Costa Rica Sailing

Finding Pura Vida is thrilled to feature our first guest writer, Jen Sullivan. Jen formerly lived in Costa Rica, and we share a mutual love of Ed Sheeran and Bocas Del Toro, Panama. Her favorite place in Bocas is Urraca Private Island Resort… which is now on my travel bucket list.

Jen now calls Richmond, Virginia home. She has over 25 years of sales and marketing experience within the hospitality industry with hotels and resorts of all different sizes.  She specializes in the luxury travel segment, having worked for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company for 20 years. She now runs J. Sullivan Advisors and you can find her at

Jen was gracious enough to share with us the adventure of an overnight sailing trip in Costa Rica…

Sailing Staycation in Guanacaste

by Jen Sullivan

Sleeping on a boat under the stars had been on our family bucket list for a while and our overnight sail exceeded all expectations. Little did we know that we would also swim in bioluminescence, eat like royalty and hear the fascinating pirate stories of Captain Mark transporting yachts through unfriendly waters!

Pacific Soul’s beautifully appointed catamaran can comfortably sleep eight people in its four en-suite sleeping cabins, so we partnered with other family friends and had the catamaran completely to ourselves.

Prior to departure, we talked with the owner, Captain Mark, several times to make sure we had everything we wanted on board. You can hit the easy button and let the staff take care of all the food and beverages or, depending on season, you can bring your own. This latter option does make things a bit more affordable but it also requires a considerable amount of time to plan, purchase, pack and schlepp.

We boarded the 45-foot Lagoon catamaran at The Sailing Center in Potrero (Guanacaste) and set sail toward the north so we would have a prime spot for sunset. Along the way, we saw turtles swimming, several varieties of birds soaring and dolphins playing off our bow. We knew we were in for an amazing adventure.

After sailing for about an hour, we anchored in a beautiful cove and enjoyed snorkeling, paddle-boarding, kayaking and swimming – all toys stocked on the boat. As sunset approached, we gigged while the day cruisers left for home, knowing that soon, we would have the serene cove all to ourselves.

Happy hour cocktails were served IN the ocean, as we floated on noodles and watched our four teens explore, laugh and play. Next, appetizers were served on deck and then dinner was presented in the main cabin. Captain Mark and his first mate, Lukas, prepared everything and presented it in such a beautiful, thoughtful manner.

We felt like we were dining in a fine restaurant on shore. We asked Mark and Lukas to eat with us and then listened to Mark’s fascinating stories about transporting yachts through unsafe waters and fighting off pirates, who were trying to steal the yachts and everything on them. We were all captivated and it was certainly better than anything our teens could have watched on their screens.

After dinner, we went back on deck and realized that we were surrounded by bioluminescence. The sea was literally glowing! We donned snorkeling gear and jumped in; it was like swimming with fireflies!

Happy and exhausted, we were finally ready to crawl into the comfortable beds in the private cabins, down below. However, Mark had anchored in such a private and serene cove under a thick blanket of unimaginable stars, so six of us opted to sleep on deck instead. As I woke up with the sun the next morning, with my daughter on one side of me and my son on the other, I had to pinch myself. Had the
previous night really happened? It felt like a dream.

We enjoyed another beautiful meal and when we came back into shore about 15 hours later, we were all completely relaxed. It felt like we’d been away for days. Better yet, our four teens had been completely unplugged yet totally dialed in. It was family time and money very well spent. We created memories that our teens will remember forever.


Jen Sullivan Pura Vida

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