February 2021 An Unusual Morning Walk in Quepos, C.R.
Story by: Reese Bowles
It’s [currently] mid October in Virginia Beach,VA. The sky is gray and a stiff breeze out of the north is rocking the trees outside. Leaves are already falling and the summer heat and humidity are gone. Time to start planning for travel and tournament lodging this winter in Los Sueños and Quepos, Costa Rica. I have been to Quepos a dozen times on fishing adventures in the past 20 years. Last time I was there, I had a day without any commitments. This is an attempt to describe.
The first day of the Pescadora Billfish Championship Ladies Tournament in February 2021, I had a couple of hours one morning to explore. It was a beautiful morning with a gorgeous view. The sea wall is quiet in the morning except for the noisy birds in the trees. The ocean was slick calm and the tide was going out. The boats were gone and Quepos was quiet. I sat on the sea wall looking at a long deserted beach running for miles to the north empty but for only one person and his dogs. They had it all to themselves!
I have walked several times around town and back to the Best Western Hotel and down the sea wall to Marina Pez Vela. I decided to go the other way around the commercial fleet and see if I could take some pictures. The shallow inlet was narrowing quickly. It was a short walk on the sea wall to a bridge leading in the direction of the commercial boats. When I got to the other side of the bridge to the north there were three guys fishing down on the rocks. They were using line around a bottle, an egg sinker, and a hook. They were using cut bait. I watched for five minutes entertained as to how much fun they were having. They offered me a throw. I declined. They caught small snappers and all were released.
I crossed the bridge, passed a local bar and restaurant, and stuck my head in the next place I got to. I believe this was a busy commercial fish store. There was a small boat inside the store filled with ice and fresh fish arranged for sale. I watched with envy as a local businessman purchased a dozen giant langosta for $20 a piece. I headed north again until I saw a way to the water. I had a full view of the commercial fleet as most of them were high and dry on low tide. I almost didn’t notice one commercial boat high and dry tucked under a shade tree. I then noticed three guys hand sanding a big boat. They must have got it up there in the rainy season when the tide was super high. I noticed the colorful painted commercial boats from the seafood store docked right out back. Many pangas were high and dry.
I walked through a small colorful painted neighborhood. I was amazed how little they need. Many of the places had barely the basics, fenced open-air buildings with manicured yards and a spider web of electric wires overhead. Curiously I ventured farther back toward the water and got to an intersection not knowing exactly which way to go. I hear, “ Hola amigo, que passa?” An old fellow was sitting on his porch having coffee. I did my best to explain that I wanted more pictures of the boats. He motioned me the way to get there and communicated to go down another street or two. I found the water again. This area had a lot of activity. The local ferry provided a short ride across the creek. I will take that adventure next time.
Down the road through the neighborhood I went for two more streets. I was able to see the water but didn’t think I needed to wander down either of the next two streets. The third street however had passage through another boat yard. The boats here had fresh paint in vibrant colors and were in the process of engine overhaul. One boat had the rebuilt engine ready to install. I was taken aback when I saw how locals did bottom work. I believe they pull their boat up on the bank at high tide. During the falling tide the fisherman prop it up with bags of sand under the stern. Not sure about the safety but it is a natural way to haul out. The sun was getting very warm, my water bottle was empty, and I had some good pictures, so I headed back to the Best Western Hotel. Walking through the neighborhood I saw two adult males and a boy carrying watermelons around the community. The young man ran over and politely offered to sell me a melon. I certainly didn’t want to carry it back so I respectfully declined. He hurried to the next house. I thought for a minute watching the boy peddle melons to locals and felt something inside. I called the young fellow back and asked him if he did well in school. He smiled and nodded yes. I had folded up a five dollar bill and I put it in his pocket, shook his hand then he went to give the money to the adults and they told him to keep it. I had walked almost a full block away he was still yelling, “Gracias”.
If you ever get to Costa Rica you should make time for a delightful morning walk in Quepos.