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Costa Rica Bahia Salinas

 
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captaindanger



Joined: 30 Jul 2001
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:30 pm    Post subject: Costa Rica Bahia Salinas Reply with quote

Anyone have any experience/advice regarding windsurfing at Bahia Salinas in Costa Rica? Has anyone rented equipment from the shop next to the EcoPlaya Hotel?
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bobgatpdx1



Joined: 13 Oct 2002
Posts: 382

PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was there three years ago. The guy with the windsurfing gear (Marc?) was very unreliable. I was his only customer and he sometimes didn't show up. No idea if he is still there. Much better accommodations for kiters than for windsurfers in that area. Also, you have to watch out for stingrays - shuffle your feet. Was an interesting place, but pretty far off the beaten path. I liked Lake Arenal a lot better.
BobG
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captaindanger



Joined: 30 Jul 2001
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob,

Just got back from Bahia Salinas. Mark is still hanging on somehow, but his shack is falling apart. His equipment is reasonably up to date and is well maintained, but there isn't much of it. He can barely handle 4 windsurfers at a time. Had strong and very gusty winds the four days we were there. We had booked into the Blue Dream hotel, but it was more of a youth hostel for kiters than a hotel, so we switched to the Ecoplaya hotel right next to Mark's windsurfing shack. We were pleased with our accommodations at Ecoplaya. Don't think we will return to Bahia Salinas for windsurfing, however.
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bobgatpdx1



Joined: 13 Oct 2002
Posts: 382

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't believe he's still there !!! We also stayed at Ecoplaya - decent place, but was kind of deserted when we were there. In fact, that whole area has a deserted feel to it. On a light wind day, Mark and I did a tour of the bay, and sailed within 100yds of the Nicaragua side - can't land there or you get in trouble. Also sailed out to the island which had great views of the whole bay. Interesting place, but I agree, once is enough.
- BobG
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AlexM



Joined: 03 Jun 2005
Posts: 10
Location: East Central Florida

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:39 am    Post subject: Bahia Salinas Christmas 2011 Reply with quote

I spent several days at Bahia Salinas before Christmas this year, and generally concur with the posted comments. The place does have a semi-deserted feel to it, and the Ecoplaya hotel in particular was almost empty. What was booming was kiting - whereas I was the only windsurfer in the area (along with Marc, who rents the gear - more on him below), there were dozens and dozens of kiters. The Blue Dream hotel was packed to capacity with them, but like others on these forums have commented, that place must be regarded primarily as a kite surf camp. If you're a windsurfer, people there (including management) tend to look at you like you're an oddball antique (is that the trend everywhere?). Unfortunately, it strikes me as another sad commentary on our sport that Bahia Salinas - which along with Arenal is arguably the most consistent mid-winter wind machine in this hemisphere, has become almost completely dominated by kite surfing, with windsurfing on the verge of dying out altogether.

I do recommend the Ecoplaya hotel, though. While business was extremely slow while we were there before Christmas (occupancy at maybe 15%?), it is friendly and well maintained, right on the beach, with lots of interesting flora and fauna on the grounds. We found that we were able to negotiate a considerably better rate on the spot than we would have done over the internet (I believe it was about $70 for a room with kitchenette).

The one thing I disagree with in the other posts on this thread is the characterization of Marc (the Dutch guy who rents windsurfing equipment at the Ecoplaya) as unreliable. That was not at all my experience, though it is true that business is so slow for him that he no longer hangs around the beach waiting for clients to show up. One needs to contact him either by email (mbruinsma@gmx.de) or cell phone (8873-4800 - if calling from the States, preface that with 00-506). He doesn't have a whole lot of equipment (and may start having even less if he starts selling it off due to lack of business), but what he does have (Neil Pryde and JP, mostly) is kept in meticulous shape. Also, he is a good guy and a superb freestyler who doesn't mind providing endless tips for improving your sailing. I sure as heck hope he retains at least some extra gear because I have every intention of going back to Bahia Salinas - and recommend it highly to anyone out there looking for an off-the-beaten-track venue with extremely consistent (and strong) mid-winter wind.
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rigitrite



Joined: 19 Sep 2007
Posts: 247
Location: Kansas City

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting place to sail, but Arenal is WAY better. Not only is there a huge windshadow behind the island, but there's the wildlife issue: poisonous sea snakes (I saw three within my first 5 min. on the water), stingrays in the shore break (I stepped on one....it somehow didn't get me), and jelly fish.
It's expensive to get there, since the bus doesn't go all the way to the resort and taxis are expensive. Good sailing if it's on, but again....Arenal is better. Go stay at Tico Wind and enjoy Arenal.

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bob1



Joined: 27 Apr 1998
Posts: 96
Location: San Carlos, CA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spent a couple days there after a week at Arenal. Had rented car, so getting there was easy and fun adventure.

After the screaming sub-4.0 winds at the Lake it was fun to get out in the ocean on relatively large 5.0-5.5m gear and cruise around. We just winged it, found nice B&B in the little town up on hill above bay (santa cruz???) -- nice views, places to eat, etc. I found Ecoplaya hotel a little to ghost town-ish and remote to hang at, though this was in late 90's, so times may have changed (esp with kiters invasion per above).

My wife (then grirlfriend) and I rented gear from a guy-- sure it was the same dude -- he had great gear and was super nice, though have to agree the whole operation was kinda sketch. We were only ones there to sail. Was great blasting out towards the border, out around the island and landing there for a little sun bathing, etc. Epic natural setting, really one of those vivid lifetime windsurfing experiences for me. Don't recall any wave riding, just ocean,bay bump and jump.

Again, while a great way to round out a high-wind adventure at Arenal, I have thought many times since (now that I am older and wiser) how f'ed up it would have been if I or wife had a breakdown on the far side of island. It was that remote.

All in all, I think it's worth the effort, esp after a some time at Arenal. Why not see more of country and get some different sailing in? If you have car, time, and are adventurous -- go for it. If not, better to stay with Norman up at Rock River and rent at Tico Winds for the duration. Either way, it beats sitting around in the cold back home!
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kyleb



Joined: 19 Jun 2002
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been in Costa Rica past two weeks. Sailed Arenal and Bahia Salinas. Arenal is terrible unless you like chop, chop, chop. Would never, ever, go back again. Bahia Salinas offers much better variety. Some swell and breaking waves when windy. Marc is a nice guy who does his best in a declining sport and a location that is all about kiting. I had a great time with him for 6 days. I sailed mostly 4.5 with a few 5 meter days. Went all around a large beautiful bay. The wind is on the gusty side but if you are looking for an isolated get away for some winter sailing, it works. Yes, stings rays might be an issue, but the same can be said for Baja. The sea snakes are overblown. I was here with a kiting friend that lives in Costa Rica and spends much of his winter in Bahia Salinas and the snakes are no issue. Come on down! Contact Marc ahead of time and he is super reliable. His gear is older but kept in great shape. I had no issues with it. I probably will not return. I am here on a work related issue and prefer waves or the Gorge, but I think for the right person, it's a great choice!
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