Hands down this was the family favorite thus far. We took a boat out to Isla Iguana yesterday and while it was a bit of work to think through provisions for the whole day (there are none on the island) it was well worth it.
We drove the 45 minutes to El Arenal, a tiny little port just outside of the town of Pedasí at about 10:30 am. Before getting on the boat we had a quick get together with Chelín, an old friend from my youth orchestra days, at the little beach bar/eatery by the boat departure spot.
The boat captains hang around the police station located right on the beach and when you park you have to essentially pick. It all presumably costs the same price and it was fairly seamless so it seems like they must have a system for who gets the next customer.
According to the internet it’s pretty much 70 bucks per boat regardless of passengers. We read in some places that you can get it for 60, but with our touristy (read: not great) bargaining skills we didn’t get the sense there was room to budge.
When we were ready to go, we had to print our names in a ledger complete with passport #s. I didn’t want to think about why that was as getting lost at sea is not something I like to ponder much when contemplating a long boat ride over open sea. Once done with leaving record of our existence, we walked down the ramp to the beach where our boat was waiting.
Along with and a couple helpers, he got the boat situated, helped us stow our gear, and after a few brief instructions we hopped in and were off.
The tide was quick and the choppy. The swells were sizable so the boat kept smacking onto the surface which was not the most comfortable thing in the world but the scenery was pretty fantastic and the ride more or less shortish, 20 minutes or so.
Once at the island, the beauty of it all made us forget to go register with the park office, but the ranger stopped by and we chatted and after we’d snacked a little we visited the office, left our names and passports again, paid 10 bucks a person (adults only), and that was that for the administrative portion of the trip.
During lunch we were visited by some pretty healthy looking iguanas and some birds. We’re told the iguanas can grab food if you’re not paying attention but they didn’t get close enough to us although they wanted to. They are not shy.
Our first venture was across the island, a very short walk to the other side where there’s a beach. Along the way you can see some ruins, old vegetable growing areas, lighthouse, and bomb holes from WWII. For more history on the island here’s an article on the man who lived there for 20 years before anyone noticed.
The ocean side beach was lovely but much more full of coral. The sand wasn’t super smooth and the waves were a bit more intense. So after a little while we walked back to the other side.
We spent the rest of the afternoon there, swimming, sunning, checking out the fish under water, watching the frigate birds gliding overhead, fending off iguanas.
While we were having our fun, our boat captain was fishing on the other side of the island. He caught some Grouper of which I do not have a picture, and he came back to get us at 4. After stowing our stuff, donning life vests, getting situated, we were off. Back to the mainland.
As an added highlight, as if we needed any, we saw a crocodile in a marsh on the way home.