Sailing from Panama to Costa Rica on the Way to the Sea of Cortez

Approaching Naranjo Cove Near Cerro Hoya National Park in Panama

(February 11 to 22, 2021) The beauty of sailing is moving by wind power along. When all is under control and the wind takes us to a place, I feel fortunate. The other night, I saw five shooting stars and wished my dreams on each!

When we crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Cabo Verde off of Africa to French Guiana in South America (about 2,000 nautical miles), we used a total of 30 gallons of Diesel. The trade winds guided us.

COVID has changed the world as much in sailing world. We had a one year cruising permit in Panama. Because we don’t want to stay in panama another year, we decided not to renew our permit (Boat Cruising). Our new plan is to stay in Mexico until French Polynesia and New Zealand welcome our visit. Here we go! We finally left Vista Mar Marina in Panama.

Our new journey is sailing close to shore heading north from Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico (all Central American Countries except Belize). We stopped at many islands in Panama and enjoyed the beautiful water. We have motored 90% of our trip so far. The wind was simply not enough to put the sails up. We wanted to feel more secure by having more fuel. One day, we saw two fishing boats near a beach. We saw they had extra 50 gallon containers on the boat. John swam to the fishing boat. Yes! We refueled. It was double price but we didn’t have to navigate to a water-front fuel station dealing with tide/current and depth of the water in the river.

From Panama to Costa Rica, we have motored 100%. We are about half way along the Costa Rican Pacific side. So far, we stopped at three anchorages in Costa Rica for a rest/sleep: (1) Uvita Bay – too rolly to rest, (2) Manual Antonio Bay – excellent rest, and (3) Herradura Bay – good rest. Prior to departing from Panama, we indicated on our document, our next arrival port will be in Nicaragua not Costa Rica. We raised the yellow flag (Quarantine Flag) in Costa Rican water. This means we are not checked-in Costa Rica and we cannot go to land.

Costa Rica looks as beautiful and clean from the sea as from the land. Wherever we stopped at anchorages, we saw lots of tourists and activities. I wish we were the part of those group but we didn’t want to deal with extra requirements: (1) Register for a Costa Rican Health Pass 48 hours before arrival (*we don’t usually know when we arrive and we don’t have the fast internet access at sea), (2) Purchase Health Insurance COVID Coverage US$50,000 above and Lodging US$2,000 above, and (3) International Ship Sailing Document from an Authorized Marina via a Costa Rican Agent 8 days before arrival. (*Information from

During the last 10 days, we have traveled about 440 nautical miles. We used about 75 gallons of Diesel, a lot more than 30 gallons when we crossed the Atlantic Ocean 2000 miles. We have another 300+ miles to go to our arrival Port in Nicaragua. To Mexico, we have a long way to go because the distance from Panama to Sea of Cortez in Mexico is roughly about 2,200 miles. Sigh… Hopefully, Mother Nature helps us and sends us some good sailing wind.

PS: To my friends (Karen, Mike, and Rudy) in Costa Rica! I wished we shared some sailing experience with you in Costa Rica. It looks your house is about 50 miles away from Manual Antonio National Park where we anchored at. Hopefully, someday!

Naranjo Cove Anchorage near Cerro Hoya National Park in Panama
Sunset at Naranjo Cove near Cerro Hoya National Park, Panama
We bought 20 gallons of Diesel from the fishing boat on the right and 10 gallons from the left blue fishing boat. Panama
I had fried fish lunch at Isla Parida Bar and Grill Restaurant by the beach. Anchorage at Isla Parida, Panama
Uvita Bay Anchorage, Costa Rica: During low tide, tourists can walk long way out to the sea (left side of the picture). We saw a couple of people not timing the rising tide. A park ranger had to inform them from far. Thankfully, they returned before it could be tragic.
Cozy Beach in the corner of Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica
View from Manael Antonio Bay Anchorage, Costa Rica; I enjoyed the loud sound from Howler Monkeys around sunset and before sunrise.
Approaching to Hurredura Bay Anchorage in Costa Rica.

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