activity. Dani offered us a "noonle" to play with in the water. Perplexed, we couldn't figure out what a noonle was -- until the captain threw a flotation device, a Styrofoam noodle, (along with a fresh beer) to one of the guests in the water.

With the amount of alcohol being consumed on the boat, it was no wonder why these excursions are affectionately called 'booze cruises.' I climbed into my kayak and, with a 'when in Rome' attitude, started on a freshly poured glass of wine.

Kim and I kayaked for about thirty minutes, soaking up the last few rays of sun. Just when our arms began to burn, the captain signaled us back to the boat. He dared me to paddle along the low, narrow shaft running underneath the vessel. I responded with "no way," and he promised me a t-shirt when I came out on the other side. Anything for a t-shirt, right? I started paddling.

Three failed attempts and much ado later, I finally succeeded -- and was rewarded with a t-shirt. However, I felt like a bit of an idiot when he started passing out the same t-shirts to everyone on board -- even though they didn't complete the task.

While we had been playing in the water and winning t-shirts, the crew had set up a spread of appetizers like chicken and rice, vegetables and dip, along with bread and cheese. We made a plate and ate lying flat on our stomachs, looking out over the sunset as we sailed back to Tamarindo. It would have been extremely romantic had we brought our boyfriends along -- and if Kim weren't laughing at me every time my belly ring snagged on the mesh of the catamaran.

We returned to shore around 6:00 p.m. Tonight was ladies' night at Sharky's Sports Bar. Because the Costa Rican soccer team was battling Mexico, the place was packed. Tomorrow, I would be on a bus back to my daily life in Liberia, but for now I was going to watch the game and enjoy every moment of my last night in Tamarindo.

Day 11: Sunset Sailing Cruise in Pictures

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